UK parents struck by “car seat confusion” as new research from AXA reveals misunderstanding of recent changes to child car seat laws in the UK

UK parents struck by “car seat confusion” as new research from AXA reveals misunderstanding of recent changes to child car seat laws in the UK

18 August 2015: AXA today launches a campaign to raise awareness of car seat legislation, following research* that highlights a concerning lack of understanding amongst parents

  • Just one in ten (nine per cent) British parents can correctly identify changes to UK child car seat laws
  • Over three quarters (77 per cent) of parents have not heard of the new i-Size child car seat regulations and 76 per cent feel there has not been enough publicity about the changes
  • The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is concerned by the findings, and is working with AXA to make the options available to parents less confusing

Visit www.axa.co.uk/childseat for RoSPA-approved guidelines on the changes

 Research conducted by AXA shows that whilst 86 per cent of parents thought they understood the current law, only one in ten could actually identify the correct legislative changes to child car seat regulations made earlier this year, highlighting a disconnect in knowledge.

 In March 2015, the UK government amended the existing child car seat law to allow the use of i-Size approved car seats, which are designed to keep children rearward facing for up to 15 months old. It is based upon a European Union safety regulation that dictates that the suitability of children’s car seats is based upon a child’s height, rather than weight.

 The i-Size regulations run parallel to existing R44 legislation, which is based on a child’s weight and allows children to sit forward-facing from around 12 months old (depending on their individual weight). Although i-Size car seats were introduced into the UK five months ago, more than three quarters (77 per cent) of British parents had not heard of the regulation – despite its significant advantage in improving child safety.

The dual use of two pieces of legislation, along with a lack of clear guidelines, has caused confusion amongst parents with 76 per cent concerned about the lack of publicity surrounding these changes.

 It also appears that the confusing roll-out has caused an entire proportion of British parents to switch off, with one in five (20 per cent) declaring that they do not plan to bring themselves up to date with the legislation at all.

Head of Road Safety at RoSPA, Kevin Clinton, comments: “We are very concerned about the results of AXA’s research which show there is a lack of understanding about child car seats. There is such a wide range of types of seat to choose from, and several factors to consider when choosing; it’s no wonder that parents are confused. We actively encourage British parents to check what the law says, take their time to choose the best seat for their child and car, and buy from retailers who can show you how to fit it in your car to ensure you keep your little ones as safe as possible.”

 James Barclay, Head of Product Management at AXA, commented on the findings: “This is an incredibly worrying snapshot of the UK. With so many parents misunderstanding the legislation, and three quarters complaining about the lack of publicity, we felt a duty to help cut through the confusion. We’ve teamed up with RoSPA to heighten awareness amongst parents in the UK and shine the light on this important topic.

 “In the event of a valid claim following an accident, AXA car insurance policies provide cover for child car seats up to a value of £300**, whether visibly damaged or not, as we know it’s the little things like this that mean a lot to parents and can provide reassurance.”

 Initiatives launched by AXA to improve understanding of the important issue include an outline of the current laws, video tutorials and explanations from Channel Mum vloggers.

 Siobhan Freegard, founder of Channel Mum and Netmums, believes the campaign is a natural fit: “As a mum I know first-hand how confusing it can be for parents – you always want to ensure you’re doing the best by your child but there are so many guidelines available to follow. Child car seat safety is incredibly important, so I’ll be doing my best alongside organisations like AXA and RoSPA to help educate the other mums out there.”

 For RoSPA-approved advice and information about child seat legislation, visit www.axa.co.uk/childseat.