Parents uncertain about child car seat laws

The consumer service Which? has surveyed over 2,000 parents, and found that many are uncertain about the laws and regulations surrounding the use of child seats in cars.

While the number of eligible children not using the correct car seat has fallen from 17% in 2010 to just 5% in the most recent poll, there is still a great deal of confusion amongst parents about how and what car seats should be used.

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The most worrying statistic from the Which? survey relates to the law which states “children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm tall.” Only 52% of parents asked thought this statement to be true.

However, 87% of parents did know that you will be fined for not using a child seat for your own children in your own car. And 81% know that you will also be fined if you don’t use a child seat for someone else’s children in your own car.

Further areas of concern include 52% of parents believing that a “universal” label means a child seat will fit into all cars; in fact this is just one kind of Isofix seat (hard not to blame the nomenclature for some of the confusion there).

26% of parents believe the change from a Group 0 child seat to a Group 1 child seat should take place on a child’s first birthday; actually, it depends on other factors including height and weight.

61% of parents believe forward-facing child seats are safer from nine months onwards. In reality, the longer you keep a child in a rearward-facing seat the better.

However, 52% of parents do understand that backless booster seats are safer than non-backless booster seats, compared to 22% who do not.

The Which? child car seat survey was conducted in February 2014, with the results published 11 May 2014.

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