Poorly Fitted Child Car Seats Put 8 out of 10 Kids in Danger

  • ‘What Car?’ study reveals that as many as 85% of child seats are improperly fitted or inappropriate for the children who use them
  • Incorrect seats for the size or weight of the child are another major fault
  • ‘What Car?’ keen to see to see all retailers offering free post-sale advice

More than eight in 10 drivers are putting children’s safety at risk by failing to correctly fit child car seats, according to a new study by What Car?


A roadside investigation carried out by the UK’s biggest car-buying brand, in conjunction with Leicestershire Police and Child Seat Safety Ltd, found that only 15% of the child car seats assessed were fitted correctly and were appropriate to the children being carried in them.

 Of 85 seats analysed at random, in 51 cars, only 31 (36%) were fitted correctly and, when the suitability and fitting of the child were taken into account, that figure dropped to just 13.

Three quarters (74%) of the incorrectly fitted seats inspected were able to be rectified on site but four seats – 5% of the sample – were condemned, with two being removed immediately and replaced before onward travel was permitted.


Whereas car seats with ISOFIX attachments were all correctly installed, those that used the seatbelt as a restraint caused the most problems. The most common problem, accounting for a quarter (24%) of issues, was with the harness or seatbelt restraining the seat being too loose, twisted or incorrectly positioned.

More than one in six (16%) required the seat belt to be re-routed and a further 11% needed adjustments to be made to the headrest to ensure optimum protection.

Up to the age of 12 years old, when it is assumed that children will be able to use the seatbelts fitted in a car, the driver is responsible for ensuring that an appropriate child restraint is fitted and that it is being used correctly.


Steve Huntingford, What Car? editor, stated: “At best, drivers could land themselves with a £100 Fixed Penalty Notice, but at worst they are significantly increasing the risk of death or serious injury to their children. It’s a form of Russian roulette that drivers are playing.”

“We would urge anyone who transports children in car seats to seek professional advice about fitting them and buy their seats from specialists who offer free support not only at the time of purchase, but for the lifespan of the product.”

Many parents have turned to peer groups such as online forums as their primary means of discussing car seat safety. Few of those surveyed had sought professional guidance in selecting their child seats, and fewer still had retained contact with the retailers or manufacturers of their child seats.

Child Seat Safety co-director, Julie Dagnall said, “If you buy from a retailer with expert fitting knowledge, you’re paying for a service rather than just a seat. They will be happy for you to go back to them and get free advice as your child grows. Retailers we’d recommend include Halfords, John Lewis, Mamas and Papas, Mothercare, Toys R Us and many independent retailers.”

This is particularly pertinent as we approach Child Safety Week at the beginning of June. You can find out more about keeping your children safe on the road at http://www.childsafetyweek.org.uk

The full report will be available in the July issue of What Car? which goes on sale on June  1.


Out & About This Half-Term

If you’re still searching for a day out, here are some upcoming events with limited spaces still left!

Most of these events do require booking, so head on over to http://www.kidaround.biz/out-about.html for details on how to book.

June 01

Amberton Reservoir Visitor Centre


Over the course of half-term, Amberton Reservoir is holding a number of fun-activity packed days for the the whole family to take part in.

On June 01 head down for a ramble around the reserve and search for some Spring Bugs, or explore the depths of their ponds in a fun pond dipping session for all the family plus a trail and games.

Dinosaur Day

Head on down to Bedfords Park Visitor Centre to discover the prehistoric world of dinosaur adventures. Look for fossils; uncover dinosaur bones in the park, and other dino games and activities.

Beach Arts and Crafts – No booking required!


Visit The Naze Education and Visitor centre for a fun-filled afternoon of beach art, shell mobiles and more.

June 02

Fun with Fossils

On June 2nd, the whole family can come fossil hunting at The Naze, make their very own fossil and take part in a fun fossil fact quiz.

Pond Dipping

Uncover watery wildlife at Bedfords Park Visitor Centre. Visit their Dragonfly Pond and use pond dipping nets to catch underwater creatures – what might your family find?



Supernanny Jo Frost’s Best Tips on Getting Your Children to Help Out More


We all need to get our errands done and the difference between having a good experience and not when kids are involved is exactly how much we get them involved. We all know what it’s like being home with the little ones and needing to get the laundry done, with your toddler all too eager to prize you away to do something else. 

Follow the advice of Supernanny Jo Frost to help stay on top of this and make sure your kids are involved as much as they can be. It is equally important for your children to understand that they also have a responsibility to play a part in living together as a family.

First – Assess how you can get your children involved:

  • Look at the task at hand and work out how your children can help. Look for tasks which will be achievable for them and also make your life easier. For example, separating the socks from the vests, taking out the food from the shopping bags, tidying up the bath toys as getting out of the bath.
  • Be mindful to keep the chores short and sweet depending on the age of the child.

