The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

Revealed: the child car seat retailers 'putting babies lives at risk'

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89% of stores failed to ask key car seat questions

A joint undercover investigation by Which? and Good Egg Safety into car seat retailers has discovered most stores are failing to ask key safety questions of parents, potentially putting children's lives at risk.

We sent mystery shoppers into all the top car seat retailers. They were posing as parents upgrading a baby car seat. We visited 213 stores in total and, judged against a success rate of 100% for asking all the right questions, we saw an 89% failure rate. 

John Lewis and Mamas & Papas came bottom with what we judged to be a fail rate of 100%. This means that none of the store staff at their stores correctly asked all of the key questions (listed below) before recommending a car seat (though half of John Lewis branches that were visited did achieve a score on our scale of between 80 and 91%, only missing out on a few questions). 

Only three Mamas & Papas stores scored more than 50% on our scale. 

Halfords performed best of the retailers we visited, but still had an 83% fail rate overall against our scale. Halfords stores in Scotland scored best: 13 (38%) Halfords stores out of 34 in Scotland passed with 100%. In England/Wales, two out of 52 Halfords stores also got 100%.

Car seats - which retailers are best? - Find out who came out top and how other retailers, including independents fared.


Car seat safety questions that aren't getting asked

Our mystery shoppers visited retail stores in Scotland, England and Wales, across all the major car seat retailers: Halfords, Mothercare, Smyths, John Lewis, Mamas and Papas, plus a range of independent retailers.

Our mystery shoppers posed as customers wanting to upgrade a baby car seat for a nine-month-old, 9kg, baby. Among those questions they should have been asked were:

What's your baby's weight, height and age?

Many baby car seats are chosen by weight or height, and keeping a baby in a lower group seat is considered better than moving up a seat too soon. 95% of stores we visited asked the age of the child rather than the child's weight or height. Age is a starting point, but it's not the best way to select a child car seat. Asking the child's weight and height, too, will help to ensure the right car seat can be recommended, especially if the baby isn't with you.

What vehicle do you have?

Not all car seats fit in every car, so it's vital that staff ask this question to ensure they can select the correct seat. However, 18% of assistants we questioned didn't ask what car the seat would go in.

Will you be using the car seat in any other vehicles?

Assistants should also be asking about any other cars the seat will be used in, to ensure any car seats recommended will be compatible. 54% of those assistants we visited completely missed asking this question, but went on to recommend car seats anyway.

Does your car have ISOfix connectors?

Almost a third (29%) failed to ask if the car had ISOfix connectors. If a car does not have Isofix connectors, this will affect the seat recommendation.

Does your car have a top-tether point?

Not all cars have a top-tether point. Just over a third of visits (34%) didn't mention top tether when discussing ISOfix. This could affect which car seat should be recommended.

Does your car have underfloor storage?

A whopping 81% of those sales assistants we visited failed to ask if the car had underfloor storage, which could lead to the wrong car seat being recommended. In some cars, a child car seat using a support leg, can't be used in a seating position with underfloor storage. However the majority of assistants did not mention underfloor storage at all or give advice about why this could be an issue.

Other key safety issues that are getting ignored

Fit list check

Not all ISOfix seats are compatible with all ISOfix cars. If an ISOfix seat was recommended, the manufacturer fit list should have been checked by sales assistants to confirm compatibility. 10% didn't do this check.

Demonstrating the fitting of the car seat

A demonstration of how to fit the car seat is vital as it allows parents to see what they are buying and ensure it's the best car seat for them, their car and their baby, but nearly a quarter (23%) of assistants didn't offer this.

Not explaining benefits of rear facing for longer

Our mystery shoppers were posing as parents upgrading from a baby car seat to the next stage. But, despite this, 20% of sales assistants didn't explain the benefits of keeping babies rear facing for as long as possible. Turning a baby forward facing too soon is a potential safety risk.


Years of safety failings

What's most disappointing is that these safety failings aren't the first we've seen. Which? investigated car seat retailer fittings in 2011, 2012 and 2014. In each of those years we received similarly shocking results which were fed back to retailers.

In our 2014 investigation, nine out of 10 retailers failed our car seat fitting tests and promised to follow up and improve the situation.

Jan James from Good Egg Safety says: "These are extremely disappointing results. Following last year's independent checks commissioned by Good Egg Safety, we shared all of the information with retailers in our national joint industry group meeting. They were given the information in great detail and understood the methodology. Nothing has changed, nothing should be a surprise.

