Travelling with young children
New Child Seat Regulation comes into force next month
The Road Safety Partnership has provided expert training and advice on the latest regulations for new child car seat products. Fire-Fighters at Gloucester North Fire Station have received refresher child seat check training including an introduction to new rules which have been worrying and confusing parents.
These new rule changes only apply to new child car seat products. Existing child car seats used by parents that comply to safety standards will continue to be suitable child restraints in law.
The first is Regulation 129 for new rearward-facing baby seats. Called i-Size, this baby seat enables parents to keep their child in the safer rearward facing position for much longer (from birth to 15months). Existing baby seats generally have a maximum weight range of 13kg. Both the product which uses the ISOFIX system and the compatible vehicle, registered from July 2013 will be clearly marked saying ‘i-Size’ and ‘i-Size Ready’ respectively.
So why the new regulation? It is believed that too many parents are switching to forward facing car seats too soon and many are left confused by the existing guidelines on moving to the next type of seat, based solely on weight. It’s also about encouraging the use of ISOFIX seats which are easier to fit correctly and therefore safer than those secured with the car’s seatbelt.
Existing rearward baby seats which comply to ECE 44.04 safety standards continue to be suitable child restraints.
The second new regulation, to come into force in March 2017, is again only for new products but this time for a new Booster Cushion (boosters with no back, just a base). This new Booster Cushion will be for children taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg. Existing Booster Cushions have no minimum height limit, just a weight range of between 15kg to 36kg. These products will also be clearly marked with minimum height & weight limits.
The Department for Transport have said, ‘Parents who use existing Booster Cushions that comply with existing ECE regulations will not be breaking the law if they continue to use them after the new regulation comes in.’ So, parents won’t have to buy a new booster seat to meet the new regulation.
There is no change to the overall law about child seats being compulsory for children up to 12 years of age and up to a height of 135cm.
Andre Bovington for the Road Safety Partnership said, ‘I think this is about continuing to encourage parents to use suitable child restraints throughout their child’s development right up until they’re big enough & old enough to use an adult seat belt; where they are taller than 135cm or older than 12yrs, which ever they reach first. So, ideally only the biggest & oldest child should be using a Booster Cushion.
He also said, ‘Our advice is to keep the child in their existing car seat for as long as possible and move onto the next seat when the back of their head is above the top of their car seat.’
To have your child seat checked by trained Fire Fighters, phone 0800 1804140; for advice phone 01452 888719 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Young children in the car? Think about:
- Setting a good example, wearing your seatbelt and keeping calm.
- Being consistent in the way you do things eg making sure that the child enters or leaves the car from the pavement side.
- Stopping the car and taking time out if the child’s behaviour is affecting you as the driver.
- Praise your child for good behaviour in the car.
- Remember, even a low speed collision can kill, so make sure they are strapped in every time!
A reminder about car seats:
A driver is responsible for passengers under 14 years old, so make sure they are wearing a seat belt and are using the right size of car seat for their age and weight.
- ‘Group 0’ and ‘Group 0+’ – these are rear-facing baby seats suitable for babies up to 13 kilogrammes (birth to 6-9 months and birth to 12-15 months)
- ‘Group I’ – these are forward or rearward-facing baby seats for children between 9 and 18 kilogrammes (about 9 months to 4 years)
- ‘Group II’ – these are forward-facing child car seats (booster seats) for children from 15 to 25 kilogrammes (about 4 to 6 years)
For more information and advice about the safe fitting of child car seats:-
- Link to car seat check with Glos Fire and Rescue here.
- Link to Directgov Think website, car seats here.
Passengers aged 14 and over – think about these points, one day, just one of them could save your life:
Are you sure that the driver is legal, not drunk or on drugs and will drive considerately? If not, have a ‘Plan B’ – money for a taxi, phone number for a reliable friend or relative who can collect you....