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The new car seat law changes – what are they and how will they affect you?

by Smyths Toys


Whether you already knew it or not, car seat law is changing in the UK. What exactly is changing is discussed below but first we would like to fill you in on some research we’ve completed recently. We went out to ask the Mothers and Fathers of the UK all about car seat regulations and found that many parents are finding the regulation changes confusing and are unsure what they need to do to meet new safety requirements put in place by the UK government. If you have a toddler or young child, it’s important to keep up to date with the latest car seat laws to keep your child as safe as possible and comply with the law.
The research was carried out online by RWB between 15th February 2017 and 17th February 2017
The sample comprised 1,007 UK parents of children aged 0-2 years old
All research conducted adheres to the UK Market Research Society (MRS) code of conduct (2014)
RWB is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and complies with the DPA (1998)
As part of this research we wanted to find out just how many of us are at a loss as to what exactly we should be doing when it comes to car seats. The results we found were interesting and highlighted exactly why there needs to be clear, readily available information out there for parents who don’t quite understand the new rules.
Some really interesting and useful statistics have come out of this research, showing that parents need more information and clarity on the new changes. Two headline figures are as follows:
  • 78% of parents think the current regulations are confusing – this means that parents are unnecessarily worrying and stressing about which seat their child should be in, just because of the new laws put in place and lack of information available to parents. 78% of parents don’t think these current regulation guides are entirely clear, which should a top priority to manufacturers and the government.
  • Two thirds of parents say it is hard to access the correct information on car seat safety regulations – More information needs to be made readily available to parents and manufacturers to avoid any confusion.
Our research shows that only 69% of parents know that the car seat law is changing at all. Of this 69%, half answered incorrectly when asked to explain how the law was actually changing. These regulations are paramount to the safety of children and it’s important that information is given to all parents so that everyone is able to comply with the law and keep their kids safe. The fact that a massive 31% of parents we asked were not even aware that any such changes in regulation were taking place shows a gap in the communication of these changes to parents.
Even parents who make a point of researching the regulations are running into difficulty. 69% say it is hard to access the correct information about car seat safety regulations with 78% saying that the current car seat regulations are confusing for parents. Even if you actively look for information on the new regulations, it can be difficult to get clear answers.
When we asked our survey group what they thought the main points of the new regulations were 34% of people believed the change in regulation to be related to the age at which babies can move to a forward-facing seat. Others thought their booster seat must be professionally installed by a retailer from March 1st onwards. Neither of these are the key point of the regulation changes.
All in all, we think it’s crucial that parents are made aware of any regulation changes and can easily access information on the current rules to ensure the safety of their little ones. With that in mind we’ve included some details on the new regulation changes below.
So, what exactly are the new regulations and how can we make sure we are fulfilling them as required?

The main point that this new car seat regulation addresses is that manufacturers are not allowed to introduce new models of backless booster seats for children shorter than 125cm and weighing less than 22kg. This means that backless booster seats will no longer be approved for younger children this year. The new recommendations will be that kids should stay in a fully supporting booster seat with a back for longer, until they are bigger.

This means that if you’re looking to buy a booster seat after the regulation change, you’ll see that they’re only approved for children over 125cm or 22kg. If you’ve got an existing booster seat you will be able to use it without breaking any rules, but it is recommended that you buy your child a high-backed booster seat which can offer more protection in a side-impact crash situation.

If you are looking to buy a new car seat, you’ll need to know which one is right for your child, in line with these new regulations.
There are three main things that you will need to consider when purchasing a new car seat.
  • That it conforms to the United Nations standard, ECE Regulation 44.04 (or R 44.03) or to the new i-size regulation, R129. Look for the ‘E’ mark label on the seat.
  • It is suitable for your child’s weight and size.
  • It is correctly fitted according to manufacturer instructions.
You will also need to work out which type of seat you will need for your little one with this guide:
Up to 29lbs ( 13kg )

A rearward-facing baby seat is essential from newborn up to 29lbs. Babies this small should never be put in a seat facing forward. These seats can often come as a travel system and attach to a pushchair for small babies, making them practical and easy to install in the car.

Up to 55lbs ( 25kg )

A combination seat that enables you to place the car seat in either a rearward or forward-facing is ideal for little ones up to this weight. A high backed booster seat is also appropriate up to this weight.

Up to 79lbs ( 36kg )

A full forward facing child seat will be ideal as your child gets older and is able to sit up by themselves. A high backed boost seat is also allowed for children up to this weight.

Up to 79lbs ( 36kg ) and 125cm or taller

A booster cushion is legal to use for children at this weight and height, as per the new regulations.

If you are still unsure of what exactly you should be doing in terms of making sure your child has the right car seat, there is lots of information available from the government online. If you need help fitting a seat into your car ask a member of staff at your chosen store or a trained professional to show you how to fit it. You can also ask them to fit it for you if you wish.

The research was carried out online by RWB between 15th February 2017 and 17th February 2017
The sample comprised 1,007 UK parents of children aged 0-2 years old
All research conducted adheres to the UK Market Research Society (MRS) code of conduct (2014)
RWB is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and complies with the DPA (1998)
Smyths Toys Superstores have a full range of car seats available online or in store as well as fully trained staff to help you pick the right seat for your child.