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Child Seat Regulations

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 12 Dec 2015 | comments*Discuss
September 2006 Booster Seat Booster

Since September 2006 it has been a legal requirement that all children travelling in a car must be subject to appropriate safety restraints – and these vary depending on the age and size of the child in question.

Why Was the Law Changed?

The law was changed because the previous regulations had been set back in 1993 and most cars manufactured around this time didn’t have rear seat belts. However, as all cars manufactured now come with rear Seat Belts fitted as standard, it was decided that it was time for the law to change to increase the safety of children being transported in motor vehicles.It’s estimated that around 2,000 children a year could escape death or injury due to the revised legislation.

So How Do I know Which to Use for my Child?

All children under 135cm in height or under the age of 12 (whichever they reach first) are subject to suitable child restraints that are approved to the United Nations ECE Regulation 44.03 or by subsequent standards. Beware of restraints marked with a BS ‘kitemark’ are these are not legal (as from May 2008).

There are several types of restraints that include baby seats, child seats, booster seats and booster cushions. The seat description must be checked to make sure that it is suitable for your child’s weight.

As children grow they need to move to different restraints. The list below shows which child restraint is suitable for which weight and approximate age:

Group 0 and 0+ (baby seat)

  • Weight Range: Up to 13kgs
  • Age Range (approx): Birth to 9-12 months
  • Baby seats are the safest kind of restraint for a very young child. Rear-facing, they can be fitted in the front or rear of a car using the adult-lap and diagonal seat belt. Using a portable baby seat is a great idea because you can carry the baby around in it and use it on every journey.
  • Warning: Never use a rear facing child restraint in the front seat of a car with an active frontal airbag. If an accident occurs the expanding airbag is likely to cause serious injury or death to the child.

Group 1: (e.g. child seat)

  • Weight Range: 9kgs to 18kgs
  • Age Range (approx): 9 months to 4 years
  • A separate seat secured either by an adult seat belt or ISOFix attachment points. The child is then kept in place by the seat’s own harness which has been designed specifically for a smaller body. All child seats should include a strap that goes between the legs to stop the child from sliding out feet first in case of an accident.

Groups 2 : (booster seat)

  • Weight Range: From 15kgs and upwards
  • Age Range (approx): from 4 years
  • Booster seats put children in a position that gives them better protection from an adult seat belt. Both the seat and the child are restrained by the adult belt.

Group 3: (booster cushion)

  • Weight Range: 22kgs and upwards
  • Age Range (approx): from 6 years
  • For children who are too large for a child or booster seat, it raises the child so that the adult belt can be used safely

Tips for Buying

When buying a child restraint you should test it in your car to make sure that it is fitted well. Ask the seller to provide you with a demonstration. A correctly installed restraint fits tightly into the adult seat.

There is no law against buying second hand child seats but be very careful if you wish to do – make sure that they are not damaged or worn and that they meet the current legal standards.Always fit the restraint in your car carefully and follow the manufacturers instructions to the letter. If your car is new it may have an ISOFix attachment point to which an ISOFix child restraint can be installed instead of using the adult seat belts. These are quicker to install safely and accurately but you must make sure that the restraint is suitable for the ISOFix points in your car – they are not all the same.

What Are the Legal Consequences If I Don’t Comply?

It is the legal responsibility of the driver to ensure that any children in the car are correctly restrained.

If you are found to travel with children that are not correctly restrained and you are not subject to an exemption, you may be given a £30 on the spot fine, and could face a fine of up to £500 if the case is taken to court. You could also be subject to civil proceedings if you fail to sufficiently protect someone else’s child.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
received a letter from police headed REQUIREMENT TO PROVIDE NAME AND ADDRESS OF DRIVER. alleged offence drive on road whilst not wearing a seat belt.the photographic evidence enclosed is blurry.i cannot recognise the driver?.
speedtriple - 12-Dec-15 @ 12:48 PM
@Peace. Assuming your driving ban classed you as a high risk offender, then you have to go through a medical examination in order to get your licence back. Unfortunately there is a fee for this - here is a list of the feeshere is a list of the fees
NoPenaltyPoints - 25-Mar-15 @ 10:35 AM
I need some help, please I was busted for drink drive way back in the 90s think it was 1990 I have just found out that inorder to get my licence back I have to pay anothere 200 pounds out to do this. I am now clased as disabled due to helth. I have no income.apart from a benifit.wich is only enough to live on. I live in a small vilage and i need someform of travel toget to hostpials and docs, does any one have an idea of what i can doO and i have never had a drink since i was band yours truthfully betty
peace - 22-Mar-15 @ 2:29 AM
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