With news of “new” or updated car seat legislation changes some parents are confused regarding what their children should be using when it comes to car seats. Before writing this post we did some good old-fashioned internet research and my word, there are some mix-messages out there claiming to be the authority on the current legislation.
To ensure that we are offering the correct and up to date information we’ve gone straight to the source (the Government). Hopefully this will clear up what you may, may not and must do with regards to travelling with your little ones.
Using Booster Seats and Car Seats
The current legislation, updated on the Gov.uk website on the 15th April 2015 states that children should use a car seat or booster seat until they are twelve years old or at least 135cm tall, whichever milestone is achieved first.
In order to ensure the safety of your children an EU-approved child car seats may be used. To check whether the seat that you have meets this standard by looking for a label which shows an E within a circle.
When it comes to choosing the appropriate seat for your child there are two main types, height and weight based car seats.
Weight Based Car Seat Rules
Until your child weighs over 9kg their car seat must be rear facing. After this weight milestone the following applies:
- Children weighing 9kg-18kg must use a suitable rear or forward facing baby seat.
- Children weighing 15kg – 25kg must use a rear or forward facing booster seat / child seat.
- Children over 22kg must use a suitable booster cushion.
Height Based Car Seats
All height based car seats are referred to as “I-Size seats”. If your child is under 1 5 months old they must be in a rear-facing seat, moving to forward facing after 15 months. It is the parent’s responsibility to ensure that the seat that they are using is appropriate for the height and of course the weight of their child.
When Fitting Your Car Seat:
- Ensure that your car seat is an EU one (see above)
- Do not fit a car seat in a side-facing seat
- Switch off / deactivate front airbags if you have a rear facing car seat in the front seat.
- Use a car seat that is designed to be used with a diagonal “adult” car seatbelt if you car has this. Only use a car seat with a lap belt if it has been specifically designed to be used with one.
Exceptions to The Above
There are some exceptions to the above, for example when traveling in a taxi. A full breakdown of exceptions may be found on the Gov.uk page here. The legislation does state that if your child has a disability they are still expected to adhere to the UK child car seat rules unless they have an exception on medical grounds provided by a doctor. In these cases an alternative / specialised child restraint may be used that is specific to a child’s individual needs.
When it comes to fastening in your car seat for the first time and getting to know your car seat ensure that you read all of the instructions first. Businesses such as Halfords will fit your car seat for you and show you how to use it effectively and safely and should have all the latest information on car seat legislation.