When it comes to buying car seats, it is seriously overwhelming. There are so many choices, ones that last for one stage, ones that last for two stages and then three stages. I didn’t even realise there were three stages! Then you have rear facing or forward facing, the money to consider, you obviously want the best for your child but that can also be very expensive and life adjusting to having another person to provide for and the not so great maternity pay may not allow you to get the one you would like. Just as you think you may be getting your head around everything and have narrowed your choices down, you hear about the new law which throws everything up in the air once again.
However, according to the Department of Transport, no new law has actually passed. Car seat safety for children over the age of 15 months is currently being reviewed but no dates have been set for any changes yet.
The current law states that all children travelling in a car must use the correct car seat appropriate to their weight or height, until they are either 135cm in height 12 years in age, whichever they reach first.
Children up to the age of 3 must travel in either a rearward or forward facing car seat, which is properlystrapped into the car seat with a 5-point harness or impact shield.
All children aged from 3 to the age of 12 (or 1.35m height) must use the correct car seat. It is important to get advice and buy car seats from a reputable store.
The legislation called i-Size, was introduced in July 2013 as part of the new UN safety standard for car seats. New UK legislation came into force on 27 March and 1 April 2015. This doesn’t replace the current legislation but sits alongside it. It’s likely to be 2018 for there to be enough i-Size compliant car seats in circulation, for i-Size to replace the current law and become the only safety standard. The i-Size laws are still being developed by safety experts, law makers, car seat manufactures and car makers.
One of the key differences to the current law is that i-Size requires children to stay in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least 15-months-old. Currently, only children under 9kg in weight have to sit in a rear-facing seats.
i-Size regulations also require greater side-impact protection, providing a safer environment for your child’s head and neck if you are involved in a crash.
The aim is also to make it easier to choose the right car seat. Under i-Size, car seat suitability will be measured by a child’s height, rather than their weight.