A fifth of parents and grandparents don’t put children in child seats

Concerns after a high proportion of parents and grandparents say they don’t always use child seats for youngsters

More than a fifth of parents and grandparents who take children in their car don’t use child seats, new research has revealed.

Of the 605 parents and grandparents surveyed by the RAC, 22 per cent admitted they didn’t put children in a car seat every time when transporting them, with 16 per cent saying they neglected to do this very rarely, three per cent failing to do it sometimes and another three per cent saying they didn’t put children in child seats regularly.

• How to choose the best child car seat

Parents and grandparents aged 45 to 54 are the worst offenders, with six per cent admitting they regularly failed to use child seats. Some 18 per cent of parents aged 17 to 34 were guilty of doing so very rarely, as were 16 per cent of grandparents aged over 65. The data shows men are more likely than women to commit the offence, by a ratio of 17 per cent to 15 per cent.

The biggest excuse given by drivers who admit not putting their children in a child seat was that they didn’t have a seat with them as it was in another vehicle – 54 per cent said this.

Meanwhile, 15 per cent didn’t think a child seat was necessary on a short journey, nine per cent unexpectedly found the car seat was the wrong size, and four per cent said their car was so heavily loaded that there was no room for a child seat.

According to UK law, children travelling in the car must be placed in a child seat until they either reach a height of 135cm or an age of 12 years – whichever comes first. This law was first introduced in 2006,before being updated in 2017 to address concerns around backless booster seats.

All backless booster seats brought to market after 1 March 2017 can only be approved for children weighing more than 22kg or taller than 125cm, whereas before children who weighed as little as 15kg could use them.

RAC Shop spokesperson Sophie Steane said: “Having the right car seat for your baby or child is essential. Our findings show that many parents and grandparents have taken risks by not using the proper seats. While many say they have only done this very occasionally and only for very short distances, you can never be sure that something bad won’t happen.

“We imagine more risks have been taken with older children than babies, but we would urge every parent and grandparent not to chance it, as the thoughts of something terrible happening would be too much to bear.”

Unsure of the law surrounding child car seats? Click here for our guide….