Almost 9 in 10 parents still don't understand new child car booster seat laws introduced last yearMon, 05/03/2018
Every parent wants to put the safety of the child first, but are they always aware of the laws surrounding booster seats, and why those laws exist?
Rob Hull, MailOnline, reports:
A full 12 months after new laws were introduced restricting the use of some child car seats, parents are still baffled about what is and isn't legal when it comes to securing their kids safely in vehicles.
Almost nine in 10 mums and dads (88 per cent) admitted they were perplexed by the current laws, which have restricted manufacturers from producing backless booster seats for smaller children.
Children under 125cm and 22kg in weight are no longer allowed to have backless booster seats made for them, but confusingly it is still legal for those children to ride in seats bought before the 9 February 2017 cut-off date.
Worryingly, almost one in five drivers with children under the age of 12 admit they rarely or never sit them in a car seat.
The new rule restricting manufacturers making booster seats for taller and heavier kids came into force in February 2017, but after a year one in 10 parents still don't quite understand what it means for them.
Confused.com polled 1,500 motorists with children under the age of 12 and found that 18 per cent claimed they were flouting the law by not bothering to secure their kids in a child car seat simply because they do not understand it.
Almost a third (28 per cent) said they had not put their child in a car seat on at least one occasion.
Even more worrying is that two in five parents who have been in a car accident with their kids onboard said their offspring were either not in a car seat or not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision.
By not having a child secured in a suitable seat, parents run the risk of fines of up to £500.
According to a freedom of information request to 38 UK police forces, 4,648 child seatbelt violations were recorded between 2016 and 2017 - that one for every six motorists caught using a phone at the wheel.
Drivers who admitted to being pulled by officers for carrying transporting kids incorrectly - which accounted for 10 per cent of the 1,500-strong panel - had to pay an average of £161 in fines.
Reasons parents gave for not using a child car seat
Of the 28 per cent of motorists who said there was at least one occasion when they hadn't put their child in a car seat, these are the reasons they gave:
I didn’t think my child needed one - 31%
I switched to another car and didn’t transfer the booster seat - 29%
I was making a short trip - 25%
It was an emergency - 14%*
There was no room in the car - 11%
I forgot - 9%
My child wouldn’t let me put them in the seat - 6%
I didn’t know how to fit it - 4%
What has changed with the law?
Children must use the correct car seat for their height, age and weight until they are 12 years old, or 135cm tall, whichever of the two milestones they reach first.
Under the new restrictions, backless booster seats are no longer allowed to be produced for kids shorter than 125cm and weighing less than 22kg, which is the average height and weight of a child between the ages of six and eight years.
Before the changes in February last year, backless booster seats were only deemed unsuitable for children weighing less than 15kg.
However, the law only applies to seats made after the 9 February 2017 cut off date - any parent who already owned a backless booster seat before that is still permitted to use it for their children.
The graduated child car seat system is complex enough before the addition of the latest rules, with parents needing to upgrade seats as their kids get bigger.
They also need to be replaced if they're dropped or used when there was an accident, even if the damage is not visible, as they can become weakened.
Almost two thirds (65 per cent) of parents who have had an accident while their child was in the car did not replace the car seat after the incident, Confused.com found.
That was also despite almost three quarters (73 per cent) of mums and dads knowing the protection a car seat offers might be compromised after impact.
Confused.com said it understood that parents could be confused by the complexity of the rules, especially when it comes to booster seats, and has created a child car seat calculator that will tell you which type of seat is needed.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, said: 'Crash impact films show what a difference having the correct car seat can make to your child’s protection.
'And while the rules might be confusing, they are in place to make sure children are as safe as possible.
'Parents who are still baffled by the law should use the calculator to find one that is best suited for their age or weight.
Staying informed and up to date with legislation surrounding booster seats is hugely important to ensure the safety of your child. If you know a parent who might need a little advice on how to properly fit their booster seats for their children, please share this article with them.