Thanks for all of the questions via Facebook. As you can imagine we have been inundated with questions since the post about the car seat enforcement event in Leicester went viral.

Here are some answers to your most FAQs

Please remember though, it’s very difficult for us to make recommendations without seeing each of you individually, along with your children, cars and specific requirements. So we’ve given you lots of additional web sites and information to help you if you need it.

Best wishes and thanks for the continued support.

Julie and Claire

Directors of Child Seat Safety Ltd

Which seat is best for my child/children?

It’s very difficult for us to make recommendations without seeing each of you individually, along with your children, cars and specific requirements. So there are two things you can do to help you choose.

  1. Check the compatibility of the seat for your child and the car. Most of the good car seat manufacturers have compatibility lists for their seats either online or available with the seat, so you should be able to easily find out.

Here are links to Maxi Cosi and Britax so you can see what we mean.

  1. Check your vehicle handbook to establish where they recommend you can put a car seat in it (if at all!). You can usually find all of this information in the child safety section of the cars handbook. Some car manufacturers will even state which make and model of seats they crash tested for their EuroNCAP star rating within this book.

Just remember not to rush your child into the next stage seat too soon – check out what the maximum weight is for the seat they are currently using and not the minimum weight is for the next seat.

Please try and keep your child/ children rearward facing for as long as possible: there are lots of seats available now that will fit into even the smallest of cars

What about rearward facing baby/child seats?

Most rear-facing infant carriers will last your child until they are 13kgs (28.6lbs) so please keep them in for a bit longer. If you can get to around 15 months that would be fantastic, but obviously that’s weight-dependant.

One explanation we always give is that in a collision at 30mph the young child’s neck seated in a rear-facing seat has to withstand the equivalent force of seven stones in weight. Obviously this sort of pressure on a small body isn’t great, but if they were forward-facing it would be a whopping 45 stone: that’s like three grown men jumping on their neck! Clearly, we as adults would struggle to cope with that and so you can’t imagine what a baby’s soft bones and weaker neck muscles could be put through.

If you find that their legs are on the back of the vehicle seat that is fine, it’s their head you need to be concerned about: make sure it is completely inside the restraint and no part is sticking above the frame of the seat. If it is, then it’s time to look at the next stage seat, and if you can get one still rearward facing then that would be great.

When are you next in our area?

We regularly get asked by the local authorities and police force to assist them, so if you keep an eye on our Events tab on Facebook, we update where and when we are around the country.

You can also check on our Find an Advisor page for a qualified advisor (IOSH Child Seat Safety Awareness)

If there is no one local, you could ask your Local Authority Road Safety Team who may be able to assist or recommend someone local

What about the new car seat laws?

Here is our guide to the new “rules”

Safety standards and the road traffic law

There’s a lot of misunderstanding about the “law” on child car seats. It isn’t the UK Road Traffic Law that is actually changing, but it will be affected because the European Safety Standard is being revised. This will mean that a booster cushion will not be allowed to be manufactured for use by a child who is under 22kg. The plans to change this early next year will occur within the European Child Car Seat Regulations.

The majority of car seats including booster cushions, are currently certified under the ECE R44/04 Child Car Seat Regulations. This particular regulation covers all age ranges from birth to 36kg and currently allows use of these booster cushions from 15kg. This has meant for many years that heavier children, but who are still as young as 18-months-old, can legally use a booster cushion in a car. Clearly with no head, side or upper body protection, it isn’t the safest option for such a young body. And when there is a safer option of a high-backed booster seat which does have these safety features it would make sense to encourage parents to use these.

When the changes in the safety standard occur  which should be early in 2017, it will mean that all newly produced booster cushions will be illegal to use for children under 125cm and under 22kg. However, if your child is over 125cm and over 22kg they will be able to use them, although knowing what we do know, we certainly wouldn’t advise you do this even now.  Remember that this only applies to someone under the age of 12.

What if we have a booster cushion already?

If you already own a booster cushion which states it conforms to ECE R44/04 Group 2 – 15kg minimum weight, then it will still be legal for you to use with a child who is just 15kg.

But please take the time to watch this clip to see the difference a high back can make to your child in a collision.

I think my child is too big for their booster seat. What shall I do?

The road traffic law says that a child must use an appropriate child seat until they are 135cm in height or 12-years of age: whichever they reach first.

So in theory you no longer need a high-backed/ booster seat after this, however it’s far safer to keep them on it until they are 150cm. This is because vehicle seatbelts are designed for adults from 150cm tall. So when you remove the seat from a child who is only 135cm and wonder why the diagonal belt is cutting into their neck, you’ll now know why!

If you travel abroad, always check what their laws say. For example, France and Southern Ireland state a child has to be 150cm in height before no longer needing a seat.

Can my child can use a booster cushion instead of a high-backed booster?

Please also see the question on What about the new car seat laws?

Please use a high backed booster seat – they are safer than a booster cushion. If you need convincing look at this link.

It’s not too graphic or scary to show your children either, but it’s a good way to explain why you want them on a high-backed seat. Our tip here is to get them to look at where the crash test dummies’ heads meet the car door! Ouch!

You may need to remove your vehicles head restraint to accommodate the high-backed booster seat correctly – never use it to hold the seat down, it’s designed to keep the child continuously protected and move with the child in a collision.


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