Child car seat changes for 2017 – the new rules explained
New child car seat laws come into force on March 1
Many parents in the UK have been left totally confused about whether they are still allowed to use their current child car seat or not, following recent changes concerning car seats and the new upcoming changes to the law which will come into effect on March 1.
Child car seat laws were changed in 2016, making it compulsory for children up to 12 years old, or 135cm (4’5″) in height, depending on which comes first, to use a car booster seat.
Under the new law, new models of booster cushions, also called backless booster seats, have been banned from being developed or sold.
As of March 1 this year, a European ban will be in place which will put a stop to the sale of new models of backless booster cushions/car seats for children under 125cm tall, or 22kg.
The ban has been introduced because booster cushions, or backless car booster seats as they are also known, do not offer the child enough protection in the event of an accident.
Currently, children between 126cm and 135cm tall are allowed to use a backless car booster cushion, however this kind of child seat will eventually cease to exist, so will only remain on sale for a short while once the new law comes into force in March.
If you own a booster seat at the moment, you don’t have to go rushing out to buy a new one and can continue to use it. No fines or penalty charges will be handed out, as the law only applies to new seats that are on sale.
Safety experts, however, are recommending that parents consider changing to a high-back booster seat for children up to 150cm, as they offer much more protection for the child.
To make parents aware that a new booster seat is approved, all new EU child safety seats will have a label on them marked with an ‘E’ symbol.
Child car seats, based on weight, will have the ‘E’ symbol and another label saying ‘ECE R44.’
i-Size child seats, based on height, will also include a label marked with an ‘R129’ symbol.
If you’re travelling with children using public transport, such as a coach, bus, licensed taxi or minibus, then a child seat or booster cushion isn’t required but any children three years or older must sit in the back of the vehicle and wear a seatbelt.
In the case of an emergency, children three years old or over can travel with just a seat belt on but only if the journey is a short one and absolutely necessary.
Regarding public transport use in an emergency, children younger than three years old can travel in the backseat with no booster cushion, child seat or seat belt but only in a licensed minicab or taxi – this rule doesn’t apply to private cars.
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