New UK baby car seat laws 2017 0

New-UK-baby-car-seat-laws-2017The new laws regarding child seats are now in force, but do you know what they entail and if you’ll be affected?

The new legislation concerns both families and manufacturers, who are no longer permitted to sell new models of backless booster seats for cars for children shorter than 125cm or who weigh less than 22kg.

Up until now, children weighing as little as 15kg could use backless booster seats, but safety experts have stated this is unsuitable.

The new rules also state that children will be required to use car seats until they are either 12 years old or 135cm (4ft5in) tall, whichever comes first.

Children can sit in forward-facing seats once they’ve reached the age of 15 months and only EU approved seats can be used in the UK. This is marked by a capital ‘E’ in a circle.

Kids who are in seats must have one with a diagonal seat belt, unless the seat is designed for lap belts or uses ISOFIX anchor points.

Children over the age of 12 or taller than 135cm must wear a seat belt.

If your child is under 12 or smaller than 135cm and requires a child seat, these can be selected based on height or weight.

Babies should be in baby carriers, as opposed to child seats, until they weigh at least 9kg.

And children must travel in rear facing car seats until they are at least 15 months old, and then they can face either the front or the back of the car.

If your child has any disabilities, they may need a specially designed seat.

For more information on the new car seat laws, see the government’s website.

Many experts say booster seats are unsuitable for young kids – as they are not as secure.

The adult seatbelt is not guided across the child’s body in the same way with booster seats, and they offer little protection if a car is involved in a side-on crash.

All parents who currently have existing car seats for their kids will not be fined, and if you currently have a backless booster seat you won’t face action.

The new laws for backless booster seats only apply to manufacturers and the labelling of new seats on sale.

However, you will face a £500 fine if you are found travelling with your child in the incorrect seat requirements for their age, height and weight.

 

Tips on fitting child car seats

  • Make sure the seat itself is fitted as securely as possible, with no excessive movement.
  • You must only use a child car seat if your car’s seat belt has a diagonal strap, unless the seat is either specifically designed for use with a lap seat belt or is fitted using ISOFIX anchor points
  • You must also deactivate any front airbags before fitting a rear-facing baby seat in a front seat and not fit a child car seat in side-facing seats.
  • And make sure the seat’s buckle is clear of its frame – because otherwise it could snap open if you have an accident.
  • With babies, harnesses should be pulled tight, with no more than two fingers’ space under the shoulder straps at the collar bone.
  • The harness buckle should be as low as possible, to keep the lap section of the harness across your child’s pelvis, and not resting on his or her stomach.
  • Check the harness and chest pads are adjusted according to the instructions.
  • You must deactivate any front-facing airbags before fitting a rear-facing baby seat.
  • You must not use side-facing seats.
  • The seat must either have its own diagonal strap, be designed for use with a lap seat belt, or be fitted with ISOFIX anchor points.
  • ISOFIX anchors the child’s chair to the car’s back seat. There are three ISOFIX points – two metal bars at the base, and a top tether or support leg.
  • Make sure the seat itself is fitted as securely as possible, with no excessive movement.
  • Make sure the seat’s buckle is clear of its frame – because otherwise it could snap open if you have an accident.
  • With babies, harnesses should be pulled tight, with no more than two fingers’ space under the shoulder straps at the collarbone.

When can my kids legally travel without a car seat?

In a taxi, minicab or van – but they can only travel in the back of the car, and should not wear an adult seat belt if they’re less than three years old.

In a minibus or coach – again, young kids shouldn’t travel in the front seat. It’s fine for kids of any age to travel without a seat belt in a coach, but in a minibus they should wear an adult belt even if under three years old.

On unexpected journeys – but only if the journey is necessary, for a short distance, and the child is over three years old.

If you have lots of kids – and there isn’t room for a third car seat. If this is the case, the third child can either travel in the front with a car seat, or in the back without one if over three years old.

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