Backless booster seat 'danger' warning

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Child booster seats without integrated seat backs are dangerous and should be phased out, according to consumer group Which?.

Child booster seats without integrated seat backs are dangerous and should be phased out, according to consumer group Which?.

The group says that through the use of such seats, or no seat at all, 47% of children aged 4-12 are at risk of "serious injury" during side impacts - accidents which it says account for around a quarter of all collisions.

By law, children who are under the age of 12 or under 135cm tall must use a booster seat - though a study highlighted last year by Which? found that only 42% of parents correctly understood this.

It adds that in a survey it conducted last month of 1,000 parents of children in this age group, 30%, of respondents said that they use a backless booster cushion, while 17% admitted using no child car seat at all.

But while backless cushions meet legal requirements, Which? says, parents should be "very wary" of using such seats, due to what it claims is the minimal level of protection they offer.

To illustrate its concerns, the group conducted an experiment with a seat that it believes offers a 'good' level of protection with its removable backrest in place - a rating of 68% overall. Without the back in place it scored just 20%.

The warning coincides with the UK's Child Safety Week, and the safety group is calling for manufacturers and retailers to phase out backless boosters.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said that around 30 children under 12 are killed each year while travelling in cars, with a further 300 being seriously injured.

"Kids might pile the pressure on parents not to have to sit in a full car seat when they get a bit older, but it could mean the difference between life and death," he added.

"Nobody who has seen the footage of a side impact collision on our website would choose to use a backless booster seat.

"While they're better than using no car seat at all, they simply don't provide enough protection."


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