Do you know the law when it comes to car seats?

car seat

As a parent, there is nothing more important to me than the safety of my child. I don’t wrap Leo up in cotton wool, far from it, he is allowed to explore the world around him as much as he wants under my watchful eye. However, when it comes to car safety there really is no room for compromise. Car accidents can happen at any time, you could be the best driver in the world but you can not, unfortunately, control how everyone else drives around you. If the worst was to happen, having the correct car seat for your child will make sure they are as protected from injury as possible. The laws surrounding car seats can be pretty confusing. To help you navigate your way around this essential yet sometimes mind boggling part of parenting, here are all the basics you need to know about car seats, including links to further reading if you need it.

Car seats – UK laws 2016.

car seat

Forward facing at 12 months, a thing of the past..

The law as it currently stands is all children need to use a car seat of some kind until they are 12 years old or their height reaches 135cm.

As of April 2015, a new European wide standard for car seats, i-Size , is running along side current UK legislations. The new standard will not completely replace the old until sometime in 2018, when only i-size car seats will be available to buy.  However some changes to UK law have already been made.

The new i-Size standard means babies must remain in a rear facing car seat until they are 15 months old. No longer can a child be moved to a front facing seat when they outgrow their group 0/0+ car seat, this can sometimes be as young as 9months or approximately when the child weighs 10kg.

New legislation will mean that deciding when your child should move on to the next group of car seat will be easier. The groups will now be based on a child’s height rather than just their weight.

i -Size seats are seen as a much safer option for your child as they require your child to be rear facing for longer. Car seats facing the back of the car are  more effective when it comes to protecting your child’s head, neck, spine and other organs if you get into trouble on the road. The i- Size seats will all have to be fitted in the car using an ISOFIX base, this is again thought to be much safer as they are less likely to be incorrectly installed than a car seat fitted with a seat belt.

 Changes to backless booster seat regulations.

car seat

Currently, your child can move up to a backless booster seat when they weigh over 15kg. This means children as young as 3 are  allowed to sit in a seat that is not offering them the best possible protection. New regulations, coming in to place in December 2016, will mean backless booster seats will not be available to buy for children under 125cm or 22kg.

Don’t panic if you are already using a backless booster seat, you will not be breaking the law but just be aware these seats don’t offer the best possible protection for your child.

The alternative and safer option to these seats would be to have your child sitting in a high back booster seat, group 2/3, from around age 4 until they reach the 125cm requirement for a backless seat. High backed boosters are considered a safe option by experts as tests show they offer much more protection in front and side collisions.

I hope this quick guide has helped you make sense of the confusing world of children’s car seats.
Here is are 3 keys points to remember –

* Rear facing until 15 months
* High backed boosters until child is at least 125cm (as of December 2016)
* All children must sit in  a car seat until 12 year old or 135cm in height

So if you are pregnant and busy buying all your baby essentials, make sure you are buying the safest possible car seat for your child too. Also, for those of you with small children already, you can find some great high backed booster seats here for when it is time for your toddler to move up to the next group.

If you would like further information on car seat laws and guidelines, here are some very useful websites for you to check out –
Rear facing – The way forward
Kiddicare – Changes to car seat laws
Car seat group charts
Everything you need to know about i-Size

Do you find car seat laws and guidelines confusing? What seat do you use for your little one? Are you an advocate for prolonged rear facing? I would love to hear your thoughts on this important issue.

This post is written in collaboration with Online4Baby.

 

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24 Comments

  1. Mouse, Moo and Me Too
    August 13, 2016 / 11:11 am

    Brilliant, brilliant, I need to get clued up on this again. Thanks for posting it for #fortheloveofBLOG.

  2. August 13, 2016 / 7:57 pm

    Thanks for this! Really informative!!

