New child car seat laws introduced in the UK are confusing parents
New child seat laws introduced on March 1st 2017 saw backless booster seats banned in the UK.
Under the new driving law, children are required to use a car seat based on their height, age and weight, until they are 12-years-old or over 135cm tall.
Only children who weigh 22kg or more, or are 4ft 10in (125cm) tall, will be recommended to use backless booster seats.
Previously the law had allowed children who weighed 15kg – but this is no longer deemed suitable.
Worryingly, over half (56 per cent) were unaware of the new booster seat regulations that came into force and of those who were aware 87 per cent did not understand the changes.
The law does not apply to parents who have existing booster seats and cushions. It will only apply to new drivers.
However, this provision is purportedly causing confusion amongst car owners.
A Freedom of Information data requested by motoring experts Confused.com has revealed some 4,646 incidents of UK drivers not adhering to child seatbelt laws in 2015, with a total of 19,358 offences recorded between 2013 and 2015.
A third of parents have also revealed that they sometimes don’t use a booster seat for they child with excuses being that they didn’t transfer the seat from another car(33 per cent), believing their child didn’t need one (26 per cent) and they were only travelling a short distance(25 per cent).
The Government needs to simplify the messaging around backless car seat use
Almost a third of parents also cynically believe that the move away from backless booster seats is due to profit driven car seat manufacturers.
Confused.com’s motoring editor Amanda Stretton says: “If the old regulations weren’t hard enough to understand, the new changes may make it even trickier for parents to keep their children safe.
“The fact that car seats bought before the law changed are still acceptable to use sends mixed messages. The Government needs to simplify the messaging around backless car seat use so there is no misunderstanding over what is and is not safe.
“Parents must also be aware of the potential cost consequences of having an accident with their child in the car.
“Nearly half (44%) do not replace their child’s car seat after a crash. However, parents should always replace booster seats after an accident, even if there is no obvious damage, as they may become weakened and unable to provide the same level of protection should a second collision occur.
“Regulatory approved car seats can cost in the region of £80 to £350.
“If parents are caught travelling with their child in the car without the correct booster for their age, height and weight, they could face a £100 fine.
“For more information on the new booster requirements and how to comply with the law, visit Confused.com.”
Tanya Robinson, Child Safety Centre Manager at TRL, added: “There is a large amount of uncertainty among parents and carers about the latest changes to child restraint regulations.
The new rules have banned backless booster seat for children under 12 of 135cm
“Whilst this latest change affects the types of child restraint available in future, there is not going to be a ban on “boosters”.
“What it means is that new booster cushions approved and coming to market after the change to Regulation 44 will only be suitable for children over 22kg and 125cm height. However, TRL recommend, where possible, to use a high back booster seat.
“Regardless of the detail of the regulations, it is vital that parents ensure that their child is in the correct type of seat for their height and weight, as this will allow for maximum protection in the event of an accident.
“Parents faced with the growing range and style of seats should remember there is no race to move a child into the next type of seat because they get older.
“Ensure that the car seat you choose is appropriate for your child’s weight, height and age and that it fits well in your vehicle.
“The best advice for parents is to always check the markings on the child seat to help identify if the child seat is appropriate for your child.
“Parents should also remember that not all car seats are designed to be the same. The instructions that apply to one car seat may not apply to other seats. Always read the manual for your car seat.”
This comes afer a warning was issued to parents after it was revealed that a large percentage of drivers were fitting their child car seats inccorectly.