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Car booster seat law change delayed until 2017 – all you need to know
The alterations had been expected to come into law at the end of this year
- 08:49, 3 DEC 2016
- Updated 16:21, 3 DEC 2016
Earlier this year, it was revealed new laws banning car booster seats without a back were set to be introduced.
But the changes to the rules have now been delayed until next year, it has been confirmed.
The alterations had been expected to come into law in December 2016 – but now the changes are set to be introduced in March next year, giving parents more time to make sure their child’s seats meet regulations.
At the moment, children weighing as little as 15kg (roughly three years old) are allowed to use a backless booster seat when travelling.
But experts are claiming these seats are dangerous for youngsters, and as a result, new guidelines will be introduced.
What is the new law?
UK law states that children must use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm (4ft 5in) tall, whichever comes first.
But safety experts recommend you use a child car seat for all children under 150cm (4ft 11in).
For children weighing more than 36kg (5st 10lb) but under 150cm (4ft 11in) it is advised to go by height.
Remember it is the driver’s responsibility for children being in car seats while travelling.
When does the law change?
The new regulations should come into effect in March 2017 but will only apply to any new products on the market.
Which? says: “So parents looking to buy a booster seat next year should start to see that they’re not approved for use with children under 125cm and 22kg.
“Parents who have a booster seat now will still be able to use the seat without breaking any rules.”
What do the experts say?
Booster seats are not recommended by experts including Which? or W H Watts Son because they don’t offer protection in crashes.
Gary Watts, who owns family-run business W H Watt So, feels so strongly about backless booster seats he doesn’t even stock them in his shop.
“I’ve not sold booster seats for ten years,” he said.
“All decent manufacturers don’t use booster seats. All a booster seat does is put the lap belt in the correct place, it offers no protection. It’s pretty much the same as putting a cushion in the car.
“We stopped selling booster seats prior to the 2006 legislation change.
“A lot of children were not in any kind of seat so at the time it was better for them to have a booster seat but it’s something we would never advise anyone to buy.
“High-backed seats protect the head in a crash; on a booster seat the child’s head won’t stop until it hits the side of the car.
“They’re miles safer. The shoulder protection keeps them in the right position.”
He advises that children progress from a 9-18kg group one seat with a harness into a high-backed booster seat until they are 150cm, which is equivalent to about age 11-12.
Can I still use my booster seat?
Under the new rules, backless booster seats will only be approved for use for children taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg.
What happens if I flout the new rules?
If you ignore the law you are liable to a find of 500 if you go to court.
How do I choose a car seat? 7 top tips
Watts’ top tips on what to look for when choosing a car seat for your child:
2. Head protection;
3. Shoulder protection;
4. Red guides to feed seat belt through;
5. Isofix fitting (this stops the seat “swaying”, fixing the seat to the vehicle);
6. Don’t be distracted by character design/colour;
7. Avoid buying online, visit a retailer where expert advice can be given.
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