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.