For younger children:

  • For younger children, having them match up socks together is a great early educational game as well as allowing you to achieve your task of folding the laundry. It’s a win win!
  • The supermarket shop is a classic example of getting your children to know their food and simultaneously avoiding the public tantrums by keeping kids occupied. Have them cross off items on the shopping list as you go along and direct you to items that are still left to buy.

For older children:

  • For older children, give them an actual task to complete, or a daily job which is solely their responsibility.
  • This can range from peeling vegetables, setting the table, actually putting the clothes away,or being your second pair of hands while you work on any other chores around the house.
  • Have them take part in family fly-bys before you go to bed: straighten out the sofa cushions, fold the blankies and make good for the next day. Tidy away remote control units and tidy newspapers and magazines, either placing them to one side for the recycling bin or stowing them in a stand or basket.

Reward them!

  • Compliment the efforts of this teamwork and how it makes you feel. Expressing your gratitude is extremely rewarding for any child to hear how they have been of help to you. This also encourages the willingness to help again.
  • When the job is done feel free to reward your little ones. If they have a behaviour chart give them a star, or give them an incentive to work towards. You should always make a point to show them the positive end result – all hands lead to a job well done!



Theatricool Performing Arts


Theatricool Performing Arts are in their eighth exciting year. Their ever-popular week-long summer holiday schools for children aged 3-16 will be running again this July and August. Each week the children enjoy plenty of drama, activities and games. It is an opportunity to make new friends and, above all, have lots of fun!


The week culminates in a performance for friends and family, so that all their hard work can be appreciated!


Previous happy customers have said: “The final showcase was fantastic and a real testament to the talent of your team in enabling a group of young people, who do not know each other, to perform in such a cohesive and professional way in such a short period of time.” (Fiona); “I can’t recommend Sally Fisher and her brilliant team at Theatricool enough, they are all superstars.” (Mrs B) “Lovely, friendly staff who made [my son] feel so welcome and encouraged his creativity!!” (Pauline L)


The children are grouped according to age and the younger ones can just have a half-day, if that suits them better. The day runs from 10am to 4pm and the week costs just £130.

This year’s schools take place in Colchester from 24th to 28th July, followed by a week at LIttlegarth School in Nayland from 31st July to 4th August. Booking can be made online.


Theatricool are thriving since their expansion last year. They have a dedicated Studio in central Colchester which is the home of the Theatricool Lower School (ages 4-6) on a Saturday, as well as hosting weekday classes. It is also available as a hall to hire – a brilliant birthday party venue for children.

Theatricool Upper School for ages 6-16 takes place on Saturday mornings at Colchester Institute. Both the Upper and Lower schools offer Theatricool’s popular performing arts training, made up from their tried-and-tested mix of drama, singing and dance. All Saturday school students are taught in age-appropriate groups and are encouraged to find their individual strengths. Friends and family can see the fruits of their hard work at two shows each year – giving students plenty of performance opportunities.

If you think your child would love to act, sing, dance and perform, why not book them a free taster session at either of the Colchester Saturday schools?


To find out more about summer holiday schools; Saturday schools, weekday classes, birthday parties and Studio hire, please call Sally on 07736 713909, email sally@theatricool.co.uk or visit http://www.theatricool.co.uk


WIN 6 Months Subscription to Super Geek Heroes

Having fun in turn with a mission to learn! 
Meet The Super Geek Heroes, an interactive and fun way for your children to learn.
There are seven heroes to choose from:
Super Geek Heroes2
Their seven friendly ‘super-powers’ are derived from the three prime and four specific development areas of the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’.
Which hero will your child pick? Watch here at https://www.youtube.com/supergeekheroes
Parents can learn more about Super Geek Heroes at http://www.supergeekheroes.com/parents.html

Want to win a £15 Amazon voucher and free 6 month subscription to KidsCast APP where you can download and view Super Geek Heroes on the go or cast to your TV? For a chance to win, comment below with what you think of the Super Geek Heroes and the answer to this question:
In the first video on the playlist – which continent is number 7 in Peter Planets lesson?


Competition ends Monday morning (15/05/17)  


Delicious One Pot Dinners For the Family

We’ve rounded up 3 simple (but by no means boring), budget friendly, one pan dinners for your family. Feed a family of four for under £10 with each of these mouthwatering recipes.

Garlic Parmesan Pasta

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Recipe from damndelicious.net

Garlic and parmesan. A match made in heaven. And with the help of a single pan, you can make the easiest, most epic pasta ever.

What you’ll need:

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

500ml chicken stock

250ml milk, or more, as needed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

300g uncooked fettuccine

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

85g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

What you need to do:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Stir in chicken stock, milk, butter and fettuccine; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is cooked through, about 18-20 minutes. Stir in Parmesan. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired

We recommend adding chopped mushrooms or broccoli at Step 2 for a heartier meal.