It is evident retailers have a genuine interest in improving their advice in-store by attending our meetings and we have always stated that we'd prefer parents to buy in a store than online. That is still the case. One of the main issues, however, is sales assistants are not completing a safety assessment form at the point of sale. In a busy store, with children, ear pieces and myriad distractions;without a consultation form, some of these critical questions are being missed. We see the results in our child car seat events where almost 70%, on average, are incorrectly fitted to either child or car."

Jan James, CEO Good Egg Safety

Lisa Galliers, Which? car seat expert says: "Years on we really shouldn't be seeing results like this.

Retailers continue to put babies lives at risk by failing to ensure car seat salespeople are asking the right questions and giving out the best advice and recommendations for car seats.

Retailers say they're offering training, and I've been on some of these training courses, but something is clearly still not filtering down to the shop floor. That needs to change. We've offered to meet with all retailers involved to help them improve.

We carried out our mystery shop in partnership with Good Egg Safety, an organisation that champions car seat safety and runs regular mystery shops and car seat checks carried out across the UK. Its last mystery shop, in 2017, recorded a nine out of 10 failure rate."

Lisa Galliers, Which?

What we want to see from retailers

We want to see all sales assistants selling child car seats using a 'Safety Assessment Form' and we want to see parents asking for this to be used. This lists all the key questions that need asking, so that no vital safety information is missed. Some retailers say they have these forms, but 86% of of the store staff we mystery shopped did not use one - the results could have been a lot different with this simple check in place.

Until this happens we'd encourage all parents to download our 'seat buying check list' and 'retailer safety assessment form' to take with them when buying a child car seat.

How we carried out our testing

In one of the largest car seat mystery shops, 213 retail stores were visited in total, divided across 10 different areas of the UK. These included all the major car seat retailers: Halfords (86), Mothercare (52), Smyths (36), John Lewis (12), Mamas and Papas (7), plus range of independent retailers (20). The number of visits to each retailer (indicated in brackets) were a snapshot based on the number of stores across the UK offering car seat fitting.

The salesperson at each retailer was marked according to how many of the applicable key safety questions were asked. The questions, developed with car seat industry experts and car seat manufacturers, were all rated equally. Retailers were marked with a 'fail' if a question wasn't asked, or there was no understanding of the topic demonstrated, or the store staff simply didn't explain why they hadn't asked that question.

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Child fatalities rise as some retailers are still not showing parents how to choose and fit child car seats safely.

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Good Egg Safety has been in the business of saving children's lives for seventeen years. Supported by the Arnold Clark Group, they lead the way nationally in car seat safety, and in monitoring the retailers who sell these seats to parents. In 2017 their latest car seat checks showed that, over the last eight years, there has been a 47% increase in the number of child car seats found to be incorrectly fitted, at the same time that child casualties are on the rise. 

Children's car seats can be quite expensive items and parents mainly trust advice from car seat retailers, on how to fit them properly. Alarmingly some retailers are continuing to fall short in providing this vital support.

More than 9 out of 10 retailers failed these tests in 2017 from a sample of 146 stores, even though this vital advice is freely available through Good Egg Safety, a community interest company which specialises in making our roads safer.

Parents are being encouraged to download Good Egg Safety's free new parents' checklist. This outlines all the questions parents need to have answered in order to be more confident that the seat will protect their child as intended.


"We have been relentlessly campaigning for greater in car child safety for over 17 years and it is of major concern that we are still finding major errors in child seat fitting in our free car seat clinics. The difference between a correctly fitted seat which is compatible with the cars it's used in and fits the child who will use it, could literally mean the difference between life and death for that child in the event of a collision. This reality was recently brought home last week when a child was saved from serious injury in a dreadful crash in the south west, by being secured in a correctly fitted seat."

Good Egg has founded a joint industry group of leading retailers, child seat manufacturers and road safety organisations and all these results have been openly shared with them to help drive change. More mystery shops are being undertaken by independent testers who have no commercial links to retailer training, to establish whether the increased retailer focus on training provision is working.

Jan added "it is clear that the retailers represented in our national industry group care deeply about this issue and costly training can seem like a luxury in the face of other business challenges.But it's not a luxury, it is essential to help save lives, and we are calling for the government to endorse the need for child car seat specialists to be fully accredited."

