Parents are still getting to grips with the latest laws around backless booster seats, one year after the rules were announced.
New research reveals 9 in 10 (88%) mums and dads are still perplexed by the law, which bans the production of backless booster seats for children below a certain weight. The law, which came into force in February 2017, extends the use of booster seats with backs to taller and heavier children.
The research proves parents are still in the dark with one in four (26%) admitting they think the rules are unclear. Confused dot com has created a child car seat calculator to guide mums and dads in right direction. The calculator helps baffled parents identify which car seat group their child belongs to, based on their age and weight.
Using the calculator will not only keep parents on the right side of the law, but can help them find the safest solution for their child. However, the research found some parents are, seemingly, so confused about which car seat is best they are giving up on using them all together. In fact, one in five (18%) parents with children under the age of 12 admit they never or rarely use a car seat for their child. And, even more worryingly, more than two in five (42%) parents who have been in an accident while their child was in the vehicle admit their kids were either not in a car seat or wearing a seatbelt at the time.
It is concerning parents are seemingly flouting the rules due to the complexity of the law. The current law states children must use the correct car seat for their height, age and weight until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever they reach first. Under the new rules, backless booster seats are deemed unsuitable for children shorter than 125cm and weighing less than 22kg – this is the average height and weight of children between six and eight years old. Whereas before backless booster seats were only unsuitable for children weighing less than 15kg.
Perplexingly, the new rules, introduced last February, will only apply to manufacturers bringing new products on the market. So parents who already own and use backless boosters, bought before this date, will still be permitted to use them for younger children. Seemingly, one rule for manufacturers and another rule for parents may send mixed messages about the safety of backless boosters.
Crucially, parents or drivers caught carrying a child under the age of 14 while not buckled up correctly can face fines up to £500. Confused.com issued a Freedom of Information request to 38 police forces, revealing 4,648 child seatbelt violations were recorded between 2016 and 2017. And, according to parents, 1 in 10 (10%) admit they have been pulled over by the police for driving while their child was not in car seat or wearing a seatbelt. Those who have been prosecuted for the offence say it has set them back £161 in fines on average.
Worryingly, many parents in the UK are putting themselves at risk of these hefty fines, as more than a quarter of parents (28%) have admitted to driving while their child was not in a suitable car seat. And almost a third (31%) claim they thought their child did not need one. Almost three in 10 (29%) also skipped out on using a car seat because they switched to another vehicle and didn’t transfer the seat over. While, shockingly, almost 1 in 10 (9%) blamed forgetfulness.