It seems the whole of the UK is talking about the new child seat safety regulations.
If you’re finding them slightly confusing, hopefully this guide will help make things clearer.
Here’s all you need to know about the new child seat laws.
Firstly, only approved seats by the EU are legal in the UK.
Make sure you’re buying your car seat from a reputable source. All legal car seats will be marked with a circle containing a capital ‘E’.
Backless booster seats
General concerns over the safety of a child using just a seat belt and a backless booster seat have resulted in the new change in the law. This is due to the lack of head or side protection.
Following the old ruling, children who weigh 15 kg, which is approximately 33 pounds, can use a backless booster seat. The new rule states, that essentially, if your child is taller than 125cm or weighs more than 22 kg, they’re allowed to use a backless booster seat.
Are there any booster seat exceptions?
Yes, it’s good to note that the new regulation only affects newly designed and manufactured models. If your booster seat was manufactured prior to March 1st 2017, the old rules and regulations apply.
How do I know what seat to buy?
The way you buy your car seat has changed. You should now buy your car seat based on your child’s height, or on their weight. Children who need a car seat must use one at all times when travelling. Height-based seat allocations are called i-Size seats. You must choose the correct seat for the height of your child at the time of purchase.
Weight-based seats work slightly differently. They use your child’s weight to determine what type of seat is the most appropriate. For example, if your child weighs 9kg to 18kg they can use a rear or forward facing seat that uses a harness or safety shield. If your child weighs 22kg to 36kg they can use a high backed booster cushion. With the variations, it’s best to use a car seat calculator to ensure you’re buying the safest option.
Are there any car seat exceptions?
Yes, children who are 12 years and over, or more than 135cm tall do not need a car seat but must wear a seatbelt. A child can travel without a car seat in private hire vehicles, such as in a taxi if the driver does not provide one. However, they must wear a seatbelt in the rear of the car if they’re over three years old.
What’s not changed?
The rules on rear-facing baby seats still apply. A child must use the correct rear-facing seat until they reach 15 months old. This is because their neck is not strong enough to withstand any potential form of whiplash.
You should be careful when fitting this car seat in the front as there’s a danger of the airbag activating and causing harm.
As well as getting the appropriate car seat for your little ones, make sure you fit it correctly to ensure your child is safe and ready to travel.