Just when you thought you had the whole rear facing, forward facing, new-born, toddler car seat minefield sussed, a new law is due to come into force this month that will set you back to square one!
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Fear not Up All Hours has spoken to leading booster seat manufacturer Diono to work out what the new law means for you and your kids.
On the 1st of March there will be a change in the law for car seats meaning that a backless booster seat will no longer be legal for young children, only for those over 125cm tall and weighing more than 22kg.
Previously the advice was that children could switch to a backless booster seat at 15kgs so what is the reason for this seemingly minor change?
Well, it is because previously parents were transitioning too early from harness seats, straight to the backless booster seat. The reason that the previous 15kg limit was set was to accommodate older, tall, skinny children but parents instead thought, that when their little one reached 15kg they needed to transition straight to a backless booster seat no matter what their age or size, resulting in children as young as 2.5 years old traveling in backless booster seats.
Current backless booster seats are still legal to use and some products approved from 15kg will still be on sale but it is recommended to use a high back booster for as long as possible.
The importance of proper protection is supported by Child Seat Safety Ltd who are Road Safety Great Britain’s national advisor for child car seats, their director, Julie Dagnall, says:
“We have been working with the police across the UK for many years now and we always advise parents to make sure their precious cargo is in a high backed booster seat until they are at least 135cm tall. It is ideal that the seat is not just comfortable, but that it also grows with the child and more importantly protects them at that vital moment. A high back booster does this much better than a backless one. The new regulations are going to really help save lives and that can only be a good thing for our children.”
Choosing a booster seat that offers side impact protection in addition to the legally required back support can only be of added benefit. Although the European Safety Regulations don’t require this, many manufacturers, Diono included, believe side impact protection significantly improves the safety of children when travelling in the car giving parents added peace of mind.
So to conclude Diono has three top car seat recommendations for parents to help you make sure you are fitting the correct car seat for your child:
- Keep your child in a rear facing seat as long as possible because it protects the neck, especially below 2 years but ideally until children are 4.
- Once forward facing staying in a 5 point harness as long as possible will keep children in the safest position and hold them into the seat more effectively than a seatbelt.
- When transitioning to a booster seat, a high back one that has deep strong sides will offer the most amount of protection until children reach 12 or 135cm and no longer need a car seat.
Here is a useful chart from Gov.uk to help you select the right seat for your child.
Sadly there is no helpful chart on how to make that child behave in chosen seat on long car journeys but hey, we are working on it!