Child Car Safety

Child car safety

Backless booster seats are to be illegal for children under 12 in the UK - should Ireland follow suit?

At the moment, children weighing 15kg or more are permitted to travel in backless car seats. This means that, in the UK and Ireland, it is currently legal for children as young as three years old to travel in the backless car seats.

In Ireland, road accidents account for nearly 40% of child deaths, and alarming statistics from the RSA reveal that 3 out of 4 children's car seats are fitted incorrectly**.

The new motor laws are being introduced in the UK because car safety experts* believe that backless booster seats do not offer enough protection for a child if a car is involved in a side-impact collision - and have argued that the high-backed version is safer. 

The new car safety rules will only apply to new products appearing on the market. This means that if you are using a car booster seat now, you will still be able to do so without breaking the law in the UK.

What's changing in the UK?

  • The backless car booster seat will be banned for younger children, with a higher weight and height limit applied to their usage.
  • Backless booster seats will only be permitted for use for children taller than 125cm and weighing over 22kg.

Why the change?

  • The new rules are being introduced in the UK because car safety experts* believe backless booster seats to be unsafe for young children.
  • Experts say that children aren’t held as securely in backless car seats than high-backed due to their bodies not being held by the adult seat belt in a secure way.
  • Backless booster seats offer no protection for a child if a car is involved in a side-impact collision.
  • “Our crash tests prove they offer much more protection in a side-impact crash than a backless booster seat alone.” - Lisa Galliers: Which?

Do I need to buy a new car seat?

  • The new rules will only apply to any new products on the market. Therefore, if you have a booster seat now you will still be able to use the seat without breaking any laws.
  • However, backless booster seats are not recommended by safety experts*. Child car seat specialists have maintained that high-backed seats are safer and that it is worth paying extra money in order to keep young passengers safe.  

There is also to be a penalty introduced of £500 (that’s around €580) for anyone found to be using the wrong type of car seat. 

*Source: http://childseatsafety.co.uk/

**Source: RSA Ireland, 2015

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