  3. August 14, 2016 / 8:56 pm

    Great information thanks. I don’t think my car has isofix points in it, my husband’s does and we use it mostly. #kcacols

  4. August 14, 2016 / 9:03 pm

    Thanks for a really clear post on car seats. What happens after 2018 when you need to buy a car seat thats only isize and isofix and your car doesn’t support this? We have just had to buy a new car seat for my 6 month old but my car doesn’t support isofix but my husbands does. We can’t afford another one at the moment so had to go for one that uses seat belts and move the seat between both the cars. xx

    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday
    Rachel Bustin recently posted…My Sunday Photo 14/08/2016 – Down by Malpas RiverMy Profile

  5. August 14, 2016 / 9:07 pm

    I remember when I was a child and a lot of cars didn’t have seat belts in the back of the cars ha, thankfully they are safer these days 😉 Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix

    Stevie x
    A Cornish Mum recently posted…Meet the Parents – Type 1 Diabetes #1My Profile

  6. August 14, 2016 / 9:36 pm

    We were literally having this conversation and had to look up the current guidelines for our 5 year old this morning! We were trying to squeeze them all into the back seats and his high back booster just takes so much rooms it’s 3 of them! The guidance was inconsistent and we had to reference a few websites before coming to the same conclusions as you have. Great informative post will help others find info quicker-thanks for sharing xx #KCACOLS
    Sonia recently posted…Our Family Holiday in Alcudia, MallorcaMy Profile

  7. Claire
    August 15, 2016 / 7:46 am

    Really useful post! Thank you! #kcacols

  8. August 15, 2016 / 10:19 am

    I LOVE THIS!!! I love when laws start catching up with science and protecting the littles. Here in America, car seat laws are also changing. There have been 4 states now that have changed the law to mandatory rear facing until age 2 or 40 lbs. I love it so much! Thanks for sharing <3 #KCACOLS
    Savannah recently posted…DIY All Natural PedialyteMy Profile

  9. ERFmama
    August 15, 2016 / 3:14 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to help parents with the car seat laws. 🙂 It’s so so important to know what is the safest way to travel for children as well as what you legally must abide by. I have however found a couple of inaccuracies in your post which I hope you can amend. 🙂

    I also wanted to inform you that on October 6th 2016 there will be a seminar open for the general public (as I understand it) you can find the info here: http://www.nursery-today.co.uk/news/car_seat_confusion.aspx?dm_i=IB1%2C4F2SU%2CK8SVHH%2CG9HUJ%2C1
    I very much hope as many as possible will attend because it’s going to be great! 😀
    “The Association will be holding a free seminar in central London on Thursday 6th October 2016 to explain the regulatory frame work for child restraints in depth and urges anyone in the industry with an interest in the subject to attend.”

    Now for your own article and a couple of inaccuracies I have found: 🙂

    -The amendment of the low back booster, the suggestion is December 2016 but it’s not been finalised (sadly) – I know this is something that will be talked about on October 6th though. But I just wanted to point out that it’s not finalized as of yet – though like you – I do hope it will be! The sooner the better!
    – iSize was introduced in 2013 so has been working along side R44.04 since then – but was not finished coming on “print” in UK law until 2015 – however it was still very much being sold and used as well as being legal since 2013.
    Also the 15 month rear facing minimum is only when IN an iSize car seat (sadly) – you can still legally forward face a 9kg baby if your car seat is forward facing R44.04 9-18kg. However as you have pointed out rear facing is very much safer and should be how children travel for as long as possible.

    – The infant group 0+ car seats are up to 13!kg – this is an average 2 year old child. MOST infant car seats will last on average 15 – 18 months. Very few today are so small that they only last up to 9 months. However 9 months has become somewhat of a milestone and very very many parents actually think that this is how long the infant car seats last because of marketing. The infant car seat is outgrown when the top of the head has reached the top of the seat shell, or the weight limit of the seat is reached. This is universal for all R44.04 infant car seats – iSize infant car seats will have a CM max hight as well as a kg weight limit.

