New Regulations for Child Car Seats from March 2017
As many of the Rivervale Vehicle Leasing team are parents, we understand the desire to protect your children at all times, including using the correct car seat when travelling. As more research and testing is completed on car seats, new guidelines emerge to improve safety. New regulations surrounding booster seats will come into force on March 1st this year for the whole of the UK, changing the weight at which a child is ready to use a backless booster seat.
What are the changes to child car seat law?
The current law allows the use of backless booster seats for any child who weighs over 15 kg (2st5lbs) which on average applies to children ages 3 and up.
The new law will only allow backless booster seats to be used by children who weigh at least 22kg (3st7lb) and are 125cm (4ft1in) tall and over.
This change means children will be in car seats which have a back for a longer period of time. The United Nations are the authority who set the safety standards for car seats and they have approved this change, which means the EU must now implement the new law.
The new regulation has occurred as car seat experts believe backless booster seats do not hold a smaller child securely in their seat and offer little protection in the event of a side impact crash.
What happens if I already have a car seat?
For parents who have already purchased a backless booster seat which complies with current safety standards, it can continue to be used. There is no need for parents to go out and buy a new seat. The onus will be on manufacturers to ensure their car seats meet the new safety regulations and are labelled correctly.
The difference in protection offered by a backless booster cushion and those which have a back can be seen in the video below made by Britax.
All other areas of child car seat law remain the same
Other areas of car seat law remain the same and are as follows;
- Children must use a car seat suitable for their height and weight until they are 12 years old or reach 135cm (4ft5in) tall.
- Only EU approved car seats can be used in the UK. These can be identified by the label which will show a capital E in a circle.
There are some exceptions to the law. If no child seat is available in a taxi or minicab, a child over 3 may travel wearing the adult belt in the rear of the vehicle, a child under 3 does not need to use the adult belt. Any unexpected emergency journeys of a short distance can be undertaken with children over 3 using the adult belt in the rear seat and those under 3 in the rear seat without using the adult belt.
These changes only affect children from ages 3 and up. Car seat regulations for younger children were introduced in July 2013, with a new height based classification called i-Size, which keeps infants travelling in rear facing seats until they are around 15 months old.
Recent research has revealed 66% of parents do not fully understand regulations for their child's car seat - do you? Or do you think the law needs to made clearer?
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7 February 2017
Written by Natalie Faughy