Mexican Chicken Tray Bake

Loaded with mouthwatering Mexican flavours, this smoky traybake is perfect for spicing up your midweek meals. Serve with a dollop of soured cream, fragrant coriander and creamy guacamole for a dish that will have people fighting for seconds.   

What you’ll need:

1kg pack chicken thighs and drumsticks

olive oil, for greasing

1 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped

2 yellow peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped

2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges

90g jar Chipotle Chilli and Paprika paste

100g barbecue sauce

750g sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into wedges

100ml soured cream

coriander leaves, to garnish

guacamole, to serve

What you need to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Slash the skin of each thigh and drumstick 2-3 times. Place in a large greased roasting tray with the peppers, garlic and red onion.
  2. Mix together the Chipotle paste and barbecue sauce. Spoon over the chicken and vegetables and toss well to ensure everything is coated. Roast for 15 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes. Carefully turn and baste everything in the juices and cook for a further 25-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender and starting to char. Remove from the oven and gently turn the vegetables again in the juices.
  3. Serve straight from the roasting tray, with spoonfuls of soured cream, coriander leaves to garnish, and guacamole on the side.

Tip: Using a whole jar of Chipotle paste makes for quite a fiery dish. If you prefer a milder flavour use half a jar – it will keep in the fridge for up to 28 days.

Salmon and Potato Casserole

This summer casserole is bright with citrus flavors and assembles quickly once the potatoes and lemons are sliced. Fresh basil, added right before serving, enlivens the flavor of the salmon.

What you’ll need:

4 salmon fillets (buy frozen fillets to save money)

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. pepper

500g new potatoes

5 tbsp. olive oil

1 lemon

12 pitted black olives

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp. fresh orange juice

2 tbsp. chopped basil

1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

What you need to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Season the salmon fillets with half a teaspoon salt and half a teaspoon pepper on both sides. Place the potatoes in a single layer in an 8 1/2- by 11-inch casserole. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the potatoes and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven and layer half the lemon slices over potatoes. Lay the fillets over the lemon slices, top with remaining lemon slices and olives, and return to oven. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees F and roast until salmon and potatoes are cooked through — about 40 minutes.
  3. Whisk the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, orange juice, remaining salt, and remaining pepper in a small bowl. Stir in the basil and thyme and drizzle over the warm salmon. Serve immediately.

Weirdest Things Discovered Inside British Sofas – Bag of Dead Skin + Dead Hamster Make List  

You may not want to be eating when you read this……..

New research has revealed that the average British household cleans out the inside of their sofa an average of every four to five years, allowing plenty of time for nail clippings, food and more disgusting debris to accumulate underneath where they sit.

 The detritus discovered down the back of Britain’s sofas ranges from the usual suspects of small change and food crumbs to one or two unexpected scares, according to new research by an interiors brand.

 www.hillarys.co.uk carried out the survey of 2,394 British parents aged 18 and over, all of whom stated that they live with their partner and at least one child under the age of 11 years old.

 Initially, all respondents were asked ‘When was the last time that you cleaned out the inside of your sofa (i.e. down the back/sides)?’ to which the average response was revealed as ‘four to five years ago’. All respondents who said one year or more were then asked why they didn’t do it more often, to which the most common responses were ‘I forget to do it’ (39%) and ‘I only tend to do it when I lose something and end up searching through the sofa, which is not often’ (33%).

 All respondents were then asked what they had found down the back of their sofa when either feeling around or giving it a clean. When provided with a list of possible responses and told to select all that applied, the most commonly found items were:

  •  Small change – 65%
  • Finger and toe nails – 51%
  • Food crumbs and chunks – 47%
  • Clumps of pet fur – 31%
  • Empty food wrappers – 26%

What’s more, when asked to state the more unusual or disgusting things that they’d found down the back of their sofa, some of the weirdest discoveries stated by respondents were revealed as follows:

  • A deceased hamster that had gone missing one month earlier
  • Nokia 3210
  • Years old, uneaten chicken nuggets from a popular fast food chain
  • Multiple pieces of dried up, chewed gum
  • A bag of dead skin


According to the poll, 10% confessed that they regularly tucked things into their sofa to keep them safe or so as not to be found by people coming into the room, with one third of those (35%) admitting that they’d forgotten that they’d done this until a later date. 

 Additionally, more than a third (34%) of the relevant respondents stated that they had, at least once, caught their child trying to hide food items within the sofa that they didn’t wanted to eat. A further 15% stated that they’d caught their partner trying to put/hide disgusting items down the side/back of the sofa, such as nail clippings.

Tara Hall, spokesperson for www.hillarys.co.uk, said:

“Knowing the grim reality of what lurks down the back of Britain’s sofas is enough to put anyone off rooting around for a lost pound.”