    The Maxi Cosi Pebble as an example – will fit most childen up to the age of 2 years old. And it’s not the only infant car seat that last this long. 🙂
    – The safest way for children under 4 years old is to travel rear facing. Once the infant car seat is outgrown – the safest option for the child is to continue to travel rear facing using an “extended rear facing car seat” – also calledn ERF car seat. They cover up to 2 car seat groups making them rear face as long as 25kg. And no – they do not cost an arm and a leg – you can get an ERF car seat for as low as £65. (This is all thoroughly explained in the link to rearfacing.co.uk )

    This turned into a very very long reply – I hope you don’t mind!
    Again thank you so much for writing this blog post – it’s very helpful to so many. 🙂
    ERFmama recently posted…A Car Seat Harness Problem Solution with help from LulaClips!My Profile

  10. August 15, 2016 / 4:25 pm

    I’ve been thinking lately that I need to check this out more in the US. I feel like I get so confused about which one is the right one. I know it’s such an important thing so thanks for sharing with us all!#KCACOLS
    Sarah@teammomlife recently posted…#MySundayPhoto August 14thMy Profile

  11. August 16, 2016 / 9:33 am

    A brilliantly informative post! There is so much confusion out there about car seats, and it can be difficult to find the correct information. One thing to note is making sure your car seat actually fits your car – we only had 2 options of rear facing car seats for our car which was difficult! But rear-facing all the way, I wish they gave you information about this when you have the baby as not even car seat retailers know all the correct facts we’ve found #twinklytuesday

  12. Fiona Cambouropoulos
    August 16, 2016 / 9:52 am

    the law is much tighter now, I think all mine were out of all car seats by year 5 at school, they certainly wouldn’t be these days but its a good thing. #TwinklyTuesday
    Fiona Cambouropoulos recently posted…Discovering Ambre Solaire KidsMy Profile

  13. August 16, 2016 / 7:42 pm

    Fantastic informative post. It’s great that the laws are moving in the right direction to make our little ones safer too. Thanks for linking with #fartglitter x

  14. August 17, 2016 / 8:24 pm

    Such a useful post. It can all be so confusing. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x (oh there doesn’t seem to be a link on our linky badge?) x

  15. August 17, 2016 / 10:21 pm

    We were talking about this today. So it’s great to see a post on it. My daughter had a car seat for her birthday and we’ve been waiting months for her to get to the weight she needs to be to go into it. #FartGlitter
    Helena recently posted…An Amble Around AshburyMy Profile

  16. August 18, 2016 / 10:00 pm

    We dont have any carseat laws in my country so when I arrived here I am so lost about it. I researched a lot about it and its so nice that you have written this! After all the research I still learned so much =)

    #ablogginggoodtime
    Merlinda Little (Glimmer of Hope) recently posted…Dust Yourself Off And Try AgainMy Profile

  17. Rebecca Taylor
    August 19, 2016 / 12:22 pm

    A really informative post. Thank you. It can be so confusing. Our 23 month old is rear facing in a Nuna car seat. It rotates which makes it easy to put them into the car. It can also front face but we still rear face Ernie. #kcacols
    Rebecca Taylor recently posted…Heavenly Tasty Organics Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  18. August 20, 2016 / 3:39 pm

    It’s such a minefield isn’t it, and there’s so much conflicting advice. This is a fab post that really makes it clear and will be brilliant for anyone looking to buy a car seat now.
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
    Debbie
    Random Musings recently posted…Blogger Spotlight: Nia Patten LooksMy Profile

  19. Maria
    August 20, 2016 / 8:39 pm

    This is really interesting. I did know about the backless booster seat thing but I didn’t know that babies now have to stay rearward facing until 15 months. Previously this was always done by weight. My eldest was in a forward facing car seat at 9 months or so because he was a big baby and weight wise he could move up to tie next stage. Plus his car seat was just too heavy for me to carry him in! #KCACOLS

  20. August 21, 2016 / 3:34 pm

    I think the fact that certain laws are running alongside each other is what makes it so confusing! That and rumours, I hear all sorts in the playground too!

    #ABloggingGoodTime

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