Good Egg Safety chief, Jan James

"IAM RoadSmart are acutely aware that parents need the best possible independent and informed advice when choosing a new seat for their most precious cargo. It is very disappointing that some of our most trusted retail brands have done so badly in these secret shoppers surveys. IAM RoadSmart are confident that these retailers can turn this around quickly through better training and more consistent service delivery. In the meantime our advice to parents is to do your research thoroughly and go into every shop armed with the Good Egg questions." quote here...

Neil Greig, Policy & Research Director, IAM

"It's important that parents get the right advice when it comes to choosing a child's car seat to ensure children are well protected, should a crash occur. Retailers have a duty of care over their customers and should always put safety and quality at the forefront of their minds when talking about and fitting child seats into a vehicle. We would encourage all parents to do their research, and make the most of tools like Good Egg Safety's free parents' checklist, to make an informed decision when buying a car seat for their children."

Mike Bristow, spokesperson for Brake, the road safety charity

"As long-term supporters of the Good Egg initiative, Arnold Clark is committed to promoting in-car child safety. This disturbing statistic shows that it's more vital than ever to educate people about the correct way to fit car seats and we are fully supportive of Good Egg's efforts to monitor retailers and spread the message that in-car child safety is of paramount importance"

Eddie Hawthorne, Chief Executive and Group Managing Director for the Arnold Clark Group
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New booster seats ban explained

New booster seats ban explained

There have been many reports regarding the new stricter rules which may be coming out about booster cushions and this has caused much confusion.

This proposed change is a new amendment to the current regulation R44 and will only apply to new approved products. This means that parents who currently have booster cushions can legally continue to use them as they have been.

However, if the proposed amendment goes through, this would potentially mean that parents buying new backless booster seats (booster cushions) in 2017 would only be able to use them for children above 125cm in height and 22kg in weight.

It has not actually been confirmed that a new addition to the child car seat regulations will be coming into effect in December 2016.

Currently, it is in discussions and yet to be voted on. However, there is only one more stage of approval to go through and is unlikely to get rejected at that stage.



There are currently two child car seat regulations running alongside each other – R44.04, which are the weight based car seats, and R129, which is a new regulation.

R129 is making seats easier to choose, fit and use. However, R44.04 weight based approved seats will still be sold, legal and safe for some years to come. One of the key features of R44 is that child seats are chosen based on weight:

Group 0+ (infant seats) – 0 to 13kg
Group 1 (toddler seats) – 9kg to 18kg
Group 2,3 (Booster seats) – 15kg to 36kg

Part of the problem with R44, is that children tend to be moved up a stage as soon as they reach the minimum weight limit for the next stage, when it is actually safer for them to stay in each stage seat until they reach the maximum weight limit for their current stage. A step up in group stage is a step down in safety.

R44.04 currently allows boosters, even booster cushions, to be approved from 15kg – this can legally be a child as young as 2 years or less! While the weight limit is the main factor, there are also height considerations to take into account. A child can be 15kg in weight, yet still be far too small to use a booster.

Children's bones are very different from adults, and their hips and pelvis are very small and set far back. The hips and pelvis are what helps to keep a seat belt in place, and absorb energy. These bones are not really strong enough for a seat belt until a child is around 4 years of age. There are 25kg harness limit seats for children who reach the 18kg harness weight limit at a young age.


Children under 125cm in height and 22kg weight will not be allowed to use a newly type approved (R44.04 supplement 11) booster cushion, but can still use booster cushions that were approved prior to this change after December 2016, if the proposed amendment is approved. They will have to use a high back booster.

We always recommend that children travel in the high back booster if they are the correct weight and height for it, and fit comfortably within the headrest. A high back booster provides additional head, neck and torso protection.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly at enquiries@goodeggsafety.com



**​UPDATE** Legislation review has been postponed to 2017, Good Egg Safety is awaiting an official response from DFT.

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One third of 8 to 11 year olds not using the mandatory booster seat, says new report

One third of 8 to 11 year olds not using the mandatory booster seat, says new report

A shocking 34 per cent of 8 to 11-year olds in the UK are not using a booster seat on car journeys when one is required, according to a new report by Good Egg Safety.

Current UK law requires all children under 12 or less than 135cm in height to use a booster seat.

Using a booster seat provides older children with crucial protection. Parents have been advised to invest in a high-back booster seat for extra protection for older children, rather than a booster cushion.

Sarah-Jane Martin, spokesperson for Brake, the road safety charity said: "These figures are very worrying and show that we're not taking child car seat safety seriously enough. It's vital that all parents understand that it's not just toddlers who need protecting. We're supporting Good Egg Safety with this important awareness raising campaign and ask all parents to ensure that their child has the appropriate safety seat fitted."

