Child car seat rules being reviewed, says Department for Transport

Child in child seat Image copyright Thinkstock

New regulations for child car seats are in the pipeline, but no decisions have been made, the government has said.

It comes as consumer rights group Which said backless booster seats will only be approved for use for children taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg under new rules set to be introduced.

But the government said talks are ongoing and there was no date as yet.

Existing rules say that children must use a child car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm (4ft 5ins) tall.

If approved, any changes will apply to newly sold products, not child restraint systems which are already in use and adhere to existing safety standards.

Parents who use old booster seats that comply with the existing regulations will not be breaking the law if they continue to use them after any rule change, the Department for Transport spokesman said.

They will not be required to buy new booster seats to meet any rule change, he said.

The technical specifications for child car seats are set internationally by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

Height-based car seats, known as 'i-Size' seats, must be rear-facing until the child is over 15 months old.

A child can use a forward-facing car seat when they are over 15 months old.

Weight-based car seats must be rear-facing until the child weighs more than 9kg and after that the seat the child can use depends on their weight.

The Department for Transport works with representatives from other governments, the child restraint and vehicle manufacturing industries, and groups representing consumers on the specifications.

What is the law?

  • Children must use a child seat or booster
  • A child can use an adult belt when they reach 135cm (4ft 5ins) or their 12th birthday, whichever comes first
  • The driver can be fined up to £500 if a child under 14 years does not wear a seat belt or child restraint as required
  • Anyone 14 and over not wearing a seat belt, must pay the fine themselves

There are exceptions. For example, children can travel without a child car seat in a taxi or minicab if there is a fixed partition between the front and rear seats.

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