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Two-thirds of car seats are potentially unsafe

High number of child car seats fitted incorrectly

Mother strapping baby into car seatIncorrectly fitted child car seats in Britain have risen from 47% to 67% in five years

Two-thirds of child car seats in Great Britain are fitted incorrectly, according to new figures – an increase of 20% since 2010. 

New research from car safety specialists Good Egg Safety shows that 67% of the 1,692 seats it checked in 2014 did not comply with minimum fitting standards.

The figures reinforce the shocking results of Which?’s own undercover investigation, which found that 90% of the stores we visited – including John Lewis, Halfords and Mothercare – failed to fit our two test car seats correctly.

If you need a new car seat, make sure you choose one that our tough tests reveal to be safe, comfortable and easy to fit by heading straight to our child car seat reviews.

Which? child car seat investigation

In spring 2014, we visited 42 major stores to check the free fitting service on offer. We asked each store to fit two child car seats, and we uncovered serious failings: worryingly, only four stores managed to fit both seats correctly.

Mamas and Papas and Babies R Us were the worst offenders, with both retailers only managing to fit the two seats correctly on one of 12 occasions. To see how all the major retailers fared, read the results of our child car seat investigation.

We used a secret camera to find the stores that were most likely to fit seats incorrectly. Several stores fitted seats so badly that they would have potentially put the child in serious danger. Watch the covert footage from our investigation below to see where they got it wrong.

But we are working hard to raise the standard – since our investigation, we’ve worked closely with manufacturers and retailers to improve the fitting services provided and the advice given..

Is your child car seat safe?

There are easy car seat checks you can make to ensure your child is as safe as possible.

For example, try pushing down on the seat where your baby’s head would be if the seat is rearward facing, and pulling on the harness if it’s forward facing – you shouldn’t be able to move the seat. And the age of your little one makes a difference too – be sure that the shoulder pads of the seat’s harness are level with a younger child’s shoulders, while the seatbelt should sit comfortably on an older child’s shoulder.

Click to read all our 10 child car seat fitting checks – you can download and print our free PDF guide and take it with you when you get your seat fitted.

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