Honor Byford, Chair of Road Safety GB, the charity that supports road safety professionals, said: "We know that every parent's strongest instinct is to protect their children. The legislation on booster seats changed to ensure that booster seats provide the level of protection that children's smaller bodies need in the event of a crash. This keeps them on a booster seat for longer than used to be the case. We urge parents to check out the legal requirements and keep their children on the right booster seat for as long as their child needs that extra protection – which is until they are tall enough for an adult seatbelt to fit their body.

Good Egg provides excellent, clear information and advice to help parents, grandparents and carers to provide the best protection for their children when they are travelling by car.

Your local road safety team will also be pleased to help and advise you on this or any road safety matter. You can find their contact details through the Road Safety GB website"

Kat Furlong Good Egg Safety Manager and Training Expert added: "A high-back booster is far more preferable to a booster cushion, to provide children with adequate head, neck and torso protection from side impacts, which booster cushions do not offer. We implore parents to buy these instead and ensure they are the right seat for their child and car"

The Good Egg Safety checks also showed that a high number of booster seats – both high-back models and cushions – were being used unsafely. In many instances, the seat belt was not routed properly around the child and seat, which would drastically reduce the seat's effectiveness in a collision.

Mark Bennett, Senior Technical and Training Manager Europe, Britax said

"It's imperative that older children do use the correct restraint system when travelling in a car until they no longer need so – when they're 135cm tall or 12 years old whichever comes sooner. High-back booster seats will not only guide and control the position of the adult seat belt correctly over the child's pelvis and shoulder but it will also give the much needed side and head protection in a road accident. As Britax we will continue campaigning on the safety benefits of high-back boosters and help save lives."

The National Police Chiefs' Council lead for roads policing Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said;

"The use of seatbelts and booster seats is an essential, effective method of reducing child fatalities and serious injuries in motor vehicle collisions. That's why their correct use is not a matter of choice, it is the law."

"I have no doubt that correctly used seat restraints for children have helped protect the most vulnerable from needless death and serious injury. So don't take any chances. "

For more information on booster seats, visit http://www.goodeggcarsafety.com/blog/tags/booster-seats.html

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Child Car Seat Safety Infographic

 

Is your child's car seat correctly fitted?

Find out now using Good Egg Safety's handy infographic.

 

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BRITAX’S ‘BIN THE BOOSTER’ CAMPAIGN IS BACK URGING PARENTS TO TRAVEL SAFELY THIS SUMMER

Returning after the success of the previous two years, leading child safety brand Britax has launched its 2015 ‘Bin the Booster’ awareness campaign.


This nationwide campaign, supported with powerful crash test footage, urges parents to get rid of any booster cushion seats they might have and opt for highback boosters with head and side impact protection to ensure children are safe and secure on their travels this summer - and beyond.



 

While the current law requires children to travel in a car seat until they are 135cm tall or 12 years old, Britax believes there is still a lack of understanding around safety in Group 2-3, which protects children from four to around 12 years of age. At this stage many parents opt for a simple booster cushion to help lift their child and ensure the vehicle seat belt sits correctly on the bony parts of their bodies. However, Britax found that approximately half (49%) of seat belts used to secure child seats may be fitted incorrectly*. They are often twisted, too high, or fitted around the seat and not the child. On top of misfittings, these booster cushions also offer no head or side impact protection for children.

To get parents’ full attention and highlight the true danger of booster cushions, Britax has released some alarming footage filmed at their crash test centre in Andover. It captures the safety performance of a booster cushion vs a highback booster seat in the event of a frontal collision. The footage sees the child sized dummy in the booster cushion instantly thrown forward upon impact. Viewers are able to witness from a range of angles that the upper belt is kept in place on the highback booster thanks to the upper belt guide, whereas the dummy on the booster cushion frees itself from the upper belt. Even in this frontal collision, the dummy in the booster cushion is flung towards the side of the car, dangerously hitting its head on the side of the vehicle at speed, as opposed to the highback booster, which sees the dummy stay more supported with head and upper body containment thanks to its side wings and headrest.

Mark Bennett, Britax’s safety expert, comments: “After watching this footage, parents will think twice when choosing a Group 2-3 car seat as it is incredibly haunting and really demonstrates the importance of deep protective side wings, head support and seat belt guides to ensure that seat belts are correctly positioned and fitted. We are calling for all parents using booster cushions to switch to a highback booster option and help us further spread the word about the inadequate protection these cushions provide - it could save precious lives this summer!”

