Child car seats: survey highlights ‘worrying knowledge gap’

09.38 | 30 August 2018 | | | 6 comments

Image: RAC

The majority of parents are unaware of the rules concerning child car seats – and may inadvertently be breaking the law – a new survey suggests.

84% of respondents to the RAC survey, which questioned 1,000 parents with children aged under 10 years, were not aware of the legal height a child had to be to ride in a vehicle without a car seat.

The percentage rose to 94% among parents aged between 16-24 years.

Since March 2017, manufacturers have been unable to introduce new models of backless booster seats for children shorter than 125cm or weighing less than 22kg.

Prior to that, children who weighed as little as 15kg could use backless booster seats.

The RAC survey also shows that 60% of parents don’t know the maximum fine for incorrect use of a car seat, while 79% did not know how many different car seat groups there were.

44% of drivers said they drove slower since becoming a parent and 36% said temper tantrums were the most annoying thing about travelling with a child.

A spokesperson for the RAC said: “Laws concerning child seats were updated in March last year and now several booster cushion style car seats are considered unsuitable.

“It’s essential for the safety of children that parents understand what these guidelines are and choose the correct seat for their children to travel in.

“Children up to the age of 12 must travel with a car seat, unless they are 135cm tall. Fitting an incorrect seat for your child could result in a maximum fine of £500.

“We created a new calculator to ensure parents don’t get caught out by these relatively new rules and give their children the best protection they can whilst travelling in their vehicle.”



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    Is it me, or is there a disproportionate amount of significance given to child seats requirements and installation? If parents are concerned about their child’s safety they could start by not driving so close or so fast. In the event of a crash, the best car seat in the world won’t stop their child being traumatised, not to mention injured or worse.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (1) | Disagree (3)

    Thanks for that clarification Pat. Out of interest the phrase you used wasn’t on the page you referenced.

    Rod King, Lymm
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Sorry Rod, I should have referenced the source of the words I used. It is from the Which? website.
    Which? are THE leading UK expert in testing car seat safety and have often forced manufacturers to improve their products by rigorous independent testing and reporting. Because of its importance, information on child car seat safety is free to view to anyone, not just limited to paying members.

    p.s. I can take any amount of sarcasm/comment directed at myself but don’t ever include reference to my wife again.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    “However we want everyone to use safer seats and would recommend changing to a high-backed booster seat.”

    Who is “we” Pat. Is it “bloke from Wales and his missus” or are you speaking on behalf of some larger body of people?

    Rod King, Lymm
    Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

    “…36% said temper tantrums were the most annoying thing about travelling with a child”. – and the children can be just as bad as well sometimes.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

    I hope parents don’t misunderstand the message – existing backless child car seats (booster seats) are still legal and can still be used.

    However we want everyone to use safer seats and would recommend changing to a high-backed booster seat.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

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