Before you get your child comfy in his booster seat, you might want to check the new car travel laws for mini passengers…
Car seats are cumbersome – requiring a degree in rocket science to install; they’re also pretty pricey, and a downright pain to keep clean. So when kiddies reach that golden age of three years (or weigh 15kg), space-saving, economical backless booster seats become parents’ new BFF: foldable – some even inflatable – and ideal for taking on holiday.
For all their glorious advantages however, backless booster seats are just not as safe as models that have a back.
And now new legislation is going to restrict their use.
Following implementation of the stricter laws later this year, no one measuring under 125cm or 22kg will be allowed to travel sitting in one – and with sound reason; 25% of accidents involve cars being hit from the side, and studies have shown that backless seats offer little protection if such an accident occurs.
Which? child car seat expert, Lisa Galliers, explains, “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 than a backless booster seat alone.”
From December 2016, once your child has outgrown his Group 1 seat (at around age four), your next step will be to purchase a Group 2/3 high-backed car seat instead, which can be used all the way until age 12, ideally.
But, if you already own a backless booster, or buy one that’s already in the shops, using it is still within the law – the legislative change only applies to models appearing on the market after December. In effect, the new rules are targeting manufacturers, enforcing a re-evaluation of safety standards. And of course, it should also make parents aware of the more considered choice regarding child seats.