Car Seat Fitting

Up to 85%* of car seats are fitted incorrectly!

Buying the right seat

An appropriate child car seat is the only piece of equipment parents legally require but buying the right seat is just the start. Sometimes fitting it is the biggest challenge and with so many different installation methods, it’s no surprise that errors occur.

The good news is that help is available. Most of the big retailers have now signed up to the Which? Best Practice Charter meaning more and more store staff are being trained by specialists. Numerous free car seat checks are also happening across the country and like Diono, many companies now have trained experts available to answer any questions.

In the car seats checks previously carried out by Diono, we have noticed some common issues which regularly occur – details of these can be found on the ‘Common Car Seat Fitting Issues’

When buying a car seat, even if it’s the second or third one, we would always recommend the following:
Get an in store demonstration and then see if it fits in your car. It’s a myth that all seats fit in all cars. Head room, angle of seat back and shape of the seat are big determining factors. Also check your child sits comfortably and is fully protected. The top of the head rest should never be lower than the top of the ears.
Ask for fitting advice at the retailer and follow the instruction manual. Never allow harnesses or seatbelts to twist.
Contact the manufacturer if you are unsure about anything
Remember to check your car seat regularly as seat belts become loose over time. Also as your child grows out of clothes, check the harness is at the right height and the head rest is still providing the right protection.

Independent advice is available from a number of organisations including:

Child Seat Safety
Good Egg Guide
Road Safety Great Britain

Twisted harness or seat belt

Causes increased wear and could multiply the crash forces transferred to a child. Have a quick check every time you put a child into the harness to make sure everything is straight.

Loose harness

Means the child is subject to increased forces on the neck. You should not be able to pinch the harness webbing.

Buckle crunch

Could lead to the buckle breaking and the car seat being released. Make sure the buckle is not on the edge of the seat causing a pivot point.

Head rest wedging

It may seem sensible to hold the seat back but a car seat should move forward with the child in an accident to make sure it protects them.

Incorrect shoulder harness height

If the harness is too low it is likely to fall off the shoulders and if it is too high it will cut into the neck. It also means the child can move out of the area protected by the car seat.

Incorrect seat belt position

For older children in booster seats, check the lap belt is across the top of the thighs, not the abdomen and the shoulder belt is on the shoulder not the neck.

Other issues can occur. Always ensure fitting instructions for the relevant model of seat are followed and seek advice from the manufacturer or a qualified expert if necessary.