New laws on child restraints inside cars will be introduced in September 2006.
Current laws state: –
Children under 150cm tall and aged 3-11 years old are allowed to travel in an adult’s seat belt, provided that no child restraint has been fitted.
The new legislation states:
* Children under 135 cm and children aged 3-11 years old must be seated in a booster or child seat (designed to be worn with an adult belt) that is appropriate for their weight and age.
Children over 135cm (or 12 years old) must wear an adult seatbelt if one is available.
These rules must be followed until the child turns 14 years old, when the driver becomes responsible for their safety.
The Department of Transport believes that by making sure children are properly restrained and not allowed adult seatbelts to be used until they are tall enough to work, it will prevent 2,000 child deaths and injuries.
Failure to follow these regulations will result in a fixed penalty fine up to PS30, or, if the case proceeds towards court, a maximum fine of PS500.
In emergencies, vehicles without seatbelts and children riding in taxis are exceptions.
Information on child-seat safety can be obtained from the Child Accident Prevention Trust, http://www.capt.org.uk or from the government’s website http://www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk there’s a question and answer section on government website which is very comprehensive and seems to answer every question you could think of.
There are many car seats on the market. However, it is important to ensure that they conform to safety standards set by the European Union. It’s worth buying a car seat that can be adjusted for your child as they grow.
The Recaro Start seat is available for purchase starting at PS200. It will take your child’s age from 9 months to 12 and give you an idea of the cost.
The Evolva 23 seat from Britax is adjustable and suitable to children up to 15kg and 36kg. It can also be used for children as tall as 135cm (5ft 5ins). You can extend the back of the seat to support the child’s head as they grow. The cost is around PS65
A rear-facing approved car seat, which can be fitted in either the front passenger or back seat of a car, is acceptable for babies up to 9 months old or 13kg. If an airbag has been installed, it must not be used in front.
Many suppliers offer a fitting service. It is important to ensure that the seat fits properly before it is fitted.
The Department of Transport has set the 18 September date. You must comply with the new rules after that date.
These laws must be complied with. Regular carers and parents are not the only ones that need to be “car seat-ready”. Sometimes, you may take your grandchild, 9 years old, out with yourself. There was no need to take any special steps prior to September 18. You will need to purchase a booster seat or a seat after this date.
Your insurance might not pay out if you are involved in an accident with your child(ren) and your child/children are not in a approved booster seat or car seat. This could result in a substantial personal claim against the driver.
Please take this note, parents and occasionally carers.