New Car Seat Laws: What You Need to Know

New Car Seat Laws: What You Need to Know

Did you know that there are new laws in place when it comes to children’s car seats in the UK?

No? Don’t worry – you’re not alone.

The new car seat laws actually came into power on March 1st 2017, but reports suggest that over half of parents still aren’t aware of the changes. If parents happen to be caught without proper child safety measures in place they may be faced with a substantial £500 fine. Needless to say, it’s important to keep up to speed on the changes.

To help understand the ‘Dos & Don’ts’ of children’s car seats, we’ve compiled a Q&A of the top queries our advisors have received about children’s car seats and the new laws…

Child in car seat

Car Seat Law Q&A

1.) How long does a child need to use a car seat for?

A child needs to use a car seat until they are twelve years old or until they are 135cm tall – whichever comes first. After this, it is safe (and legal) to wear a seatbelt.

2.) Are there different kinds of car seats?

Yes, there are two different kinds of car sets. There are height-based seats, which must be rear facing until your child is over 15 months old, and there are weight-based seats.

3.) How do I know if a car seat is safe?

Only EU-approved car seats can be used in the UK. To know that your car seat is EU-approved and therefore safe, look for the code on the seat. For height-based seats, look for a label showing an ‘E’ in a circle, with the code ‘R129’. For weight-based seats, look for an ‘E’ in a circle with the code ‘ECE R44’.

4.) What changes have been made to the car seat laws?

The new child car seat law has imposed a tighter restriction on child booster seats. Previously, children who weighed 15kg or less were allowed to use booster seats, however according to the new law, now only children who weigh more than 22kg, or are 125cm tall, are able to use them.

5.) How do I know when my child has outgrown their car seat?

A child’s car seat needs to be replaced when their head becomes level with the top of the seat.

6.) Is there ever a time my child can travel without being in a car set?

Children over three can travel in a taxi using an adult seatbelt if the vehicle is not equipped with a proper children’s car seat, but they must be in the back seat. Coaches are not legally required to provide a car seat and if you wish for your child to travel in one you must supply it, however it is not a requirement. The only other time your child could travel without a car seat would be in an emergency and only over a short distance.

7.) What happens if I am caught unknowingly breaking the new laws?

If you are found to be driving without consideration of the new children’s car seat laws you could be faced with a £500 fine.

For more information on the laws surrounding children’s car seats, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/child-car-seats-the-rules.

Abbey Insurance Brokers

Whether you are a first-time mum or a parenting pro, it’s important to be aware of all legal requirements when it comes to travelling with your family in the car. Should you have any further questions about your car insurance, feel free to give one of our expert advisors a call on 08000 66 55 44.

*Information correct at the time of publishing.