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Which? issues summer holiday car seat warning

Booster seat crash footage all parents must see

Backless child's booster seat

Which? is warning of the dangers of using a backless booster car seat

Is your car seat as safe as it could be? Which? warns parents to check their car seats after our survey reveals many children could be travelling in a potentially unsafe car seat this summer – is yours one of them? 

A Which? survey of more than 1,400 parents found that 47% of 6 to 10-year-old children use backless booster cushions when travelling in the car. More worryingly, more than 22% of parents told us their three to five year olds travel in one of these seats. 

These seats are cheap, and meet legal requirements, but Which? warns against using them, as our tests have found they offer much less crash protection than full-sized, high-backed booster child car seats. 

If your child is in one of these seats, watch the sobering crash test footage below.

Booster cushion dangers: watch our video

Our crash test video footage shows what happens to a dummy during a side impact crash when using a backless booster seat versus a high-backed booster seat.


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And crash test footage below from manufacturer Britax shows what happens to a dummy during a front impact crash when using the same type of seat.

Best buy child car seats

If watching the videos has convinced you you need a new car seat, browse all our Best Buy car seats.

Britax ‘Bin the Booster’ campaign

As you can see from the video above, car seat manufacturer Britax is also voicing its concerns about cushion booster seats. Britax has launched a 2015 ‘Bin the Booster’ awareness campaign. This nationwide campaign, supported with the powerful crash test footage you can watch above, urges parents to get rid of any booster cushion seats they might have. Instead the message is to opt for high-backed boosters with head and side impact protection to ensure children are safe and secure on their travels this summer.

The law on child car seats

UK law states that you must use an appropriate child restraining system (child car seat) when carrying all children up to 135cm/4ft 5in (approximately 10 years for boys, 12 years for girls).  

However, safety experts recommend that you use a child car seat for all children under 150cm/4ft 11in. This height is the legal requirement in Ireland and also some European countries, such as Germany and France.

For children weighing more than 36kg (5st 10lb) but under 150cm/4ft 11in, our advice is to go by height, not weight.

The law on child car seats – everything you need to know

How Which? tests car seats

Which? crash tests every child car seat we review in two specially designed crash scenarios. Our crash tests are severe and our experts feel they more accurately reflect what happens in real crashes more than the legal minimum standards.

Our child car seat testing reveals big differences between seats. Some protect babies and children well, but others expose them to the risk of serious injury or even death. The best child car seats will provide protection from both front and side impact crashes – two of the most common types of crash.

Get all the details on what goes on in our test lab in how we test car seats

More on this… 

  • Child car seat reviews – we crash test each car seat we review
  • Pushchair reviews – find out which buggies are really worth the money
  • Baby monitors – Get added safety while your baby is sleeping
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