For parents that they do not already know, new EU car seat regulation laws came into effect on March, 1 2017.
If you already own and use a backless booster car seat, these new rules do not apply to those already purchased and in use and does not mean that these seats are illegal or unsafe. However, if you are one of the 46 per cent of parents who feel that these are not as safe as the booster seats with backs then you may be confused about the conflicting safety message that the new laws imply.
Manufacturers are now no longer allowed to bring out new models of backless booster seats for children weighing less than 22kg or who are shorter than 125cm. This is because booster seats with backs have been proven to offer more protection in the event of a collision.
Backless booster seats will be clearly labelled for use for only those children who are over this weight and height who will then be required to use a booster seat until they are over 12 years old or 135cm tall whichever comes first. These children will then be required to use an adult seatbelt.
A child car seat must:
– Conform to the United Nations standard, ECE Regulation 44.04 (or R 44.03) or to the new i-Size regulation, R129. Look for the ‘E’ mark label on the seat.
– Be suitable for your child’s weight and size. To check the rules around this, visit the government website https://www.gov.uk/child-car-seats-the-rules
– Be correctly fitted according to the manufacturer’s instructions
– Be in a safe condition
To fit a child seat safely:
– Ensure any front airbags are deactivated before fitting a rear-facing baby seat in a front seat
– Check the seat is secure and will not move at all
– Follow the exact instructions that the seat came with
– Have an expert fit it for you or get it checked by an expert
Exceptions when a child may be able to travel without a car seat:
– In taxis, minicabs, coaches or vans, children over three can wear an adult seatbelt but must sit in the back of the car
– In emergencies as long as it is absolutely necessary and only for a short distance
– If there is no room for a third child seat in the back, a child over three can travel in the rear wearing an adult seatbelt
The Department for Transport has advised that parents are responsible for knowing the new rules for using child car seats. It should be noted that if you are caught with a child in a seat unsuitable for their age and weight or one that is wrongly fitted, then you will be issued with a £500 fine. Between 2013 and 2015, 19,358 child seatbelt violations were recorded.