Road Safety News
 

New booster seat laws on the way

Tuesday 26th April 2016

New legislation on child car seats, which will limit the use of backless booster seats to older children, will come into force later this year (Which?).

Under the new rules, which come into effect in December, backless booster seats will only be permitted for use by children taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg.

Under current UK law, all children travelling in a car must use the correct car seat until they reach 12 years of age or 135cm in height. In some European countries the height limit is 150cm.

At present, children weighing as little as 15kg, that's around three years old, can travel in backless booster seats.

However, a number of child car seat experts have argued that this style of booster seat is unsuitable for young children.

Lisa Galliers, child car seat expert for the consumer champion Which?, said: “A decent high-backed booster seat provides better protection in a front crash, as they're designed to guide the adult seat-belt across the child's body properly, and our crash tests prove they offer much more protection in a side-impact crash than a backless booster seat alone.”

Julie Dagnall, director of Child Seat Safety and a Road Safety GB specialist with regard to child car seats, said: "We always recommend that a child uses a high back booster seat, however some booster cushions have been tested and certified for children 15kgs or over. We also always recommended that an older child (5 yrs+) sits on a high back booster seat and like many other European countries until they are at least 150 centimetres, even though the UK road traffic law is only 135cm.

"There are children as young as two years of age who weigh more than 15kgs which means they could sit on a booster cushion - but they would have very little upper body support for their vital organs, neck, head and bodies, even in low speed collisions. This new rule will stop parents in the future from being able to put children on seats too early in their child's development."

The new legislation will only apply to new car seats and as such parents currently using a booster seat which is outside the new criteria will still be able to use that seat.

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When I was a child most cars didn't even have rear seat belts let alone booster seats. We have difficulty enough fitting a booster in our little car, how we would fit a back one in I don't know - thankful for the last lines.
janette cornwall

Agree (1) | Disagree (4)
-3

Thank goodness. Makes my heart sink when I sell a booster seat. Most customers have done their research. Even though I explain it is always for a friend's child on a short journey. It doesn't matter if it's a short journey, it's a journey. My advice, buy the best seat you can afford. Scrimping on a £15 booster seat is not safe enough for your child or your friend's child, in my view.
Amanda, London

Agree (13) | Disagree (0)
+13

A worthy aspiration but thank goodness for the last sentence! Have these policy makers tried to fit 3 "decent high backed booster seats" across the back seat of the average family car? That is the dilemma many families face now and will face in the future. Not that much time to save up for a new car with more width across the back.
Pat, Wales

Agree (9) | Disagree (2)
+7

Pity once more the police who will have to enforce this! Older children who legally must use seats do not want to be seen in them so this may generate a market for booster cushions which if sold secondhand may not be fit for purpose.
Peter City of Westminster

Agree (9) | Disagree (6)
+3