Car seats 'put children at risk'

Four in five child safety seats in cars are incorrectly fitted, putting thousands of youngsters at risk, a new survey out today revealed.

Half of all parents did not even know if their child seat was the right one for their car, the survey found.

As many as 55% of parents had used second-hand car seats which were "probably completely useless" said Mother & Baby Magazine which conducted the survey.

Also, 90% of parents said they had problems fitting seats and fewer than 6% were offered fitting advice by the vendors.

The magazine identified four main car seat problems:

• Buckle crunching, where the adult seat belt buckle rests against the frame of the child's car seat and could shatter in an accident;

• Incorrect routing of the adult seat belt around the car seat;

• Loose adult seat belts allowing the child's car seat to move around too much;

• Child harnesses within the car seat that are too slack.

"A badly-fitted car seat is as useless as no car seat at all and we are now calling for all shops which sell car seats to offer a proper fitting service," said Dani Zur, the magazine's editor.

She went on: "We are also calling for the Government to introduce much stricter legislation regarding the safety of all children travelling in cars."

The survey also found that one in five parents allowed their baby or small child to travel in someone else's car without a car seat and one in three admitted fastening a seat belt around two small children or fastening a belt around themselves and a small child.

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