Booster cushions are still sold because it is not required by current EU safety standards to conduct tests for side collisions on Group 2-3 seats. However, Britax only sells and recommends highback boosters and their products far surpass the legal safety requirements. Product developers continue to incorporate the latest, most advanced and industry leading safety innovations; including the energy absorbing seat belt pad, the XP-PAD and adjustable side impact cushion technology (SICT) for superior side impact protection in their highback booster range as can be seen in the popular KIDFIX XP SICT. Britax’s highback booster range includes seats fitted with ISOFIT** that connects the seat directly to the car’s chassis, creating a safe and rigid installation.

 



Britax

 

 

Britax is not alone in its belief that booster cushions are not the safest option for children.

Jan James, CEO of Good Egg Safety, which provides safety advice for families in the UK comments:

“We welcome this powerful footage from Britax which really drives home the dangers of booster cushions.  What makes this so poignant is the fact that when using these, parents are at least trying to protect their children by lifting them up to ensure a better fit of seat belt,  not realising that their child is still in significant danger in the event of an impact.  The nerves in the neck don’t stretch well and a collision which throws the head forward with the force demonstrated here could potentially result in catastrophic injuries to their child. Good Egg Safety thoroughly recommends the use of a high back booster for that extra vital protection. As witnessed here, it will really make the difference.”

The 2015 ‘Bin the Booster’ campaign will run all summer from Monday 13th July, just before the school holiday season. In addition to sharing the powerful video footage far and wide, it will see Britax actively sharing key tips on what to look out for when purchasing a new Group 2-3 seat. It will also include a live Q&A on the Britax Twitter page on 15th July with Britax safety experts Mark Bennett and Cheryl Dunn, who will be on hand to answer any questions parents may have on the topic.


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Parents take to social media to warn others about potentially dangerous child car seat…

Leading child safety campaigner, Good Egg Safety has been alerted by four separate families warning of a potentially dangerous child car seat - the Kiddu Lane 123 seat - where a child has been injured while being transported in it.

The first reported incident to Good Egg occurred in April this year where a 22 month old boy was thrown out of his seat when his relative had to make an emergency stop; sustaining serious bruising to his head. Since this was reported on social media a further three families have reported similar incidents to Good Egg Safety where two more children have also sustained injury.



Bruised head

 

Concerned Mum, Stacey Tennant, who reported the original incident said: “When we alerted parents about our concerns, I felt sick to hear that other similar incidents had occurred and been swept under the carpet. If my son had been seriously injured or killed and the manufacturer and retailer concerned knew beforehand that there was a problem and could have prevented it, I would have held them directly responsible. Now my hope is that no other parent has to find out the hard way and we are grateful to Good Egg for bringing this to their attention. My Facebook video has had over a million views so far which is really encouraging”

Good Egg Safety Chief, Jan James said today: "We are deeply concerned about this and have tried to contact the distributor concerned and also the stores who are currently selling this product. We have requested an immediate halt to sales until the issue is further investigated. It should not require the death of an infant for this to be taken seriously and financial considerations should be superseded by the health and safety of child passengers who may currently be at risk."

Paul Hussein bought his Kiddu Lane 123 seat earlier in February. He received an urgent call from his wife to say that their young son had fallen out of his seat on the journey home, after he had been carefully placed into his seat and the straps tightened. He said “this product should be recalled as it is unsafe before it potentially does more harm to a young child.”

Good Egg is issuing regular updates on its campaign facebook page to keep concerned parents and grandparents up-to-date with developments. Any concerned parents can also contact the organisation directly by emailing enquiries@goodeggsafety.com

Good Egg Safety Chief, Jan James, welcomes the news that Kiddu has temporarily withdrawn their seat from sale in Tesco and Asda until further tests are conducted.

This is very encouraging and we are pleased Kiddu has responded in this positive way. The health and safety of children is paramount and parents will understandably want further reassurance that their seat is safe.

 

Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB added:

“The possibility that a child car seat or its harness has failed is alarming. I am pleased that Kiddu have now taken action to remove their seats from sale and to investigate these incidents as a matter of urgency. We are publishing this information to help alert Road Safety Professionals and, through them, anyone who has a Kiddu car seat so that they can contact Kiddu or the retailer from whom they bought the seat for more information and advice. We look forward to hearing the findings of the Kiddu investigations, which we will of course also publicise.”

