Parenting
All About the New Car Seat Laws

We’re constantly on the lookout for potential dangers falling across the paths of our kids. I don’t know about you but I’m always on the alert – whether that’s crossing roads, playing in parks or especially when it comes to car journeys.

No matter how cautious a driver you are it’s an unfortunate fact that accidents do happen, which is why the laws surrounding children being seated safely in cars have changed.It’s likely that you’ve seen news coverage over recent weeks but perhaps you’ve not had time to examine the ins and outs and update your existing equipment. The new laws might mean you have to invest in some new gear for your little one, but if you think of the alternative, it’s a no-brainer.

It’s likely that you’ve seen news coverage over recent weeks but perhaps you’ve not had time to examine the ins and outs and update your existing equipment. The new laws might mean you have to invest in some new gear for your little one, but if you think of the alternative, it’s a no-brainer.

A few years ago the thinking was that using a booster seat for kids in cars was better than using nothing at all and taking the chance that adult-sized belts would do the job. Legislation came into play which required all little ones under 3 years to have a belt specifically for their age and size, and subsequently children measuring up to 135cm had to be seated in a booster. So what’s new? Read on to see how the new laws affect you and what action you need to take.

Legislation came into play which required all little ones under 3 years to have a belt specifically for their age and size, and subsequently children measuring up to 135cm had to be seated in a booster. So what’s new? Read on to see how the new laws affect you and what action you need to take.

Boosters for Bigger Kids

The main change to the law is that booster seats without backs are out and full-height seats are in. When once a child over 3 years and 15kg would be deemed safe in a backless seat, it’s now the case that your booster must have a back until your children are over 125cm tall and 22kg in weight. After that, a backless car seat can be used until they reach 135cm or 12 years old, whichever comes first, and then it’s recommended that use continues until they’re 150cm to be extra safe.

Why the change? Well, experts agree that a child isn’t properly protected in a backless seat. If a crash occurs, it could be the case that their head is free to move around dangerously and the adult seat belt doesn’t restrain the correct points on their body. There has a been some protest on account of the cost of full-height seats, but retailers point out that seats are available that can see your child through several years of travel so don’t need to be replaced too often.

Any Exceptions?

There are some exceptions to the law but these are for unavoidable circumstances only and let’s be honest, you’re unlikely to readily take the risk. Not only is your child’s safety compromised if you do, but you’ll also be slapped with a £500 fine if caught.

If your son or daughter has a medical condition which could make it impossible for them to sit safely in a full-height seat, doctors can write an exemption note. If you’re taking a taxi ride and there’s no equipment, then children over 3 must sit in the back with a seat belt and without a belt if they’re under 3.If there’s no room in the car in the back for a specialised seat, then children over 3 can sit in the rear with an adult seat belt whilst under 3s can sit in the front with the correct car seat. Remember, if your vehicle doesn’t have seat belts then under 3s can’t travel at all!

If there’s no room in the car in the back for a specialised seat, then children over 3 can sit in the rear with an adult seat belt whilst under 3s can sit in the front with the correct car seat. Remember, if your vehicle doesn’t have seat belts then under 3s can’t travel at all!

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