Since 2008, the laws surrounding child car safety have tightened, with clear instructions on who should be using additional seating equipment and why. Do you know the laws and how to best protect your child in the event of a crash?
Recent laws now mean that all children under 12 or under 135cm should use a car seat. This means that if your child reaches 135cm or above before their 12th birthday they do not need to use a car seat. Similarly, if they are under 135cm but over the age of 12, they also do not need to use an additional seat. However, in the latter instance it is still recommended you offer your child the extra protection of a car or booster seat.
EU Approved Car Seats
As part of this law, only EU-approved car seats may be used to strap your children in. Compliant car seats are easy to distinguish as they contain a label with a capital E in a circle. Car seats come in all shapes and sizes, and you should only use one suitable for your child’s age and weight to ensure maximum comfort and best protection.
The rules on EU approved car seats are also changing, with new guidelines on appropriate restraints being phased in over 5 years. At the moment this only applies to babies around a year old or younger, whereby the age restriction on using a forward facing car seat has increased.
The methodology behind the laws is also changing, to focus on a child’s length, or height, rather than their weight. The rules are also adapting to accommodate iSize car seats, which should be available for all age groups and usable in almost all vehicles as each phase of these changes is rolled out. iSize car seats use ISOFIX fittings in your car and will have been more rigorously tested than the current ECE R44/04 standard, which is the mandatory test at the moment.
Not your child? Still your responsibility
The law also states that it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that a child is appropriately restrained in a car, in compliance with the new car seat guidelines. This means that if you give your friend’s child or your niece/nephew a lift, you must ensure that they are also adequately protected.
Whilst these laws are changing to ensure your car seat does the best job possible for your child, they still do not tackle the issue of the seat belt. Seat belts in general are not designed with children in mind, which is why they so easily slip off a child’s shoulder, or irritate a child’s neck/shoulder enough so that the child removes it or places it behind their body, offering little protection. The huggybelt aims to combat this issue by allowing freedom of movement whilst retaining the seat belt in the correct position. This is the ideal accompaniment to a safe and compliant car seat to ensure your child is best protected when travelling.