What do you need to know?
New child car seat regulations were set to be introduced this December for children under 12 years of age or under 135cm in height. The changes have now been delayed until next year and are expected to come into force in March 2017.
There is no need to panic, you are not required to purchase a new alternative car seat for your child, or a new car for that matter! The current regulations are expected to run alongside the new regulations until around 2018.
However, you will not be able to use a backless booster unless your child is taller than 125cm or weighing 22kg or more. Currently, children around 15kg are able to use backless boosters, i.e., children as young as 3 years of age.
The new regulations, in comparison with the existing regulations, make some striking changes, three of which are noted below:
- Car seats will be purchased for children in accordance with their height and not their weight.
- The new i-Size car seats only fit in vehicles with ISOfix points.
- Babies are now to be carried in rear facing seats until they are 15 months old.
At present not all cars have ISOfix points, especially older models but the general idea is that in the future all child car seats will fit in all cars.
Whilst you are not required at this time to have a new regulation i-Size seat, you can still take safety advice from the new regulations. For example, keep your baby in a rear facing child seat for as long as possible up to the age of 15 months, or until their weight exceeds the limit for their current seat or if their head begins to protrude over the top of the seat.
So why implement new regulations, when your child is safe under the existing regulations?
Common injuries which may occur to us all, as a result of a road traffic accident, involve the neck, chest and head.
Neck: The new changes are due to research which shows that toddlers up to 15 months of age do not have very strong necks. Therefore, in keeping them in a rear facing seat, in a front end collision, their neck would be less vulnerable.
Chest: For younger children a five point harness or impact shields are best as they distribute the forces applied to the body in a crash. For older children a high backed booster allows the adult seat belt to be positioned correctly across the body.
Head: Children’s skulls are weaker than those of adults and the best way to reduce the effect of a crash on their head movement (certainly in a side impact crash) is to have a child seat with side impact protection, sometimes known as ‘wings’. For this reason, whilst booster seats are legal at the moment they are not recommended car seats, as they provide no back or side protection.
If you are involved in a road traffic accident, your child car seat may have become weaker, although not visibly damaged and therefore may require replacement. If in doubt replace it anyway.
For further advice and assistance if you have suffered injury arising out of a road traffic accident that was not your fault, please contact Kirsty Dunn on 01457835597 or by way of email to firstname.lastname@example.org