The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

New booster seats ban explained

New booster seats ban explained

There have been many reports regarding the new stricter rules which may be coming out about booster cushions and this has caused much confusion.

This proposed change is a new amendment to the current regulation R44 and will only apply to new approved products. This means that parents who currently have booster cushions can legally continue to use them as they have been.

However, if the proposed amendment goes through, this would potentially mean that parents buying new backless booster seats (booster cushions) in 2017 would only be able to use them for children above 125cm in height and 22kg in weight.

It has not actually been confirmed that a new addition to the child car seat regulations will be coming into effect in December 2016.

Currently, it is in discussions and yet to be voted on. However, there is only one more stage of approval to go through and is unlikely to get rejected at that stage.



There are currently two child car seat regulations running alongside each other – R44.04, which are the weight based car seats, and R129, which is a new regulation.

R129 is making seats easier to choose, fit and use. However, R44.04 weight based approved seats will still be sold, legal and safe for some years to come. One of the key features of R44 is that child seats are chosen based on weight:

Group 0+ (infant seats) – 0 to 13kg
Group 1 (toddler seats) – 9kg to 18kg
Group 2,3 (Booster seats) – 15kg to 36kg

Part of the problem with R44, is that children tend to be moved up a stage as soon as they reach the minimum weight limit for the next stage, when it is actually safer for them to stay in each stage seat until they reach the maximum weight limit for their current stage. A step up in group stage is a step down in safety.

R44.04 currently allows boosters, even booster cushions, to be approved from 15kg – this can legally be a child as young as 2 years or less! While the weight limit is the main factor, there are also height considerations to take into account. A child can be 15kg in weight, yet still be far too small to use a booster.

Children's bones are very different from adults, and their hips and pelvis are very small and set far back. The hips and pelvis are what helps to keep a seat belt in place, and absorb energy. These bones are not really strong enough for a seat belt until a child is around 4 years of age. There are 25kg harness limit seats for children who reach the 18kg harness weight limit at a young age.


Children under 125cm in height and 22kg weight will not be allowed to use a newly type approved (R44.04 supplement 11) booster cushion, but can still use booster cushions that were approved prior to this change after December 2016, if the proposed amendment is approved. They will have to use a high back booster.

We always recommend that children travel in the high back booster if they are the correct weight and height for it, and fit comfortably within the headrest. A high back booster provides additional head, neck and torso protection.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly at enquiries@goodeggsafety.com



**​UPDATE** Legislation review has been postponed to 2017, Good Egg Safety is awaiting an official response from DFT.

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One third of 8 to 11 year olds not using the mandatory booster seat, says new report

One third of 8 to 11 year olds not using the mandatory booster seat, says new report

A shocking 34 per cent of 8 to 11-year olds in the UK are not using a booster seat on car journeys when one is required, according to a new report by Good Egg Safety.

Current UK law requires all children under 12 or less than 135cm in height to use a booster seat.

Using a booster seat provides older children with crucial protection. Parents have been advised to invest in a high-back booster seat for extra protection for older children, rather than a booster cushion.

Sarah-Jane Martin, spokesperson for Brake, the road safety charity said: "These figures are very worrying and show that we're not taking child car seat safety seriously enough. It's vital that all parents understand that it's not just toddlers who need protecting. We're supporting Good Egg Safety with this important awareness raising campaign and ask all parents to ensure that their child has the appropriate safety seat fitted."

Honor Byford, Chair of Road Safety GB, the charity that supports road safety professionals, said: "We know that every parent's strongest instinct is to protect their children. The legislation on booster seats changed to ensure that booster seats provide the level of protection that children's smaller bodies need in the event of a crash. This keeps them on a booster seat for longer than used to be the case. We urge parents to check out the legal requirements and keep their children on the right booster seat for as long as their child needs that extra protection – which is until they are tall enough for an adult seatbelt to fit their body.

Good Egg provides excellent, clear information and advice to help parents, grandparents and carers to provide the best protection for their children when they are travelling by car.

Your local road safety team will also be pleased to help and advise you on this or any road safety matter. You can find their contact details through the Road Safety GB website"

Kat Furlong Good Egg Safety Manager and Training Expert added: "A high-back booster is far more preferable to a booster cushion, to provide children with adequate head, neck and torso protection from side impacts, which booster cushions do not offer. We implore parents to buy these instead and ensure they are the right seat for their child and car"

The Good Egg Safety checks also showed that a high number of booster seats – both high-back models and cushions – were being used unsafely. In many instances, the seat belt was not routed properly around the child and seat, which would drastically reduce the seat's effectiveness in a collision.

Mark Bennett, Senior Technical and Training Manager Europe, Britax said

"It's imperative that older children do use the correct restraint system when travelling in a car until they no longer need so – when they're 135cm tall or 12 years old whichever comes sooner. High-back booster seats will not only guide and control the position of the adult seat belt correctly over the child's pelvis and shoulder but it will also give the much needed side and head protection in a road accident. As Britax we will continue campaigning on the safety benefits of high-back boosters and help save lives."

The National Police Chiefs' Council lead for roads policing Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said;

"The use of seatbelts and booster seats is an essential, effective method of reducing child fatalities and serious injuries in motor vehicle collisions. That's why their correct use is not a matter of choice, it is the law."

"I have no doubt that correctly used seat restraints for children have helped protect the most vulnerable from needless death and serious injury. So don't take any chances. "

For more information on booster seats, visit www.goodeggcarsafety.com/blog/goodmorningbritain

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Booster cushions - Are they safe?

Mythbuster:  Booster cushions do not offer side impact protection – Fact or Myth?

 

FACT!


Booster cushions are unable to offer any side impact protection to children.

 

Why don't they offer side impact protection?


The current child seat approval standard, Regulation 44 (R44) does not include side impact testing.  This means that seats can be sold that do not offer any side impact protection to children.  Car seats undergo many component safety tests, and the crash test consists of one frontal impact at 32mph, a rear impact at 18mph, and a roll over test.*

There are additional crash tests that seats may undergo, such as the ADAC test, WHICH and the German Stiftung Warentest.  These all test to 40mph frontal impact, and they do include a side impact test. Booster cushions do not pass the side impact test.

Side impact testing has become mandatory under the new child seat approval standard R129 iSize.  R129 iSize began in 2013, and will not be fully implemented until 2018.  Both R44 and R129 approvals are running alongside each other, and will do some for some time after 2018.

*please note, R44.01 and R44.02 approved seats are illegal to use.  Only seats that carry a R44.03, R44.04 or R129 label are legal.

 

Why don’t booster cushions pass a side impact test?


Booster cushions are a belt positioning device, they are simply designed to lift your child up enough so that the adult seat belt restrains them correctly.  They do not offer any additional protection.

They don’t pass a side impact test because they do not have a back and side wings to cushion a child from the force of a collision, and they do not place a child near the vehicles side impact protection – children do not benefit from the vehicle’s side and curtain airbags.

Side Impact Test - Booster Cushion v High Back Booster

 

Why is side impact protection so important to have in your child's car seat?


Side impacts account for 1 in 4 collisions, and they account for 20% of all child road traffic collision fatalities.  When you also take into account that a vehicle's side impact protection is designed for adults, and not children, the best way to protect them is with a seat that has passed side impact testing.

Children do not benefit from a vehicle's side impact protection system, so no matter how much tech your car has, a highly tested car seat is essential.

 

Do Good Egg Safety recommend booster cushions?


No, we do not recommend booster cushions.  They do not offer the same protection for children as high back boosters.  We encourage parents and carers to use high back boosters when their children have outgrown their group 1, or group 1,2 harnessed car seats.

 

What about for short trips/friends' cars/emergencies?


A collision can happen at any time, and it doesn’t make allowances for your child being in a friend’s car, or it being a short trip.  Your child should use the correct seat for their weight and height on every journey.  However, as an absolute last resort, a booster cushion is better than nothing at all.  If your child is going to use a cushion, they must be the correct weight and height for it.

 

Any other concerns?


Booster cushions are very open to misuse, and as they often don’t route the chest belt comfortably for children, they are more likely to put the belt under their arm or behind them.  This is extremely dangerous and puts a child at significantly increased risk of serious injury, or worse.



wrong booster OL

 

Another problem with booster cushions is the lack of torso support, children are far more likely to lean out of the seat belt when they fall asleep, hugely reducing their protection in a collision.

 

Why are booster cushions allowed to be sold?


Booster cushions are allowed to be sold because they pass the R44 test.  They allow the adult seat belt to hold the child in place during a frontal collision - they do not have to go through a side impact test.

 

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