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."