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New Child Car Seat Rules

On 1st March 2017, new child car seat laws came into effect. Sometimes it can get confusing with knowing what’s what. A recent survey revealed that 66% of parents with children under the age of 12 aren’t clued up on the present child car seat laws, so here’s what you need to know.

Backless Booster Car Seats

The change in legislation affects backless booster car seats, and means that booster cushions will no longer be made for children who weigh less than 22kg (3.65 stone) and are shorter than 125cm tall (4ft 1).
 
Manufacturers instead will have to make backless booster seats that are for children over 125cm and more than 22kg. The reason why this change has been implemented is because these type of booster seats aren’t protective enough in the event of car crash.

What Are The Child Car Seat Rules?

Child car seats are height-based (i-Size seats) and weight-based. Weight-based seats are dependent on a child’s weight. Types of weight-based seats you can choose are:
 
Child’s weight Group Seats
0kg to 10kg     0 Lie-flat or ‘lateral’ baby carrier, rear-facing baby carrier, or rear-facing baby seat using a harness
0kg to 13kg 0+ Rear-facing baby carrier or rear-facing baby seat using a harness
9kg to 18kg 1 Rear- or forward-facing baby seat using a harness or safety shield
15kg to 25kg 2 Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield
22kg to 36kg 3 Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield
 
Source: gov.uk

12 years old and under

A child who is aged 12 and under and is shorter than 135cm is required to travel in a car seat. If a driver is found to be transporting a child who is aged 12 or under and who is under 135cm with no car seat, a hefty fine will be issued. Even if a child is over 12 but under 135cm they must use a car seat. Drivers should also ensure that child car seats abide by EU regulations (ECE Regulation 44.04 or R 44.03) and are fitted correctly.

Babies under 15 months

For babies who weigh less than 9kg, they must be in a carrier and not a car seat. Height-based seats for babies under 15 months must be rear-facing until a child is over the age of 15 months, and can be forward-facing from then on. A baby’s head should never be higher than the top of the seat, and when this happens a bigger car seat is required.

Child car seat safety

As mentioned previously, child car seats must meet EU regulations. You can see if your car seat has been EU approved as it has a bright orange label with an ‘E’ on it; it will also display the code ‘R129’.
 
You can be at risk of receiving a fine if your car seat is not EU approved. If your child is over the age of 12 and taller than 135cm they must wear a seatbelt. There were 4,646 child seat belt offences in 2015, with 19,358 seatbelt breaches between 2013 and 2015.
 
If you’re looking for a used or new family car in the motor trade, make sure you are able to properly fit an EU approved child car seat and that you have the correct motor insurance. 

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