A recent investigation by the BBC’s Watchdog found that more than 90% of car seat fittings offered by the 5 biggest high street retailers were wrong.
How Safe Is Your Child’s Car Seat?
The investigation encompassed Halfords, John Lewis, Mothercare, Smyths and Toys R Us. The undercover reporters asked shop staff at 10 different stores to fit an own-brand car seat.
Many parents are under the impression that buying a best in class car seat is enough to keep their children safe while driving. However, if a car seat is not fitted correct, it will not protect your child in a car crash and could cause serious injuries.
The problem is not exclusive to store fittings of car seats, as parents may also not be aware of how to properly fit a car seat. If your children ride in a car seat, you should make sure that you make regular checks to ensure that the seat is properly fitted. Which? Magazine provide a checklist of things to look out for when fitting a car seat.
How Safe Is Your Car Seat?
The investigation follows several incidents where children have been severely injured in crashes due to their car seats not being fitted properly. Many manufacturers now offer video tutorials on their websites to help parents properly fit car seats into their vehicles.
A recent study in the Traffic Injury Prevention journal concluded that many car seats do not properly fit the actual vehicle seat. The researchers measured 61 cars and 59 child seats, to determine which combinations were the least compatible. After analysing the 3,600 different combinations of car seats and cars, in addition to real world installations, they discovered that less than 60% of rear facing child car seats were safely installed.
What these two investigations into the safety of child car seats show is that this is a much more complex issue than most parents are aware of. Not only do you need to ensure the quality of the car seat and that the car seat it is securely fastened, but you also need to consider whether the car seat is compatible with your car itself. Narrower child car seats have been found to have a higher chance of being compatible with a wider range of vehicles, however you should seek 3rd party advice if in doubt.
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