Advice and Tips

Car Seats and the law

Research shows the best protection for children is putting them in properly fitted car seat

Research shows the best protection for children is putting them in properly fitted, purpose-made child car seats appropriate for their weight and size. When buying new car seats adults are urged to try them in their car before they buy and get a trained person to demonstrate how to fit the seats properly.

Research shows the best protection for children is putting them in properly fitted, purpose-made child car seats appropriate for their weight and size. When buying new car seats adults are urged to try them in their car before they buy and get a trained person to demonstrate how to fit the seats properly.

Tops Tips for Car Seat Safety:

  • The seat you choose must be suitable for the make and model of you car – check with the retailer or your car’s manufacturer.
  • it’s your child’s weight that determines your choice of car seat, not age.
  • Don’t place a rearward facing child seat on a front passenger seat with an airbag.
  • Follow the car seat’s instructions carefully and keep them in the car in case you need to refer to them.
  • Make sure the child seat fits firmly on to your car seat. There should be very little forward or sideways movement.
  • The seat belt buckle should be straight when locked. It should not rest on the child car seat frame as it may snap open in an accident.
  • Never modify the seat harness or buckles as this may affect the quick-release mechanism.
    Secure your child properly for every journey, no matter how short.
  • Make sure the harness is correctly adjusted every time you use it – only one or two fingers should fit between the child’s chest and stomach.
  • Any diagonal seat belt should rest on the child’s shoulders, not the neck.
  • Don’t buy a second hand car seat. You can’t be certain how it has been used, or whether it had been involved in an accident. It may not even be built to current standards. In an accident, the seat may not protect your child.
  • No car seat is childproof. Try to discourage your child from playing with the buckle.

Weight range for car seats:


From birth to 10kg

Newborn to nine months

rearward facing Gp 0 Stg 1

From birth to 13kg

Newborn to 15/18 months

rearward facing Gp0+ Stg 1

9kg to 18kg

Nine months to 3-4 years

forward facing/integral harnessGp1 Stg 2

15kg to 25 kg

Up to six years

Booster seat Gp11 Stg 3

22kg to 36kg

Up to eleven years

Booster seat Gp 111 Stg 4


In 2003, 21 children aged 0-11 were killed and 549 were seriously injured in cars.

Of this group the number of 0-4's killed was 11, 185 were seriously injured and 2837 were slightly injured in cars.

In the same year, a survey conducted by TRL showed that 6% of 0-4 year olds were not wearing rear seat belts in cars.

96% of children from birth to 13 years use a restraint in the front passenger seat.

94% of children from birth to four years are restrained when travelling in the rear. This reduces to 85% for 5-9 year-olds and 84% for 10-13 year-olds. (TRL 2001)

The morning and afternoon school runs are the peak times for accidents involving this age group. Most accidents happen near the home on local trips and the average collision speed is only 22 mph. (DTLR)

An unrestrained child can be killed by being thrown forwards, head first, at speeds as low as 5 mph. This is just above walking pace. (Britax)

In February 2001, over a thousand child car seats were checked. The following was found (Britax/GMTV):

  • 1% were faulty.
  • 16% were incompatible with the car.
  • 20% had to have a major adjustment.
  • 38% had to have a minor adjustment.
  • 25% were correct.

Essential tips

Children under teh age of three transported in the front of a car must have an appropriate child seat. Children between three and 11 and under five foot tall, travelling in the back of cars must use an appropriate restraint if available (or otherwise use the adult seat belt). An unrestrained child must never be carried in the front seat of any vehicle.

Protect your children by using a properly fitted, purpose made child car seat which meets the current safety standards and is appropriate for your child's weight and height. Try before you buy and get a trained professional to demonstrate how to fit the seat.

* When fitting a child car seat in your car, always follow the manufacturer's instructions thoroughly and allow plenty of time. The same applies when it comes to strapping your baby or child into the seat.

Make sure your child car seat is properly fitted every time you use it. Always keep a copy of the fitting instructions in your car.

Never place a rear-facing seat near an active frontal airbag. Forward-facing restraints should be as far back from the airbag as possible. Always check the car handbook.

Never modify a child car seat or seat belt to try to make it fit.

Check the advice in your car handbook and the advice from the child seat manufacturer. If in doubt call the manufacturer's helpline or speak to your local road safety officer.

Your child’s safety is worth every penny

making the world a safer place

When it comes to baby equipment …
Second hand is second best
… Surely your child’s life is worth more?

Hidden dangers can cost lives

  • Parents often donate or sell outgrown baby and child equipment in good faith, often to family, friends or complete strangers.
  • By doing this, they may be paving the way for future tragedy, albeit unwittingly.
  • Using second hand equipment is tantamount to playing Russian Roulette with your child’s safety.


  • Because it can be worn out and faulty without anyone being aware there’s a problem
  • Because the original instruction leaflet is rarely handed over to the new owner.
  • Because the chances are it will be out of date and no longer conform to the latest safety standards
  • Remember – the latest products on the market always have the latest thinking factored into them. That’s why they’re there. And that’s why they are always the best choice for the job.

    No second hand discount is ever worth the risk of maiming, injuring or in the extreme case, killing a child.

Riding for a fall

All sorts of products can be adversely affected. For example, never has it been more important to buy brand new than in the case of car seats.


  • Because it is impossible to tell if a seat has already suffered an impact simply by inspecting it. (And, if it has, it will not provide the same degree of protection in a further one)
  • Because harnesses can be missing or broken with users being none the wiser, severely jeopardising the safety of the occupant.
  • Because, In the case of a crash, the harness fabric can stretch by up to 9% during body impact. This is impossible to see. The fabric never regains its original elasticity and will never have that vital ‘give’ again.
  • Because there are many ways of securing a seat using an adult lap belt – far too many to guess. It is imperative to have the original instruction leaflet to hand, or to undergo a familiarisation session at the shop at the time of purchase.
  • Because passenger airbags and sidebags represent a real risk to babies travelling in rear-facing seats in the front of a vehicle – that’s why children’s safety seats must always be positioned in the back of the car.

Did you know?

  • 25% of all baby products are sold or handed on ‘second hand’
  • Over 60% of group 0 car seats are second hand. These seats are used for very young babies (0-13kg or up to 15 months)
  • 1st-time mums are particularly susceptible to falling foul of defective equipment, as they often have no previous performance experience of using equipment for babies/young children.
  • When it comes to safety standards, the UK is head and shoulders above many of its European counterparts, thanks to our stringent and consumer protection legislation.


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