New rules surrounding the use of car seats are set to come into force before March 2017, limiting the use of backless booster seats for older children.
Under current UK law, children travelling in a car must use the correct child car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall.
But under the new rules, backless booster seats – sometimes called booster cushions – will only be approved for older children.
What are the new rules?
Under the new rules, backless booster seats or booster cushions will only be approved for use by children taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg. Currently children as young as three, or weighing 15kg, are able to use them.
Do I need to buy a new seat?
The new child car seat regulations will only apply to new products. This means that if you’re looking to buy a booster seat after the regulation change, you’ll see that they’re only approved for children over 125cm or 22kg.
If you’ve got an existing booster seat you will be able to use it without breaking any rules, but safety experts recommended you buy your child a high-backed booster seat, which offer more protection in a side-impact crash.
Backless boosters vs high-back booster seats
A backless booster seat are cheap to buy – about £6 to £30 – but experts don’t recommend them. High-backed child car seats are more expensive but they have been found to be safer.
According to Which? child car seat expert Lisa Galliers, “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”.
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