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Is price an obstacle to buying a new child car seat?

Is price an obstacle to buying a new child car seat?

02/10/2017

Child car seats are not only obligatory, they are also vital for the protection of our small children when traveling by car. It is our duty to have a child car seat appropriate for the physical characteristics of the child and to use it correctly in our vehicles, anchoring it correctly and properly fastening all passengers in it.

Above all we should be concerned with ensuring that the seat is adequate for the particular child and is a duly approved product. Whether we are dealing with an ISOFIX child car seat, or if it is adjusted by means of a seat belt, the most important thing is if it is easy to install, given that they both offer the same protection. The chair should be approved and appropriate for the passenger, but what about the price? Is price a decisive factor when purchasing a child car seat?

The answer is that it does unfortunately have an influence. There is a perception that the higher quality child seats are expensive and that the cheaper seats on the market are not as good as the more expensive ones. The concept of expensive or inexpensive is relative, given that in terms of safety, in large part the price determines the quality of the materials and their resistance, as well as the extent to which they will become less effective over time.

A factor which raises the price for the consumer is the 21% VAT applied to the product. For some experts this is an important matter regarding the final price. A 4% reduced VAT is applied to products such as vehicles for disabled persons, wheelchairs and for transport for disabled persons, since these are all considered to be basic necessities. In the case of child car seats, given their vital importance for the safety of children and the fact that they are compulsory, it seems reasonable to request a 4% rate instead of the 21% rate applicable in the current tax system.

Lowering the VAT on these types of products would make it easier for lower income families to purchase them. To cite a specific example, a child car seat that costs 250 euros before taxes: with a 4% VAT rate the final price would be 260 euros while a 21% VAT rate would raise the price to just over 300 euros. This is a very substantial price difference.

As a final point, we should point out that investment in safety should never come down to haggling, and in general the cheap seats tend to be the worst option, and even more so if they are the ones which are used for a longer period of time: those equivalent to groups 2/3.


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