Child car seats: Laws and advice

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Subject: Child car seats: Laws and advice

Child car seats can be confusing at the best of times. Once you’ve mastered the frequently tricky task of fitting one, you then need to follow the many child car seat laws and regulations.

These are important because they are designed to ensure the best level of protection and failure to obey the laws could result in some expensive fines. Penalties can be anything from a £30 on the spot fine up to £500 if taken to court.

        Child car seat groups

  • Group 0: Rear-facing baby seats – babies up to 13kg
  • Group 1: Forward-facing child seats – toddlers and children from 9kg to 18kg
  • Group 2: Booster seats – children from 15kg to 25kg
  • Group 3: Booster cushions – children over 22kg

A booster cushion is the easiest option to fit and carry because, unlike a baby, child or booster seat, it has no back rest. For this reason, many parents prefer booster cushions for shorter journeys, which include taking their kids to and from school.

Child car seat dangers

It’s dangerous and illegal to place a baby seated in a rear-facing baby seat on the front passenger seat when the front airbags are active. The speed and force of a deployed airbag is enough to seriously injure or kill a baby seated in that position. Babies younger than 15-months are particularly vulnerable, as their bodies are underdeveloped and unable to handle an impact in the same way that older, heavier children can.

When the front airbags are deactivated, it’s not illegal to place a baby, who is seated in a rear-facing baby seat, on the front passenger seat.

You can place a child sat in a forward-facing child seat on the front passenger side, even when the front airbags are active.

It’s recommended that you always secure babies and children in the rear seats when possible. Placing them here means they’re further away from the point of impact – if the collision occurs at the front of the car – and less likely to suffer serious injury.