The government announced that, from the 1st March 2017, there would be new rules that will affect backless booster seats.
The United Nations warned booster seats without backs are not safe for smaller children because they don’t protect against side-on collisions, since then we’ve been inundated with questions from confused parents over what is and isn’t allowed.
Existing seats not affected
First and foremost, the change doesn’t affect existing models of seats or cushions and doesn’t mean that they are unsafe or illegal, so you are fine continuing to use those. The rules only apply to new products being sold.
Currently children weighing more than 15kg can travel using the backless booster seats, and if you choose to continue letting them there will be no fines or legal action coming your way.
Simply put, manufacturer are not allowed to introduce new backless booster seats for children shorter than 125cm or weighing less than 22kg.
So don’t panic, you don’t need to buy a new booster seat and you will not be breaking any laws if you continue to use existing booster seats that comply with the existing regulations. It also doesn't mean that existing ones are all unsafe, but we do encourage parents to make sure they know the rules for using child car seats. Read our guide below for more information.
Children must use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall.
With this in mind, a child car seat can be based on their height or weight.
It is important to note that you should only move your child up to the next group of seat when they have exceeded the maximum weight, or the top of their head is higher than the top of the seat.
Height-based seats, more commonly known as ‘i-Size’ seats, must be rear-facing until your child is over 15 months old. From then they can use a forward-facing seat.
It’s imperative that you check the seat to make sure it’s suitable for the height of your child prior to securing them in.
Only EU-approved height-based child car seats can be used in the UK. These have a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle and ‘R129’.
The seat your child can use (and the way they must be secured) can also depend on their weight.
There will also be more than one type of seat for you to choose which is specific to your child’s weight.
|0kg to 9kg||0||Lateral baby carrier, rear-facing baby carrier, or rear-facing baby seat using a harness|
|0kg to 13kg||0+||Rear-facing baby carrier or rear-facing baby seat Ising a harness|
|9kg to 18kg||1||Rear-facing or forward-facing baby seat using a harness or safety shield|
|15kg to 36kg||2-3||Rear-facing or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield|
Booster seat ban
The government announced that, from 1 March 2017, there will be a ban on young children using backless booster seats in cars.
The change doesn’t affect existing models and doesn’t mean that they are unsafe or illegal, the rules only apply to new products being sold.
The labelling on new backless booster seats will make it clear that they are only approved for use for children weighing more than 22kg.
Experts insist that children weighing 9-18kg sit in high-backed seats as these protect the head and shoulders in a crash and keep the child in the correct position.