Two-thirds of child car passengers are being put at risk of injury or death because of poorly fitted seats, the Observer has learned. At least 66% of car seats for babies and young children
are wrongly fitted, according to figures supplied by local authority
road safety officers around the country. Many were poorly fitted by
parents, but a separate investigation by consumer group Which? found
that almost half those installed by retailers' own fitting services were
also done incorrectly.
Problems included seatbelts routed wrongly
and harnesses that were too high or too loose. In Portsmouth, of 141
seats tested over the summer, only 41 (29%) passed the safety check.
Thirty-four (24%) failed on a major point: of these, six were the
incorrect stage of seat for the child; five were too old to be used; and
seven were condemned by the council's road safety officers. Data from
Wirral council showed a similar number of problems, with 37 out of 47
seats (79%) not fitted properly. Of these, road safety officers were
able to adjust 33, but four were not suitable for the child who was
In Oxfordshire, problems were found in 77% of cases, with badly routed seatbelts accounting for 29% of mistakes.
An Observer campaign is being launched to highlight
the problem of badly fitted car seats and to encourage retailers and
parents to ensure they are using seats properly. Research given
exclusively to the Observer by Which? shows that even parents
who have made use of a retailers' fitting service may be transporting
their children in unsafe seats. Testers from Which? who shopped
incognito at 43 stores around the country – including branches of John
Lewis, Mothercare, Babies R Us and seven independent retailers – found
mistakes made in almost half the cases.
Fill out your details below to be kept up-to-date with any Carkoon by Julian Preston-Powers with patented AirShield Technology updates and announcements.