Buying a child car seat is a responsible task. That’s why dTest asked what parents look out for when choosing a car seat and what types they prefer. Safety and anti-theft types are the most important, installation instructions are not read by the majority of respondents and they consider the fastening of car seats to be intuitive.
Czech legislation puts the safety of the child first in the transport of the child. A child who is lighter than 36 kilograms and at the same time less than 150 centimetres tall must be seated in a car seat when driving. Age does not play a role in this respect. “We have been testing car seats for more than 25 years and have published a number of articles on the subject, including advice on how to choose from the range of products. This time we were interested in parents’ preferences,” says Hana Hoffmann, editor-in-chief of dTest magazine.
1,180 people took part in the survey, which was conducted over the summer holidays. A series of questions focused on the most discussed areas – what criteria and types of car seats parents prefer when buying them, where they buy them and how much care they take to install them correctly.
Safety was clearly one of the main considerations when choosing a car seat (99.4 %), followed by child comfort (54.3 %), and in third place by a wide margin was price (21.2 %). “It was interesting to see that although only a fifth of people take price into account when choosing a car seat, more than half of the respondents indicated that they have a financial limit when asked about the amount of investment in a car seat,” says Hana Hoffmannová, adding: “The good news is that, according to the results of our organisation’s independent tests, safe seats can be found even in lower price categories, so parents do not have to spend tens of thousands of crowns for a safe and high-quality product.”
Among the types of car seats, rear-facing car seats were the clear winner, with nine out of 10 Czechs choosing them. Only four per cent of respondents would prefer the proportional ones, while three per cent of respondents do not care. “The direction of seat installation has been a subject of debate for many years. The Czech standard states that a child should be seated rear-facing in a car until at least 15 months of age. In general, it is recommended to choose a rearward-facing installation as long as the seat allows it or as long as the child can withstand such a ride and can fit in with his/her legs. There are also rear-facing seats for four-year-olds. The ADAC advises installing a rear-facing seat until the child is about two years old. The final decision is always up to the parents,” says Hana Hoffmann.
When it comes to car seat fastening, here respondents were evenly split between the options of using the vehicle’s seat belt, using Isofix and no preference.
“Recently, a debate has raged over the proper installation of car seats. We were therefore interested to know what experiences parents have had with fitting car seats in their vehicles and what they are guided by. It turns out that Czechs don’t read the instructions very much,” says Hana Hoffmannová. Almost half of the respondents answered that they manage the installation without instructions, only a third said they use instructions. If adults already need instructions, they mainly follow the manual included in the package (42%), followed by instructions from the dealer (34%), and only 11% follow the instructions pictured on the car seat or look for instructions on the internet (10%).