Child Seats In Cars – Do You Know The Law?


I am frequently surprised at how little understanding parents, and grandparents, have of the laws concerning child seats which were updated in March.

Selecting the right car seat will give your child the best possible protection in the event of a crash. It is also worth noting that you’re risking a £500 fine if you’re caught using an unsuitable or incorrectly fitted car sea.

What are the new UK laws on using child car seats?

Previously, children who weighed as little as 15kg could use backless booster seats  but concerns over safety resulted in a change in the law.

  • From March 1 2017 all new-to-market backless booster seats are only approved for children weighing more than 22kg and taller than 125cm.
  • It’s important to note that the regulations affect newly designed and manufactured booster seats sold after March 1. The older rules still apply for seats manufactured prior to this date.
  • Only seats approved by the EU are legal in the UK: these will have a label with a capital ‘E’ in a circle.

Adults can choose child seats based either on a child’s height or weight.

  • Height-based child seats are called i-Size seats.
  • Weight-based child seats offer a range of options: 0kg to 9kg or 13kg, 9kg to 18kg, and 15kg to 36kg.

Children must use a rear-facing seat until they are 15 months old. Never fit a rear-facing child seat in the front if there is an active airbag on the passenger side of the car.

When a child reaches 15 months, their neck will be stronger and it’ll now be safe to mount their car seat facing forward.

  • Children weighing more than 22kg and taller than 125cm can use a backless booster seat.
  • Children of 12 years old taller than 135cm do not need to use a child seat, but have to legally, before then.
  • Child seats must be fitted either using ISOFIX mountings or a diagonal seat belt strap.
  • For smaller children, a highback booster seat is recommended.

Why did the law change?

Experts warned that backless booster seats are not secure which renders them unsafe for young children.

In the event of a side-on crash, a standard seat belt offers little protection for a child as it’s not guided across the body in the same way as a booster seat.

When can kids legally travel without a car seat?

  • UK law dictates that a child must use a child car seat until they’re 12-years-old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first. Children over the age of 12 or more than 135cm tall must wear a seat belt.

All car seats used in the UK must be European-approved. Look out for a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle – this indicates that it complies with the latest regulations.

And spare a thought for your dogs. Although not covered by any law (unlike in France) do think about what would happen if you have to stop suddenly and consider some form of restraint.

Working with Bumps & Scuffs

We do not fit car seats . What we do is fix any damage to your car body and alloy wheels. Being positioned on the busy A325 not far from Bird World we are easy to find and have extensive coverage from Bordon and Alton through to Aldershot and Farnborough as well as Farnham and district.

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In Touch

Bumps & Scuffs
45 The Street,Wrecclesham, Farnham, Surrey GU10 4QS
Tel: 01252 217 086
Email: [email protected]

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