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Latest child car seat laws explainedBack

Child car seat laws were updated in March 2017, but not all drivers are fully aware of the new laws.

Choosing the right car seat will give your child the best possible protection in the event of an accident. Drivers who are found with an unsuitable or incorrectly fitted car seat could face a £500 fine.

Trusted Dealers explains the new law in more detail below.

The new law

The new child car seat laws involve backless booster seats. Previously, children who weighed as little as 15kg were free to use a backless booster seat, but concerns over safety have resulted in a change to the law.

From March 1 2017, all new-to-market backless booster seats are only approved for children weighing more than 22kg or taller than 125cm.

The regulations only affect newly designed and manufactured booster seats sold after March 1. The older rules still apply for seats manufactured prior to this date.

Child seats must be fitted either using ISOFIX mountings or a diagonal seat belt strap.

Is it EU Approved?

Only seats approved by the EU are legal in the UK: these will have a label with a capital ‘E’ in a circle.

Choosing the right car seat

Parents can choose their child’s car seat based on two different factors – their child’s height and their weight. Height- based car seats are called i-Size seats.  Weight based child seats offer a range of options depending on the weight of the child, with different car seats catering to weights from 0kg right up to 36kg.

Rear facing car seats

Children must use a rear-facing seat until the they are 15 months old. Rear-facing child seats should never be mounted in passenger seat at the front of the car if there is an active airbag. The front passenger airbag should be deactivated at all times if a rear-facing car seat is present.

Once a child reaches the age of 15 month, their neck will be stronger and it will then be safe for them to sit in a front-facing car seat, although there are rear facing car seats suitable for children up to the age of 4 years should you choose to keep them facing this way.

Backless Booster seats

Children weighing more than 22kg and taller than 125cm can use a backless booster seat, but for smaller children a high back booster seat is recommended.

Why did the law change?

Backless booster seats are not secure and can therefore be unsafe for smaller children. In the event of a side-on crash, a standard seat belt offers little protection for a child as it’s not guided across the body in the same way as a booster seat.

Posted by Leana Kell on 24/08/2018