 

Sarah-Jane Martin, spokesperson from Brake, the road safety charity said:

“Child seats are subject to strict safety standards for a reason, and can save a child’s life in the event of a crash. We’re pleased the Kiddu child seats have been removed from sale, and encourage any parent with concerns to visit a professional to have their seat checked."

 

The full statement from Kiddu follows:

“Product safety is our top priority and we are taking this matter very seriously. We have already conducted our own tests on our car seat buckles, which have indicated no fault to date. However, we have also requested that independent tests are carried out by the premier UK test authority as a matter of urgency. In the meantime, we have made the decision to temporarily withdraw the Kiddu Lane car seat from sale until the tests are complete.

We would like to reassure families with a Kiddu Lane car seat that the seat has been subjected to rigorous testing and has been approved to the current European Child Safety Standard ECE R 44/04 and by the Vehicle Certification Authority (VCA) in the UK. However, should anyone feel concerned they can call our dedicated helpline on 0161-702-5061.”



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65% of leading high street retailers are not giving safe advice when selling child car seats say undercover researchers...

 

53 out of 82 shops run by well-known national chains and independent retailers selling child safety seats did not give the full correct advice to mystery shoppers, according to a report published today.

The new findings, issued by Good Egg Safety, reveal that staff in the majority of stores tested did not ask enough basic information to ensure a safe fit of the child seats they were selling. A child car seat, no matter how well it is manufactured and tested, will not perform as it is designed to do in a collision if it’s not correctly installed or if it doesn’t fit the child or car it is purchased for.

Jan James, Chief Executive of Good Egg Safety, said today: “We’ve checked over 21,000 child car seats since 2002, and have found a 43% growth in incorrect fitment or incompatibility in the last five years, which is a major concern. Last year alone we discovered that 67% of seats were incorrectly fitted across the UK. These seats will provide reduced or possibly no protection in the event of a collision. There’s clearly a correlation here between incorrect fitting and substandard retailer fitting advice and this has to be addressed."

“We still encourage parents to buy their seat new from a high street store because second hand seats can’t provide the peace of mind that they will perform well in a crash unless their full history is known and parents can check the seat is easy to fit in their car prior to purchase. To ensure they receive the right advice, however, parents  and grandparents can download our new free checking guide which shows them what  questions they should be asked. The welfare and safety of their children is paramount.”

The findings have prompted the development of our powerful new advert above. Feedback to it from parent focus groups and industry partners has been resoundingly positive.

Honor Byford, Chair of Road Safety GB said: “This is very timely – just as families are taking more day trips and planning their holidays, checking the children’s car seats also needs to be on every parents “to do” list. We know from the many enquiries that we receive from parents that they find the multitude of different car seats and types of fittings very worrying. Parents – and grandparents – are relying on retailers to give them the best advice and service. Car seat retailers should be parent’s safety partners in keeping children safe when they are travelling in cars. This is a big responsibility but it is one that retailers can achieve. They should aim to give parents the confidence that they are providing a top quality service they can trust.”

Kevin Clinton, Head of Road Safety, RoSPA said: “It’s extremely important that child car seats are suitable for the child and correctly fitted in the car. This survey shows that retailers need to improve the help they give parents and make sure that their staff are trained so they can make sure their customers choose the correct seat and know how to fit it properly”

Sarah-Jane Martin, Brake, the road safety charity said: “You can’t put a price on your child’s safety. It’s shocking to think that so many child seats are incorrectly fitted. It is essential that children travelling in cars are protected by using the appropriate restraints. Using a child restraint that’s appropriate for a child’s size and weight and properly fitted reduces the risk of injury, and is effective in preventing the most serious injuries.”

Tanya Robinson, Child Safety Centre Manager at TRL said: “TRL continues to contribute to the development of the safety performance of child car seats. However, this work will not achieve its goals if those using the car seats are not provided with adequate guidance on how to choose an appropriate child seat  and do not understand how to fit and use them correctly. That is why we are working with Good Egg Safety to understand the common errors made by parents, grandparents and carers and to provide training for retailers.”

Sir Arnold Clark, The Arnold Clark Group said: “As latest statistics have shown, it is more important than ever that parents have as much information as possible on car seat safety and know what to look for when purchasing a child seat. That is why Arnold Clark is proud to support the Good Egg In-Car safety scheme and the essential work it does to raise awareness of child car safety. Its latest campaign is thought provoking, engaging and will strike an emotional chord with parents all over the country.”

