1 in 3 UK parents admit to not using a car seat

A third of UK parents (32 per cent) have admitted to taking their child on a car journey without a valid child car seat, new research has found.

The State of Safety report conducted by Britax, the childhood mobility company, compared the attitudes of 4500 parents across Europe when it comes to travel safety.

The research showed that fifteen per cent of UK parents have confessed to having travelled without a car seat on more than ten different occasions, while one in ten admit their child has sat on their lap for car journeys.

It also revealed that almost 10 per cent of Britons have made a journey of longer than half an hour without the protection of a car seat. The figures for France are even higher, with 20 per cent of French parents admitting they had driven their children for more than 30 minutes without a suitable car seat.

UK parents were found to be the lowest users of mobile phones when driving with children (6 per cents) – a number dwarfed by the 38 per cent of Swedish parents who have reached for their handsets.

Sweden was found to be the worst European offender when it comes to speeding, with 46 per cent of parents admitting to driving too fast with children in the car.

Crucial, the Britax report also discovered that there is a genuine lack of understanding amongst parents about choosing and using the right car seat. Nearly a fifth (18 per cent) spent under an hour researching their child’s first car seat – less than the time they dedicated to choosing a new phone / tablet.

One in seven European parents were also unsure about the correct time to move their child to the next stage or group seat

Jan James, CEO of Good Egg Safety which 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.

Paul Gustavsson, CEO Britax Group Limited adds: “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.

“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 www.britax.co.uk 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.