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.
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.
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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