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A guide to booster seat law in the UK

On the 18th of September 2006, new laws were introduced in the UK relating to booster seats and infant seat belts. An update to the previous legislation was required as the previous laws dated back to 1993 when many cars were produced without a rear seat belt. The current rules state that a baby seat or a booster seat has to be fitted where possible. This article provides a guide to booster seat law in the UK.

Why is the new legislation deemed so important?

At the time when the seat belt laws were changed, safety restraints within vehicles were considered a priority because of the high number of children who were killed because of road accidents in 2005. Safety experts believed that child car seats could have prevented many of the deaths or injuries. What is an appropriate safety restraint? The restraint should be in accordance with United Nations and EU Law. It must be the right size for a child's size and weight and it must be fitted the way in which the manufacturer has instructed in the handbook. Under current UK law, children from the age of three to twelve and those who are below the height of 135cm have to use a child safety seat or a booster seat when travelling in a motor vehicle. The laws that were introduced also relate to baby seats. Rear facing baby seats cannot be used on front passenger seats when an airbag is functional.

What type of restraint should be used?

In order to bring down the number of accidents and deaths on the road involving children, every baby or child should always travel in a car with the appropriate car seat, child belt or booster. When choosing the right restraints, people should always bear in mind a child's size and weight. Also, buyers should remember that children can grow very quickly and therefore, what is suitable at one month may not be so for the next month. It is generally considered that a baby between the age of eight and twelve months should be placed in a baby seat and younger children from the age of one to four should be sat in a car seat. If a child is above 135cm in height and is between the ages of four and twelve, they should use a booster seat. A final word Fines will be issued to people who do not adhere to these laws and persistent offenders will be handed out higher penalties.

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