When the kids are little, car seats can be a right old faff – they’re hard to fasten and sometimes harder to take out, leaving you even more irate and exhausted. So, when they finally reach an age when they can get into a ‘booster seat’ you think your luck’s in because those days of stuffing the children into what’s essentially a portable padded cell, have ended. Until, that is 1 March 2017 – because that’s when the rules on car seats change – so here’s what you need to know.

At the moment, once your child weighs 15kg (2st 5lbs) or more, then they can sit in a backless booster seat. But from 1 March 2017, backless booster seats can only be manufactured and used for children who weigh more than 22kg (3st 7lbs) and who are more than 125cm (4ft 1ins) tall.

The rules aren’t about making existing booster seats illegal – and if you have one and your child uses it – you can still carry on doing so. The new guidelines are simply about ensuring manufacturers aren’t bringing out new boosters for children under the revised height and weight limit.

The United Nations – who make the rules on car seat safety think the revision is a good idea after listening to experts who have said that the backless booster doesn’t offer enough protection to children – especially if they are hit from the side.

But the laws on car seats can get a bit confusing – and research has found that 66% of parents haven’t a clue about the current rules on car seats, let alone what the new ones are; so, here’s a rundown of what your child should be sitting in, and when (more than one type of car seat may be applicable):

  • If your child weighs between 0kg to 9kg – they should be in a ‘Group 0’ seat which can be a rear facing flat baby carrier or baby seat with its own harness.
  • If your child weighs between 0kg to 13kg – they should be in a ‘Group 0+’ seat which can be a rear facing baby carrier or baby seat with its own harness.
  • If your child weighs between 9kg to 18kg – they should be in a ‘Group 1’ seat which can be rear or forward facing using a harness or safety shield.
  • If your child weighs between 15kg to 36kg – they should be in a rear or forward facing high backed booster seat using a seat belt, harness or safety shield.

Once your little cherub grows to 135cm or becomes 12 (whichever comes first) then they can sit in a car without the aid of a child car seat (and very grown up they’ll feel too). There are also a few circumstances where your child doesn’t need to sit in a child car seat at all – such as in a taxi or in an emergency – but you can find out exactly what’s what on Gov.UK, child car seats, the law

But when you drive a car, it’s not just car seats you need to worry about – you’ll also need car insurance. Thankfully though – it’s whole lot less complicated than sorting out car seats, especially when you comparethemarket.com because we’ll tell it to you straight by listing what you get, for how much and with who – all you need to do, is choose; so go on, start a quote right here.

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