A web page on the website for Britax Römer car seats, seen in January 2018, stated "Find the best car seat to fit your car. Find the perfect seat for your child and your car with our FIT FINDER tool". Below this was a tool allowing users to select their child's age and their make of car. When "Baby Birth - 15 Months. 40-83 cm 0-13 kg" and "Audi Q3" were selected, a number of results appeared, including the "Baby-Safe i-Size" car seat.
A button stating "View details" linked to further text which stated "Installation test details. Child car seats do not always fit every seat in the vehicle. Based on the vehicles we tested, here are the fitting details of the child car seat you choose showing where it will best fit in your car. Universal belted. This child seat is approved Universal and will fit most cars (see vehicle handbook for details of Universal seating locations). It is advisable to make a test installation with your retailer in your car (please ask for a member of staff who is Britax Römer trained) before you buy a child seat. This seat / base is certified in accordance with ECE R129 and thus guarantees compatibility with every ‘i-Size’-certified seating position. The TRIFIX i-Size is also compatible with all cars with ISOFIX & Top Tether anchorage point".
The complainant, who understood that using the Baby-Safe i-Size car seat in the Audi Q3 would place newborn babies in an unsafe position at an angle of nearly 90°, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
Britax Excelsior Ltd stated that all vehicle child restraint systems sold in the UK were regulated under either UN ECE Regulation 44 or UN ECE Regulation 129. Any child restraint system that was certified for use under those regulations was, by virtue of its certification, a product which met all applicable safety and other requirements for sale, installation and use in the UK. They explained that there were three methods for installing a child car seat in a vehicle: i-Size, ISOFIX and Universal Belted. In instances where a vehicle did not have any i-Size seating positions, an approved child restraint system could be used with an ISOFIX or Universal Belted position.
Britax stated that the Baby Safe i-Size car seat was primarily designed for use in the i-Size seating positions in a vehicle. The Audi Q3 did not have any i-Size seating positions. it did, however, have three ISOFIX positions in which the Baby Safe i-Size seat could be used in combination with an ISOFIX base. They provided a copy of a test report showing the angle at which a child would be lying when seated in those positions. Furthermore, the seat included technology that ensured that when the headrest was adjusted relative to the height of the child, the recline position of the child automatically adjusted in order to maintain a reclined angle. There was also an additional insert to give extra support to younger babies. Britax stated that when installed in accordance with the Baby Safe i-Size user guide and Audi Q3 Manual, the seat was safe to install and use and would not place the occupant in an unsafe position. Britax understood that the complainant had been told by retailer staff that the seat was unsafe for use in their vehicle in combination with their selected car seat base. They highlighted that the ad included text stating “… please ask for a member of staff who is Britax Römer trained” and stated that the advice the complainant had received that the seat was unsafe in the circumstances described may have been due to an issue with the retailer’s personnel.
The “Fit Finder” page allowed users to enter their child’s age/size and their model of car. In this instance, the complainant had selected "Baby Birth - 15 Months. 40-83 cm 0-13 kg" and "Audi Q3". The ASA considered that consumers would understand that the products that were displayed following this selection could be installed in an Audi Q3 and would be safe to use for babies aged 0–15 months who fell within the height and weight parameters stated. The ad stated “Child car seats do not always fit every seat in the vehicle. Based on the vehicles we tested, here are the fitting details of the child car seat you choose showing where it will best fit in your car”, “see vehicle handbook for details of Universal seating locations” and “It is advisable to make a test installation with your retailer in your car (please ask for a member of staff who is Britax Römer trained) before you buy a child seat”. It further stated the different types of seating positions with which the seat was compatible. We considered that consumers would understand that they would need to consult their vehicle handbook and/or a trained member of staff for further information on how to fit the seat into their particular vehicle.
The complainant, who was pregnant at the time, had purchased the Baby Safe i-Size car seat to use in combination with the Baby Safe i-Size flex base. They had since been advised that the use of those products in the Audi Q3 would result in the occupant being seated at an angle of nearly 90°, which was unsafe for a newborn baby.
We assessed the evidence provided by Britax. The test report on the Audi Q3 indicated that there were three ISOFIX positions in the vehicle, to which the Baby Safe i-Size seat could be attached in combination with an ISOFIX base. We understood that the Baby Safe i-Safe flex base was an ISOFIX base, compatible with ISOFIX positions. The test results showed that, when the seat was correctly fixed in each of the ISOFIX positions with an ISOFIX base, the occupant would be reclined at an angle of more than 45° from upright, which we understood was compliant with the relevant safety regulations. We considered that Britax had substantiated that the Baby Safe i-Size seat was safe to use when correctly installed in the Audi Q3. We concluded that the ad was not misleading.
The ad was investigated under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation), but was not found in breach.
No further action required.