Children improperly protected in child seats: report

Independent UK checks show 59% of kids in car seats not properly protected

Published: June 4, 2018, 9:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:02 PM

Child in child-seat

About three in five children riding in car seats are not properly restrained, reported a UK automobile monthly.

What Car magazine has released a report based on 3,000 independent checks of children riding in car seats and found that 59% of children riding in car seats are not as protected as they should be mostly due to riding in seats improperly fitted seats or seats that aren’t properly secured.

The independent checks were carried out by UK car seat information and training experts Child Seat Safety, and found 49% of checked car seats were not tightened up sufficiently, more than 40% of those fastened by the car’s seatbelts were not strapped in sufficiently (both of which are easy to remedy), and 36% were not correctly fitted in the vehicle.

The other main issue spotted was ensuring that the child is riding in the proper seat, with the checks finding that 33% of suits were not suited to the children they were carrying. The checks found that parents using seats with the large front impact shield were better at restraining their children than those using the older harness-type seats (90% versus 61%, respectively). Also, seats in vehicles with the ISOFIX system were better fitted in the vehicle than those that used the vehicles seatbelts for restraint (79% versus 52%, respectively).

As for the problems with seat positioning, 41% needed to have the vehicle seatbelt rerouted, and 30% needed to have the car-seat head restraint adjusted.

“Ensuring a child is seated safely is vital for all parents but often many don’t realise the mistakes they are making,” said Claire Evans, What Car? consumer editor. “Taking simple steps such as checking the seatbelt is fitted tightly enough around the seat and making sure the seat is the right size for the child can go a long way to improving children’s safety.

“We recommend anyone who transports children in car seats to seek expert fitting advice and ensure they try the seat in their car, ideally with their child in it, before they buy it,” she added.

Canadian child seat laws vary by province and territory, but most require children ride in rearward facing seats until they are a year old or weigh more than 10 kg, they ride in a car seat until they are 5 or weigh more than 18.14 kg (40 lb.), and they use a booster seat until they are 8 years old, 145 cm in height or weigh more than 36.3 kg (80 lb.).

In Britain, children are required to ride in a car seat until they are 12 years old or exceed 135 cm in height (whichever comes first), whereas most other European countries require a height of 150 cm, regardless of age.