Child Safety in cars and the proposed changes

At present the law provides the following rules for children travelling in cars:

  • Babies under 15 months old must be seated in a backwards facing car seat
  • After 15 months old a child may then be seated in a forward facing car seat
  • All children must be seated in a car seat or booster seat until they either reach 12 years old or they are 135cm in height, whichever comes first.

There have been arguments that the current rules are not safe, as children as young as 3 years old could be seated on a booster seat with no back support. The booster seat brings a child to the correct height for the seatbelt however; it does not offer any further protection or support.

A high back car seat provides protection from sideways impacts. If a child is only seated on a booster seat, any side impact will fling them sideways causing a greater injury.

Studies show that despite the danger of booster seats with younger children, a third of parents do not actually use high back car seats.

The proposed changes for December 2016 are:

  • Backless booster seats will only be approved for children taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg.

If the new rules are approved and go ahead, the rules will only apply to newly sold products. Therefore any seats that you may currently be using can be continued to be used and will not be classed as breaking the law. What’s really good about these high back car seats is that they grow with your child, as they get older and bugger the headrest can be raised to protect them further.

Further to this, Argos has recently urged parents to stop using five of its exclusive Mama’s and Papa’s car seats immediately as there is a potential safety concern that some of the models may fail to offer any protection for children in a collision.

In a statement Argos have stated ‘In the event of an accident the car seat shell may crack and therefore not provide the intended level of protection to the user.’

Moreover, it is vital that car safety is taken seriously and that you make sure that your child is seated in the correct car seat for their age and their height.

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