Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Getting To Grips With The Confusing Child Safety Laws

More than a year on since new child safety laws on car seats were introduced, many parents are still confused and it’s easy to see why. ‘To booster seat, or not to booster seat?’ is a frequently asked question as well as, ‘what car seat is suitable for my child?’

The safety of our children is a number one priority when out on the road and as parents we want to make sure that we’re complying with the laws in order to keep them as safe as possible.

By not having the appropriate and secure child seat, parents are at risk of a fine up to £500. To help make sure you have the correct seat, RAC has put together an article on everything you need to know about car seat laws.

It’s clear that when a law changes it can cause confusion and many parents don’t fully understand it - so what exactly are these new regulations and what do they mean?

As the current UK law stands, manufacturers are no longer allowed to make new models of car seats for children who are shorter than 125 cm or weighing less than 22kg. As well as this, all children travelling in the car must be in the correct car seat for their height, age and weight until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall - whichever one comes first.

There are different rules depending on how old your child is when it comes to car seats:

Children under three:
● They must have a rear or forward facing seat.
● They are not allowed to travel in the front seat of the car unless the airbags have been deactivated.

Children aged three to 12 (or under 135cm tall):
● They must sit in a properly fitted car seat.
● Over three years old they can travel in a car without a seat for a short period of time using a normal seatbelt.

Now, to add even more confusion, anyone who brought a backless booster seat before 9 February 2017 - which is when the regulations changed - can legally still use it as the new rule only applies to brand new products that have been put on the market. The booster seat law change has caused much debate among parents over what is considered to be safe - but experts say backless booster seats are less secure. Personally, when we had a car accident in the summer, Tilly's booster seat did keep her secure and safe, but there is no side protection for her head, which concerned me and I went to buy her a full car seat.

Nick Lloyd, a road safety manager for ROSPA said: ‘High-backed booster seats are a better option than backless booster seats. This is because they offer more protection against accidents, particularly in side impacts.’As well as the above new laws, have you heard of something called i-Size? This is essentially a new standard in car seats that follows on from those laws. This enforces safety aspects such as making sure parents keep their children travelling rear facing for longer, as experts say it’s much safer.

Hopefully, now you have more of an idea of what these child safety laws mean and you can continue to comply with the law - and keep your child safe on the roads at all times.

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