Mike Hayward, who specialises in motoring law, gives advance notice of the revision to child car booster seat requirements which will change from December 2016.
The law requires an appropriate child car seat when travelling with children up to 135cm or 12 years of age, whichever comes first. An ‘appropriate’ child restraint is one that conforms to the standard ECE Regulation 44/03 or ECE 44/04 (i-Size) standard. Labels on car seat products should display these regulations, so look out for them when purchasing a new car seat.
It is important to remember that it is not enough to merely have a certified seat, it must also be fitted correctly to adhere to the law.
Currently, a child weighing 15kg can travel in a backless booster seat. However, from December this year, only children taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg will be permitted to travel in backless booster seats.
These new regulations will only apply to new products. Those currently using booster seats will not need to alter their use, but the aim is to introduce the new compliant seats from that date. The overall purpose of this change is to improve passenger safety following concerns expressed about the use of standard seat belts impacting on children as small as 15kg. Safety is at the heart of this amendment.
Whilst enforcement will no doubt be rare, the penalty for the driver (who is the person with responsibility, regardless of their relationship to the child) can be issued with a roadside penalty of £30, or face a maximum fine of £500 if the case is dealt with in Court.
Safety is however paramount, hence the alteration to the booster seat rules. We will update this page with further news on the introduction of the law later this year.
Full Government car seat guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/child-car-seats-the-rules/using-a-child-car-seat-or-booster-seat.