Bengi Bingol Yalcin, Marketing Manager UK of Britax, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Good Egg Safety and be part of such a powerful consumer campaign. We both share a common goal in working tirelessly to keep families safer, so are excited at what we can achieve together this year. We believe family freedom starts with safety and hope this campaign will help break down the overwhelming amount of information out there about in-car safety and give parents the confidence to make the right car seat choice for their car and their own precious family. Together we truly believe we can help parents enjoy every twist and turn of the amazing journey of parenthood, right from the very beginning! ”

Andrew Radcliffe, Managing Director at Dorel UK Ltd (Maxi-Cosi) said: “These results do reflect the need for retailers to improve training for their staff in delivering better service to consumers looking to buy child car seats. One of the key facets of the newly ratified i-Size regulation is ease-of-use in terms of installing and fitting child car seats, which is why Maxi-Cosi has been so keen to promote i-Size, inform the public about it and introduce car seats that are i-Size compliant. Maxi-Cosi is also committed and active in training retailers staff and these results draw further attention to the challenge caused by high staff turnover and use of temporary staff.”


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Sharp rise in child deaths linked to incorrectly fitted seats

 

 Seven out of ten car seats for children tested in 2014 in England and Wales do not meet minimum fitting standards, Good Egg Safety announced today. Good Egg, which has tested 20,500 child safety seats in England, Wales and Scotland since 2002, found that 71% of seats tested in England and Wales were unsafe in 2014, and 64% in Scotland. The national average over the last five years has been 57%, but this masks a year on year increase from 47% in 2010 to 67% in 2014. The figures come at the same time as Department for Transport statistics revealing that the number of child deaths or serious injury on Britain's roads has risen for the first time in two decades. This means that two thirds of the children and babies in Britain are now at risk as a result of the seat being improperly fitted, incorrect for the size and weight of the child, or wrong for the make and model of vehicle.


Online purchases, second hand seats and hand-me-downs have also contributed to a sharp 43% growth in incorrect fitting since 2010*. Good Egg online surveys also show that certain retailers are failing to give the necessary basic advice for a safe fitting.

 

Jan James, Chief Executive of Good Egg Safety


"This week's figures on casualties show clearly that we are not, as a nation, taking child car safety seriously enough.

"The saddest thing is most parents and grandparents genuinely want what is best for their children, they just don't know how to choose the right seats nor how to fit them.

"We've put all the advice that you need on our website, www.goodeggcarsafety.com, free of charge. If you're buying in a shop, insist that a trained sales assistant helps you fit the seat, and that you specify your child's height and weight and the car's model before buying. If you're buying online, don't unless you can put this information in. If the seat arrives without clear instructions for fitting and testing, then send it back. If you're offered a second hand seat, just politely decline: there is very little chance that a second hand seat will be right for your car and your child - you wouldn't entrust your child with a stranger yet that's exactly what you are doing if you place them in a seat without knowing its history."

 

Ben Willshire Group Manager at TRL


"TRL is committed to providing parents and retailers with a full understanding of the potential consequences of an incorrectly fitted child seat. Working with Good Egg Safety, TRL offers training courses to those advising parents on the correct fitment of seats to reduce the risk of incorrect usage. TRL is also developing a new star rating system which will help consumers make an informed choice when buying a child seat, and will include an assessment of the usability of the seat."

 

Honor Byford, Chair of Road Safety GB 


"There are so many different makes, styles and versions of child car seats that it isn't surprising that so often the seat parents (or grandparents) have bought is either not the best one for that car or is proving difficult to fit securely every time you make a journey. We strongly recommend that parents check if their car has  ISOFIX child seat securing points  - most new cars have had these for some years now. Using an ISOFIX seat means that the seat is bolted into the frame of the car and is not entirely dependent on the tightness of the adult seatbelt around it. It usually also needs a single tether to be tightened as well but is more user friendly for parents. We welcome the latest  report from the Good Egg team. We are pleased to support Good Egg with their clear and helpful guides for parents and appreciate the work they do in supporting local road safety officers to help parents  provide the best protection they can for their children."

 

Eddie Hawthorne, Arnold Clark Managing Director


"Having supported Good Egg Safety for over 12 years, I can only repeat and emphasise its message on the importance of correctly fitted seats for children. As a company we sell in excess of 200,000 vehicles per year and have a duty of care to ensure that our customers are safe on the road. I would encourage those travelling with children in their car, to ensure they have the correct seat for their child and that it is fitted correctly, if in doubt have it checked by a professional or consult the advice on the Good Egg Safety website."

