Booster Seat Laws Change in the UK

Britax Booster Seat Test

Britax Booster Seat (left) Crash Test

This is a public service announcement. Please share with parents.

In December 2016, the rules on booster car seats will be changing in order to improve child safety.

Currently, backless booster seats (or ‘booster cushions’) can be used for children of any age or size, and they comply with the UK legal requirement that all children under 12 years old or 135cm tall must use the correct car seat when travelling in a motor vehicle. However, this is soon set to change.

From December of this year, backless boosters will only be approved for children who weigh more than 22 kilograms and who are taller than 125cm. The main driver for this amendment to the law is to improve the safety of younger children. As well as not holding your child very securely in the seat, the backless booster also fails to guide the seatbelt properly across the child’s body. Moreover, crash tests have shown that this type of car seat offers little to no protection for your child if you are involved in a side-impact collision. Britax are running a “Bin the Booster” campaign.

In contrast to this, a decent high-backed booster seat guides the seat belt more effectively across a child’s body and offers a much higher level of protection – both in front-end collisions and in side-impact crashes.

Maria Calvy from Archers Law in Chelmsford explained: “While this new legislation is being described as a ban on backless booster seats, there is no need for parents to panic. The law will only apply to new seats coming on to the market, and from December all new seats will feature updated size guidelines.”

If you already have a backless booster seat you will be able to carry on using it without breaking the law. However, given the evidence against this type of seat, now might be a good time to consider investing in one of the safer high-backed booster chairs. They may be more expensive, but the added protection they offer makes them a worthwhile investment.

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