The new law for child car booster seats has come into force in the UK – and it is causing a lot of confusion.
Many parents have been left understandably flummoxed by the changes to the guidelines.
They were expected to be implemented on 1 March, but are in fact already in place.
The law means backless booster seats will no longer be approved for smaller or younger children.
Here is what parents need to know about child car seats:
It is already established that all children must use a car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first.
Children over 12 or more than 135cm tall must wear a seat belt.
Babies must use rear-facing height-based “i-Size” seats until they are more than 15 months old, when the child can then use a forward-facing car seat.
Here comes the change…
The new rules mean that manufacturers are not allowed to introduce new models of backless booster seats for children shorter than 125cm or weighing less than 22kg.
Beforehand, manufacturers could introduce new models for children as young as 3 or 15kg in weight.
However, the change doesn’t affect existing models of booster seats or cushions and does not mean they are unsafe or illegal.
Parents are encouraged to make sure they know the rules for using car seats.
The Department of Transport has been notified by the United Nations that the new rules for manufacturers of backless booster seats applied from February 9.
The change has come because safety experts say backless booster seats are unsuitable for smaller children.
It has been claimed the booster seat offers no protection to the child if the car they are travelling in is involved in a side-impact crash.
There are also concerns the adult seat belt isn’t guided across their small body in the safest manner.
It is recommended that parents buy their children a high backed booster seat until they reach 125cm or 22kg.
Parents can be penalised with a fine of up to £500 for not adhering to the new law.
In a survey at the end of last year by Confused.com, it emerged that two thirds of parents didn’t understand the incoming car booster seat laws.
The new rules are being introduced across Europe.
Tanya Robinson, Child Safety Centre Manager at the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), said: “There is a large amount of uncertainty among parents and carers about the latest changes to child restraint regulations.
“Whilst this latest change will affect the types of child restraint available in future, there is not going to be a ban on ‘boosters’.
“What it means is that new booster cushions approved and coming to market after the upcoming change to Regulation 44 will only be suitable for children over 22kg and 125cm height.
“However, TRL recommend, where possible, to use a high back booster seat.
“Parents faced with the growing range and style of seats should remember there is no race to move a child into the next type of seat because they get older.
“Ensure that the car seat you choose is appropriate for your child’s weight, height and age and that it fits well in your vehicle.”