 

Adrian Walsh, Director of RoadSafe


"It is always a challenge to belt little children into their seats and when we change the seats from one car to another fixing them is even more difficult, but for me advice from an expert made all the difference. My advice to all grandparents is to seek that advice and do a practice run under expert supervision."

 

Andrew Ratcliffe, Managing Director, Maxi-Cosi UK


"We know that ease of use and intuitive installation are vital factors in the correct installation of child car seats, which is why we ensure Maxi-Cosi seats are as easy for parents to fit as possible.

"Many of our car seats are fitted with light and sound sensors that let parents know when the seat has been properly installed. This ease of use and installation - in combination with leading car seat safety innovation - results in Maxi-Cosi doing so well in ratings tests."

 

Sarah Rowley, MD for Drive A Child


"In-car safety for little ones is about two things: maximising their protection by fitting the right car seat properly and minimizing their risk by avoiding being in a collision in the first place. It's clear from these new figures that this vital information needs to be made more readily available to the public. Drive A Child is working with Good Egg Safety to make this happen.  Our easy-to-use, online information and e-learning programme is the new go-to place for in-car safety. The aim is to make every journey you take safer and ensure seats all over the UK are fitted correctly."

 

Amanda Scacchetti, Product Development Manager for Mamas & Papas


"Being Product Development Director at Mamas & Papas is a big responsibility and so is being a parent. I need to know my little ones are as safe as possible every minute of the day and I want to know our range is as safe as possible too.  After all, the statistics are truly frightening.

"That's why we've completely redesigned our car seats collection, handpicking the very safest products from brands all over the world to find the best innovations.  We've also made sure you have crystal clear installation instructions that makes sure its fitted perfectly every time."

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VAT on child car seats

What do you think the VAT rate is for child car seats?


0%?

jodiekidd1



Child car seats carry a VAT rate of 5% on them – according to Halfords that costs parents £31 million a year.  That’s an extra addition for parents to pay for an essential piece of baby equipment – one that is a legal requirement.

 

The Law


The law states that all children under the age of 12 years or 135cm in height must legally use a child restraint suitable for their size and weight when travelling in a car, van or goods vehicle.  There are very few exceptions to this law – to read more on the exceptions click here.

 

Why should parents pay extra?

 


jodiekidd2

 

You can’t put a price on your child’s life.  Ask any parent and they will do everything they can to keep their child safe in the car, however the cost of child car seats can seem prohibitive to many parents, which is why so many are buying online or second hand.

Good Egg Safety has checked more child car seats than any other organisation and from 10,000 car seat checks, we have found an average incorrect fitment rate of 54%.  This has risen over the last 3 years - along with the increased trend of buying online, but also second hand.  Increasing numbers of parents are accepting hand me downs and buying from auction sites, as they want to get their child a good quality seat, but at an affordable price.

 

What would it mean to parents and carers?


Not having to pay VAT on car seats essentially means more money in your pocket – but it also means that parents and carers may be able to afford to get a better seat, or two seats so they don’t have to swap between cars, which carries a risk of incorrectly fitting the seat.  It may mean parents and carers will be able to afford to visit a store for advice, rather than having to purchase online to get an affordable seat, which in turn will help keep their children safer.

When you think of how much you spend on seats through your child’s car seat years, 5% off each purchase would soon add up!

 

What’s happened so far?


Halfords have launched a campaign to have VAT removed from child car seats, and have written to the Treasury to raise this issue.  The Treasury responded to inform them that the 5% VAT rate on child restraints is not an option to remove, as VAT changes are dictated by the agreement of all EU member states.

Yet this tax costs parents in the UK £31 million a year.  That doesn’t include grandparents and other carers who may also purchase seats for children they look after.  Halfords have responded to the letter with the following statement:

“We understand that the EU has a deliberately complex process to prevent the introduction of any new zero rates, however we believe it’s unfair that families are being charged VAT for essential safety equipment and we’re standing up for all families currently paying more than they need to” – Emma Fox, Commercial Director, Halfords.

 

What can you do?


Halfords are running a Zero VAT campaign, they have a petition set up here.  You can sign the petition link to join the call for the 5% VAT rate on a legally required piece of baby equipment to be removed.

 

 

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