Skip to main content

Child car seat safety

Recent research shows that 65% of child car seats are not properly fitted. You can get your child's car seat checked at one of our free events. Our experts will be on hand to answer questions and check your child's car seat is correctly fitted.

For comprehensive car seat advice, visit the ROSPA child car seat website.

You can also get expert advice for choosing and fitting a new car seat from Child seat safety and the RAC website.

Why it's important to make sure your child's car seat is fitted correctly

Your child's car seat is there to keep injuries to a minimum if there's an accident. It is extremely important to make sure it's properly fitted. It could even save your child's life.

Many parents do not get the correct fitting advice from the store they bought the seat from, putting thousands of lives at risk.

Not every type of seat will fit every car. Even if the seat is compatible, it could still be fitted incorrectly, or have the wrong restraint for the child’s weight.

Do not use a second-hand car seat. Experts advise parents not to use a second-hand car seat because the history of the seat may be unknown - it could be damaged.

Booster seats law

Never remove the back of high-backed booster seats or use a backless booster cushion. The lack of a back and side wings removes any side and head protection from the child car seat, leaving the child vulnerable to head and side injuries, particularly in side impacts.

It also makes it more difficult to position the diagonal strap of a seat belt correctly across the shoulder.

From February 2017, changes were made to the rules about backless booster seats. Previously, parents could buy these types of seats for children who weigh 15kg (2st 5lbs) and above, typically aged three and over.

The rules mean retailers can only sell backless boosters for children who weigh over 22kg (3st 7lbs) and who are over 125cm (4ft 1ins) tall.

This rule puts the responsibility onto the retailer.

However, we would recommend that if you have a backless booster, you do not use this until your child fits the criteria above. Ideally, we would recommend you keep your child in a high-backed booster seat until they are at least 135cm in height - although it's better to wait until they are 150cm (5ft) or taller before moving them to the seat belt on its own.

Find out more about in-car safety

If you'd like to know more, please email

You can also ask for our free booklet about in-car safety for up-to-date advice on the law about child car seats.

Some of the most common safety issues we have found at our events in 2023 include:

  • harness too loose on the child
  • headrest affecting the child
  • harness too high
  • headrest affecting the seat
  • foot prop incorrect on an isofix seat

Car seat safety check events

We hold regular events that residents can attend to check that their car seats are safely fitted.

2024 dates

  • Tuesday 18 June: The Ark, Poole Park from 10am to 4:30pm
  • Wednesday 19 June: Littledown Centre, Bournemouth from 10am to 2pm
  • Thursday 20 June: Two Riversmeet Leisure Centre, Christchurch from 9:30am to 1:30pm
  • Tuesday 10 September: The Ark, Poole Park from 10am to 4:30pm
  • Wednesday 11 September: Littledown Centre, Bournemouth from 10am to 2pm
  • Thursday 12 September: Two Riversmeet Leisure Centre, Christchurch from 9:30 to 1:30pm
  • Monday 25 November: The Ark, Poole Park from 10am to 4:30pm
  • Tuesday 26 November: Littledown Centre, Bournemouth from 10am to 2pm

Have you encountered a problem with this page?