The laws on backless booster seats changed this year, but what does it mean for you and your children?
Words Holly Kirkwood
This year saw a new law introduced on child car seat safety – specifically around backless booster seats for older toddlers. It’s a European-wide law, and designed to give children better protection for longer as they travel in the back.
We talked to Damon Marriott, car seat safety expert at Joie, about what the new laws on car seats mean for parents.
What is the booster seat law change?
Car seat manufacturers are no longer be allowed to bring to market new backless booster seats for children shorter than 125cm (4ft1) or weighing less than 22kg (3 stone, 6.5 pounds). While this is just an estimate these measurements are approximately the size of a six year old.
Manufacturers will still be making new backless booster seats but only for children taller than 125cm or heavier than 22kg.
Why is the law changing?
Pre February 9th the law advised parents to move children who weigh 15kg or more to move on to a backless booster seat. In the event of a crash poor belt positioning, common with backless booster seats, can mean that the child is not held as securely in their seat causing injury to the neck and spin.
As children as young as two years old could fit within this weight bracket the current rules are not doing enough to protect our children in the event of a crash.
Are backless booster seats unsafe for my child?
Backless boosters are still, for the moment, certified as safe and legal. The law is designed to gradually phase out the old backless booster seats recommended for children starting at the minimum weight of 15kg, as the new backless booster seats for children from 125cm or 22kg come into circulation.
However, I would always recommend that parents make the change over to a high-backed booster when possible, and for as long as possible. Even beyond the legal minimum height requirement of 125cm.
In fact, I’d advise any parent to keep their child in some form of booster seat until they are naturally tall enough for the seat belt to fit snugly on the shoulder and hips and therefore take the force of an impact. On average this means keeping your child in a booster seat until 150cm or 12 years old. While this may be tricky they really do provide better protection for your child in the event of a crash.
Which car seats do you recommend?
For those looking for a child weighing over 15kg, roughly over 3 or 4 years of age, you’ll be looking for a group 2/3 car seat.
From the Joie range I would recommend the duallo, trillo or trillo lx. All these car seats are high backed designs with enhanced side impact protection providing added security for the head, body and hips over and above a basic booster cushion.
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