Which? reveals child car seat confusion

New Which? research has revealed a worrying lack of public awareness about using child car seats, leading to some parents with school age children unintentionally breaking the law.

We found three-quarters (76%) of parents don’t know the law on child car seats, which states that children under the age of 12 or up to a height of 1.35m must use one.

This confusion is leading to some parents of school age children breaking the law as our survey of parents found one in five (18%) don’t use a car seat for their children aged six to 10 years old. If caught, parents could face being fined. 1% of those with one to five year olds say they are not using a car seat.

Worryingly, our survey also found more than half (53%) who bought a new car seat were not shown how to fit it and, after making their purchase, four in ten (42%) didn’t have the fit double-checked by experts.

We discovered that mums and dads were unsure when it comes to changing from a Group 0+ to a Group 1 seat. Almost a quarter of parents (22%) falsely believe they should make this change when their child turns one, while 26% of parents did not know the answer at all, parents are therefore exposing their babies to a higher risk of injury in a crash by turning them forward too soon.

Which? has a range of information for parents about child car seats including; information on the law, a free guide that can be downloaded on how to fit a car seat and reviews of the best car seats on the market.

Which? editor, Richard Headland, said:

“Our research shows there’s a lot of confusion around using and fitting child car seats, getting it wrong could lead to a fine and even endanger a child’s safety. Which? has a range of free advice and information for parents to help them better understand the law and ensure their child’s car seat is fitted correctly.”

Notes to editors

  1. In February 2015 1,476 parents were surveyed on child car seats and asked how tall or old their child must be to use a car seat. All respondents needed to have a child car seat and at least one child under the age of five years old.
  2. A child should stay in a group 0+ car seat until they weigh 13kg (or when the crown of their head is level with the top of the seat) which could be around 15 months old. It’s advisable to keep your child in their group 0+ car seat for as long as their weight and their height allows.

Press Release: