Child car seat laws on the move

Posted on March 31st, 2017 by Rob Marshall


Despite being a technical consultant for GEM, I find the current child seat safety requirements (which can be read here) particularly unmemorable. I prefer to rely on the knowledge of my local, trained, friendly retailer to guide me through the best way to preserve my ‘little darlings’.

Yet, it appears that I am not alone. According to, which commissioned the research, 66% of parents do not understand the current rules and 56% are unaware of the latest regulations.

If you missed them, the basic premise of changes that came into force from the 1st March is to encourage the use of high-backed child seats, which are reputed to offer a greater level of protection than a booster cushion alone. So,…

When did the new child booster seat laws change?

1st March 2017.

What changed?

Backless booster seats, bought after 1st March, will be approved only for children weighing more than three stones 6.5 pounds (22kg).

Confusingly, older backless booster seats, bought before 1st March, can be used as before.

Tanya Robinson, Child Safety Centre Manager at the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), provides a degree of clarification, by stating that, while the latest changes affect the types of new child restraint available, there is no ban on older backless booster seats. The current situation means that new booster cushions will be suitable only for children weighing over 22kg and 125cm in height.

Yet, she adds,

“TRL recommends, where possible, that parents use a high-back booster seat.”

Neil Worth, GEM’s Road Safety and Motoring Information Officer, says “Parents need to ensure that child restraints are correct for their child’s height and weight so that they offer maximum protection in the event of an impact. Never buy second-hand restraints, as their safety properties may be compromised in-use, from a previous accident, or even from the use of certain cleaning chemicals”.

Further information can be found at