With car seat laws constantly changing, it’s important to keep on top of all the new rules and regulations being put in place to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to keep your child safe. Details on age limits, the type of car seat, and the safety of your child seat are all important factors that will determine what type of seat you need to buy.
Baby Car Seats
Car seats will differ in the way that they are fit within your vehicle dependent on the size and age of your child. Any child from birth to 13kg should be safely secured in an infant’s child seat, which should always be rear facing and placed in the back seats where possible. If this is not achievable, then young children can be placed in the front if the airbag is fully disabled. If activated, airbags can cause serious injury in the event of a crash.
Toddler’s Car Seats
The next classification of seat is for infants that weigh between 9-18kg, and can be in the form of a rear facing or forward facing car seat. Though there is an overlap of 4kg between the first and second weight divisions, it is advised that you allow your child to reach the higher end of their classification before purchasing a new seat.
Children’s Car Seats
The final division is for children that weigh between 15kg and 22kg. According to government recommendations, any child weighing over 22kg qualifies for a booster seat. However, many manufacturers recommend that your child can remain in high-back style seats up until when they weigh approximately 36kg. These child seats are more frequently forward facing. At the discretion of the parent, booster cushions can be used from 22kg upwards.
i-Size Car Seats
Height-based child seats were passed into law in the UK on the 1st April 2015. Known as i-Size seats, they are based on the height and age of your child rather than weight. i-Size regulations will be coming into force gradually, and dictate that your child must be in a rear facing i-Size car seat up until 15 months old. This is recommended as safer for the child. Once your child is over 15 months old, forward facing i-Size seats can be used. These regulations only apply to i-Size seats using ISOFIX technology, and not standard belted designs.
- Never buy second hand. Your seat may have been involved in an accident, which could potentially make them dangerous to use.
- Always make a purchase based on how you are going to use your seat. Heavier options are better if you will leave it permanently installed, where lighter child seats are better for moving around.
- Your children’s car seat must be EU approved, which is signified by a circled capital letter ‘E’.
- A child must remain in a seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall – whichever comes first.
Knowing all the legal regulations is crucial for keeping your child safe while travelling in the car. You can stay updated with any changes by checking https://www.gov.uk/child-car-seats-the-rules for all the latest car seat laws and regulations.
Author: Joseph Lazare