We explain how the new car seat legislation will affect you.
From Monday 18 September new car seat rules will be introduced to ensure the safety of babies, toddlers and children in cars. From this date, all children up to the height of 135cm will have to use a car seat appropriate to their size, and will no longer be able to use an adult seat belt alone either in the front or rear of a car. Parents who fail to comply face a £30 on-the-spot fine, or £500 if the case goes to court.
These new rules will mean the following changes:
- All children under three years old must use a rearward or forward facing, properly fitted car seat when travelling in a car.
- Children aged three or older - up to 135cm (or 12 years of age), must use a car or booster seat, appropriate to their size, when travelling in cars fitted with a seat belt.
- The only exeptions are children in the rear of taxis and those making emergency trips.
- All occupants must use seat belts where provided while seated, and the vehicle is in motion, and the number of people carried must not exceed the number of seats available fitted with seat belts or child restraints.
For more information visit www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk
A recent 2006 Which? Report recommended Concord's Lift Pro-Tect seat and the Lift Evo PT, highlighting that they were comfortable and light, with good side impact and head protection. They can also be used with just the booster seat option.
Both seats protect children from 15kg up to 36kg (approximately 3-12 years old), and cost between £74.99 - £89.99
The Concord product range includes child car seats from birth to 12 years old - up to 36kg. Product information can be found at www.concord.de or call 01273 764744. For parents of young children who are concerned about how to approach getting them back into a car seat, Norwich Union has teamed up with Claire Halsey, clinical psychologist and expert on ITV1's 'Driving Mum & Dad Mad', to develop a series of fun, easy tips to help parents get older kids back into booster seats and make for an altogether safer car journey. Claire said: If your child has been used to using an adult seat belt, but as a result of the new regulations needs to go back to a child seat, the challenge to a parent will be in finding ways to encourage this without tears and tantrums!
WORK IT OUT TOGETHER - Encourage your child to research whether they need a booster seat. Finding out the facts together will help prevent them from feeling they are being treated like 'babies'.
KEEP THEM BUSY! - Have a selection of books, magnetic or computer games to play with in the car which will keep them entertained and will distract them from the fact they are in a car or booster seat
PERSONALISE THE SEAT - Let your child choose their booster seat from a selection that meet the new guidelines. By choosing the colour and style and allowing them to decorate it with stickers this will encourage them to feel happy to use their seat and they can enjoy showing it off to friends and family
EXPLAIN SAFETY TO CHILDREN - Keep it simple and say: We all put our seat belts on in the car to keep us safe. And remind them that being safe in the car is a lot like wearing a cycle helmet when they are out on their bikes!
MAKE IT A RESPONSIBILITY - When there is more than one child in the car, encourage the older ones to teach younger ones by example. This differentiates them from younger siblings and will make them feel more adult and responsible
PULL OVER IF CHILDREN UNBUCKLE - Park and wait until all seat belts are safely fastened again. Keep on stopping every time they unbuckle, until children get the idea that belts off means a very slow trip!