New rules stopping younger children using backless booster seats are now in force.
But don’t worry, if you currently use a backless booster seat, you won’t face any action or fine, as the legislation only applies to the labelling of new seats on sale now.
However, parents are still being urged to invest in high backed booster seats in order to keep their kids safe on the roads.
A statement from the Department for Transport says: “The new rules mean that manufacturers aren’t allowed to introduce new models of backless booster seats for children shorter than 125cm or weighing less than 22kg.
“The change doesn’t affect existing models of seats or cushions and doesn’t mean that they are unsafe or illegal – though parents are still being encouraged to make sure they know the rules for using child car seats.
“The change to the technical standards means that the range of products available on the market are better suited for younger children.”
The new booster seat rules mean booster seats without a back will only be approved for use for children taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg. Under current UK law, children travelling in a car must use the correct car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall.
Why the change?
The new rules are being introduced because many experts think backless booster seats are unsuitable for young children.
They argue that small children aren’t held as securely in the seat, that the adult seat belt isn’t guided across their body in the best way, and that backless booster seats offer no protection for a child if a car is involved in a side-impact crash.
What are the differences between booster and backed seats?
Backless booster seats currently satisfy the legal car seats law requirement for children up to 135cm tall, and cost between £6-£30.
However, consumer magazine, Which?, doesn’t approve them.
Which? child car seat expert, Lisa Galliers said: “A decent high-backed booster seat provides better protection in a front crash, as they’re designed to guide the adult seat-belt across the child’s body properly, and our crash tests prove they offer much more protection in a side-impact crash that a backless booster seat alone.”
Do I need to buy a new seat?
Which? report that the new additions to the child car seats regulations will only apply to any new products appearing on the market.
Therefore, parents who have a booster seat now will still be able to use the seat without breaking any rules.
However, parents buying a booster seat next year should start to see that they’re not approved for use with children under 125cm and 22kg.