Press Releases

Press Releases

A third of UK parents admit to not using a valid child car seat

UK, 1st June 2015 - To mark the start of Child Safety Week, Britax, the childhood mobility company, today launched a revealing report showing that despite UK parents' good intentions, there is still considerable confusion around car safety with many still taking significant risks when travelling with their children.

The State of Safety report compares parental attitudes across Europe when it comes to travel safety and aims to drive awareness of risks as well as support and encourage best practice. It shows that whilst parents in the UK are the lowest users of mobile phones when driving with children (6 per cent vs Sweden's 38 per cent), the UK is still lagging behind Germany, Spain and Poland when it comes to using suitable car seats. Almost a third of UK parents with children under the age of 11 (32 per cent) admit they have taken a journey without a valid child seat, with 15 per cent confessing they have done it on more than ten different occasions.

Whilst almost 10 per cent of Britons have made a journey of longer than half an hour without a suitable car seat, they aren't the worst in Europe - in France 20 per cent of parents admitted they had driven their children for more than 30 minutes without the protection of a car seat.

Other findings include:

  • One in ten UK parents admit they have sat their child on their lap for car journeys - 9 per cent of these parents said it was because they didn't know how to fit their car seat
  • 23 per cent of those surveyed said they didn't use a car seat because they were "only going on a short journey"
  • Over a quarter (26 per cent) of parents say they have broken the speed limit with their children in the car - Sweden was the worst European offender at 46 percent.
  • A further 26 per cent of UK parents admit to eating whilst driving with children in the car meaning they're not wholly focused on the road ahead

The Britax report, which questioned more than 4500 parents across Europe was designed to drive a better understanding of how parents and parents-to-be make crucial decisions about safety. Overall, it highlighted a genuine lack of understanding and confusion amongst parents when it comes to purchasing car seats and best practices:

  • Nearly a fifth (18 per cent) of parents spent under an hour researching their child's first car seat admitting they spent more time choosing a new phone / tablet
  • It's not just time, 67 per cent of European parents also admit they spend more money on their mobile phones or tablets than their child's car sear, with almost one in seven spending under £50 on a car seat
  • One in seven parents freely say they don't know when to move their child up to the next stage or group seat and 22 per cent would incorrectly change simply to make more space in the car

Jan James, CEO of Good Egg Safetywhich provides safety advice for families in the UK comments: "The fact that so little time and money is currently being invested in choosing the right seat also suggests that parents simply do not realise that some seats will not fit their car/child and in that instance their most precious passenger - their son or daughter - is at risk of serious injury or worse.  

"We strongly urge parents to take a little more time to get the facts and arm themselves with this excellent free information from Britax. It may help keep their little ones safer and enable them to live family life to the full - free from the sadness and regret we tragically see too often from otherwise loving and caring parents who made a momentary error and are now having to live with the consequences of that error for the rest of their lives".  

Paul Gustavsson, CEO Britax Group Limited commented: "Parents are understandably concerned about childhood safety, particularly when in the car. Yet our study shows that parents are knowingly and unknowingly still taking risks.  

"This is often due to parents being left baffled by the huge product choice or the complexity of legal guidelines, indicating a need for the entire industry to collectively come together to do make safety simpler. The State of Safety Report clearly shows where we need to help explain, remind and guide to help parents cut out seemingly small risks that could have a monumental and heart breaking impact on their lives."

For free information, explanations and advice on current rules and best practice in child car safety, Britax is encouraging parents to visit their website where they will also find their Fit Finder tool which enables parents to confidently check the compatibility of their car seat with their vehicle to ensure their children are properly protected.