Concerns over the safety of kids’ car booster seats have been raised by car seat manufacturer Britax. Their “Bin the Booster” campaign features an alarming video demonstrating how a basic booster cushion performs compared to a high back booster seat.
Basically there’s no comparison. During the crash test, the dummy on the booster cushion slips free of the seat belt and hits its head on the side of the car. Meanwhile the dummy in the high back seat stays far more upright.
Video credit: Sunday Times Driving/YouTube
The footage was filmed at Britax’s testing facility in Hampshire and has been released as part of a wider campaign to persuade parents to get rid of any cushion-style booster seats they might have.
“After watching this footage, parents will think twice when choosing a Group 2-3 car seat as it is incredibly haunting and really demonstrates the importance of deep protective side wings, head support and seat belt guides to ensure that seat belts are correctly positioned and fitted,” said Mark Bennett, safety expert at Britax. “We are calling for all parents using booster cushions to switch to a high back booster option and help us further spread the word about the inadequate protection these cushions provide — it could save precious lives this summer!”
Good Egg Safety, which provides safety advice for families in the U.K., supports the “Bin the Booster” campaign. Jan James, its CEO, said: “We welcome this powerful footage from Britax which really drives home the dangers of booster cushions. What makes this so poignant is the fact that when using these, parents are at least trying to protect their children by lifting them up to ensure a better fit of seat belt, not realising that their child is still in significant danger in an impact. The nerves in the neck don’t stretch well and a collision which throws the head forward with the force demonstrated here could potentially result in catastrophic injuries to their child as a result. Good Egg Safety highly recommends the use of a high back booster for that extra vital protection. As witnessed here; it will really make the difference.”
The law on child car seats
- Children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first.
- Only EU-approved child car seats can be used in the U.K. These have a label showing a capital “E” in a circle.
- Car seats may be height-based or weight-based.
- Height-based car seats must be rear-facing until the child is over 15 months old, at which point they can use a forward-facing car seat.
- Weight-based car seats must be rear-facing until the child weighs over 9 kilograms.
- Children can use booster cushions when they weigh more than 22 kilograms.
Booster cushions are still sold because it’s not a requirement under current EU safety standards to conduct tests for side collisions on Group 2-3 seats. However, after watching this video, how many parents will be willing to take the risk?