Beware backless booster seats, says Which?

‘side impact collision’

‘side impact collision’

Who should by law use a child car seat.

Almost half (47 per cent) of four to 12 year old children are at risk of serious injury if the car they’re travelling in is hit from the side, according to new research by consumer champion Which?*

Which? surveyed over 1,000 parents of children aged between four and 12 and below 135 cm (four foot five) tall, who should by law use a child car seat.  17 per cent didn’t use a car seat at all, and a further 30 per cent used backless booster cushions which, though they meet legal requirements, offer less protection than full-sized child car seats in side-on crashes.

Peter Vicary-Smith, Chief Executive of Which?, says:

“Every year in the UK, around 30 children under 12 years old are killed while travelling in cars, and a further 300 are seriously injured** – kids might pile the pressure on parents not to have to sit in a full-sized car seat when they get a bit older, but it could mean the difference between life and death. 

“Nobody who has seen the footage of a ‘side impact collision’ would choose to use a backless booster seat – while they’re better than using no car seat at all, they simply don’t provide enough protection.”

Which? has been putting child car seats through their paces since 1966, using more rigorous tests than those required by law***, including a side impact collision test.  One in four car accidents involve a side-on collision****, so Which? is working with consumer groups across the European Union to see the legal minimum standards for child car seats raised*****. >

Which? is also calling on manufacturers to phase out backless boosters even before the legal standards are changed. 

Advice on choosing and fitting car seats plus footage of child car seat testing will be available on the Which? website at

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