No matter what vehicle you drive, there’s no cargo more precious than your child. As the home of family friendly motoring in Liverpool, Motor Range wants nothing more than to keep our friends and customers safe and legal on the road so we’ve already had a look at new car seat laws - here’s what you need to know...

From 1st of March 2017, new child car seat laws introduced in the UK are designed to keep babies and children safer while they travel in your vehicle. The revised ‘i-Size’ regulations are based on the height of your child, rather than weight and encourage parents to use rear-facing baby seats for longer and high backed booster seats for older children.

The reasons are simple - in a front crash, passengers continue to move in the direction of the car, restrained only by the seat belt. Heads, arms and legs keep going, which is what causes whiplash and knee damage in even the smallest of bumps. A baby’s neck muscles don’t develop fully until they are 15 months old so while adults can control some of the movement that results from a collision, babies and young children can’t withstand the force so well.

In fact, during a frontal impact in a forward-facing car seat, a baby's neck is subjected to a force in the region of 300kg or 47 stone! On the other hand, infant car seats placed in a rear-facing position provide support for a baby’s neck and brace the head against movement towards the front of the car, making use of the baby’s strongest part of their body - the back.

Where older children are concerned, rear-facing i-Size seats can still be used up to the age of four-years-old and booster seats must now have high backs, which provide some protection in the case of a side impact collision.

Once the top of your toddler’s head appears past the top of the i-Size rear-facing seat (approx 105cm or 3’ 5”), it’s time to transfer to a forward facing high-backed car seat.

Under the new rules, the familiar backless booster seats may only be used after your child has reached 125cm (4’ 1”) tall or 22kg (3st 6lb), and retailers will not be permitted to knowingly sell or market these seats for use with smaller children.  

Children will not be permitted to travel without any kind of seating aid until they are over 12-years-old or 135cm (4’ 5”) tall whereafter they must stick to the same rules as adults concerning seat belts.

Got it? Let’s re-cap:

  • The new i-Size car seat regulations mean that babies must sit rear-facing until they’re at least 15 months old. 

  • Some rear-facing i-Size car seats can be used up to the age of 4-years-old.

  • The rear-facing car seats should only be used until the child’s head reaches the top of the back of the seat (approx. 105cm/ 3’ 5”).

  • HIgh backed booster seats must be used until the child is taller than 125cm (4ft 1’) or weighs at least 3st 6lb (22kg)

  • Booster seats, with or without a back must then continue to be used until the child is at least 12-years-old or 135cm/4’5” tall.

  • Retailers are not allowed to sell backless booster seats for use with children shorter than 125cm (4ft 1’) or weighing less than 22kg (3st 6lb).

If you already have a backless booster seat and are using it in line with the restrictions above, you needn’t change anything.

Of course nobody wants to be involved in a car accident. Our aim at Motor Range is to help keep you and your family as safe and legal on the road as possible. So, take a look at your car seating arrangements now and make sure your little ones are protected.