17th October 2017
When driving with young passengers, most guardians appreciate that safety is paramount. But do you understand the law as well as you think?
Car seats and booster seats are no longer reserved for babies and toddlers. Children are now expected to use a car seat until they’re 12 years old, or 135 centimetres tall – Whichever milestone they hit first. Once a child is over 12, wearing a seatbelt is compulsory.
When you pick a car seat, there’s two factors to keep in mind – height and weight.
A height-based seat is also known as an ‘i-Size’ seat, which must be rear-facing until a child is 15 months old. After that, they can switch to forward-facing. When you purchase a seat, it’s important to know your child’s weight, to ensure its suitability.
Only EU-approved height and weight-based child car seats can be used in the UK. For height, the seat will have a label showing a circled ‘E’ and ‘RI129’. For weight, the label will show ‘E’ and ‘ECE R44’.
It’s critical that you check for these safety labels when you invest in a car seat. Without them, you can’t know that your child’s car seat is legal – Or provide the protection they need.
Here’s a guide to the weight restrictions, and the types of child car seat that you can access within those groups:
|0kg to 10kg||0||Lie-flat or ‘lateral’ baby carrier, rear-facing baby
carrier, or rear-facing baby seat using a harness
|0kg to 13kg||0+||Rear-facing baby carrier or rear-facing baby seat using a harness|
|9kg to 18kg||1||Rear- or forward-facing baby seat using a harness or safety
|15kg to 25kg||2||Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield|
|22kg to 36kg||3||Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield|
If your child has an illness or disability, there may be an exception to these rules. A doctor can give you an exemption certificate if necessary, and recommend a seat belt or restraint which will still keep them safe and comfortable.
When it comes to fitting a child car seat, it’s essential to be diligent. You can only use the seat if your car’s seatbelt has a diagonal strap, unless it’s specifically designed for use with a lap seat belt, or fitted using ISOFIX anchor points.
In addition, it’s vital that you deactivate any front airbags before putting a rear-facing baby seat in the front seat. Also, a child car seat should never be fitted in a seat that’s side-facing.
Still not sure? Don’t worry. Marshall Audi will be more than happy to recommend a suitable child car seat, as well as safely fitting it for you.
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