Child Seats - The New Rules and Regulations

New regulations governing the use of child car seats come into force on the 18 September 2006.

The changes update regulations dating from 1993 when many more cars on the road than now did not have rear seat belts. The old rules are generally to use child seats and boosters "if they are available". The vast majority of cars now have rear seat belts, so parents can now benefit by always using child seats and boosters.

The new regulations mean that you must not carry a child without a booster seat if they are less than 135 cms tall. As with all these regulations, it is the driver who is responsible for them. So the defence "my child thinks booster seats aren't cool" is unlikely to succeed. There is a £30 penalty for not following the regulations.

Adult seat belts are best for people over 150 cms (approx 5') in height and with an adult bone structure. Children need to use child seats and boosters to be safe - the boosters put the young passenger in the right position to benefit from the adult seat belt properly.

Even if your own child is more than 135cms tall, there are things to think about if you ever find yourself giving lifts to other children, on school runs for example: the regulations will still apply.

If you think you will be giving a young passenger a lift, and they are less than 135 cms, why not check if their parents have a suitable booster seat they can lend you? A child psychologist has argued that children are more likely to accept "their" seat rather than somebody else's.

When you fit the booster seat, ensure it is properly secure, that the child is comfortable and that the seat belt is properly adjusted. And it is a good discipline to ensure that all passenger belts are secured before you start the engine, regardless of how old your passengers are.

16 September 2006 Staff

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