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Parents missing out on safer baby car seats

i-Size car seat message not getting through fast enough

More than half of parents are still unaware of safer i-Size baby car seats, despite the rules that introduced these safer car seats being in place for three years this month.

In our latest, and biggest ever, parental survey*, we found 52% of parents are still unaware of i-Size; Just under half (45%) are parents of babies 12 months and under – the key market for safer i-Size car seats.

But there is some good news. While this number is much larger than our car seat experts would like, it is gradually improving from previous years.

When we asked the same question to new parents last year, 53% of them said they hadn’t heard of i-Size, compared to 59% in 2016. And when these seats were first introduced in 2015, only 28% had heard of i-Size.

Compare the best i-Size baby car seats we’ve found. 

Why is i-Size safer?

Babies stay rearward facing for longer

i-Size makes it mandatory for babies to be kept rear-facing until they reach 15 months of age, but there’s a wider range of i-Size seats, to buy now, which can be used rear-facing until 105cm (around four years of age).

A key reason for keeping babies rearward facing for longer is that if you’re unlucky enough to be caught in a head-on car crash and your baby is facing rearwards, his or her head will be cocooned by the padding and the shell of their car seat. This supports the head and back, limiting the movement of the head on the neck, and reducing the force on the neck.

Find out more about the pros of rearward facing car seats.

Car seats should be easier to fit

i-Size is meant to make it easier to fit car seats, as all seats labelled as i-Size should fit all i-Size cars.

i-Size car seats are tested in a side impact crash

If you buy an i-Size car seat you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing it’s been put through a side-impact crash test as part of the approval process before it goes on sale.

Child car seats approved to the older regulation do not have to pass a side-impact crash test in order to be sold.

However, all child car seats reviewed by Which?, regardless of which rules they are approved too, are put through a frontal impact crash test and a side impact crash test – which is why we see differences in our tests.

How we test baby car seats

Which? has been testing car seats for more than 50 years. In our tests, we make sure seats are up to scratch using state-of-the-art dummies wired with sensors to record crash forces on key parts of the body.

And our experts carry out around 500 fitting and usage tests a year to help parents fit and use their car seats the correct way for safe transportation.

How to buy the best baby car seat – get started with our guide to choosing the best

*In February 2018 we asked 5,147 parents with at least one child up to the age of 12 about their car seat knowledge. If they’d heard of i-Size and were aware of what it covers, and 7,403 parents told us what car seat they were currently using.

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