Buying car seats online could put lives at risk

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Parents could be putting their children at risk by not going into a shop and getting the right advice before buying a car seat

A study by car experts, Whatcar.com, revealed 80% of major retail chains selling child car seats have trained experts in-store who can advise on the most suitable seat to buy and demonstrate how to fit the seat safely.

Whatcar.com says the only way to guarantee the seat is correctly fitted is to get professional advice and a safety demonstration.

Online shopping has increased rapidly over the last 10 years and spending is set to increase by 45% to reach £62.7 billion by 2020.

A mystery shop undertaken by Whatcar.com revealed while online and catalogue based shops had a wide range of car seats on sale, staff were unable to advise on the suitability of products. Specialist stores like Mamas & Papas and Mothercare on the other hand had experts on hand to give advice and demonstrations.

The wide range of categories for child car seats has led to confusion among consumers about which type of car seat is most suitable for their baby or young child.

A new European car seat safety regulation, called i-Size, will also be introduced in the near future. It will set out the criteria a seat must adhere to before it can go on sale and will also classify car seats by a child’s height rather than weight. This is to avoid the common problem of parents moving children from rear-facing infant seats to forward-facing ones too early.

 

Jim Holder, editorial director of Whatcar.com, said: “Keeping children safe in the car is a responsibility that every parent takes seriously. But finding the right car seat and fitting it correctly is something of a minefield.

“There is a wide range of seats available and few parents really understand their categorisation. With the new European safety regulation, i-Size, coming into force at some stage in the future, the decision-making process is about to become even more clouded.

“With that in mind, it will be even more important to take the time and effort to make the right choice. That means physically going into the best specialist retailers, spending time with the trained staff to get the best advice and trying the seats out in your car yourself, rather than relying on catalogue descriptions or online reviews.”

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