A new survey by Which? has found that a worrying number of grandparents may be breaking the law and not using child car seats for their grandchildren.

The survey asked over 300 grandparents about their use of child car seats. The responses revealed that one in five (22%) admit to not using child car seats when driving their grandchildren aged 10 and under.

This news follows a report earlier in 2015 by Britax, which showed that a third of UK parents (32%) have admitted to taking their child on a car journey without a suitable child car seat.

Child car seat law

Current UK law states that children must use a child car seat until they are 12 years old, or 135cm tall, whichever comes first – and it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure this happens. A fixed-rate penalty of £100 can be issued to anyone who doesn’t ensure a suitable child car seat is used. This can rise up to £500 if the matter is taken to court.

The research also found that (33%) of the grandparents who do use a child car seat opt for a backless booster seat, sometime for children as young as three. While these seats cheap and seen like a good option for occasional use, they offer very little protection in a crash, particularly for younger children.

Richard Headland, Which? editor, said: “It’s worrying some grandparents could be breaking the law by not using a child car seat when driving their grandchildren.

“It’s important that children are travelling in the right seat that is correctly fitted. There is a range of free advice and information online to help drivers ensure children are kept safe in cars.”

Which? online offers a free downloadable guide to help parents and grandparents check if they have fitted their seat correctly. The site also has advice on how to choose the most suitable car seat for children.

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