New regulations regarding children’s car seats have come into effect across Essex, but new research released by Smyths Toys Superstores in Chelmsford reveals that parents are set to fall foul of the new law, as confusion reigns over what exactly ‘it’ is.
The rules brought in across the European Union change how backless booster seats are made. The new regulations state that manufacturers are not allowed to introduce new models of backless booster seats for children shorter than 125cm or weighing less than 22kg.
The change does not affect existing models of seats or cushions and does not mean that they are unsafe or illegal, but parents are being urged by the Department for Transport to know the rules for children in cars.
Existing legislation also states that, ‘Children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first’ and that all ‘children over 12 or more than 135cm tall must wear a seat belt’.
However, the Smyths Toys Superstores study shows that 31 per cent of parents are completely unaware that a change in the law is being introduced, whilst 50 per cent know of the change, but are unaware of the detail.
Additionally, 34 per cent of parents believe the change in regulation relates to babies not being allowed in a forward-facing seat until they are fifteen months olds, whilst one in ten thought the law was being amended to state that booster seats must be professionally installed by a retailer as of 1st March.
Despite the fact that the legislation is accessible to all online, 69 per cent of parents say it is hard to access the correct information about car seat safety regulations, with 78 per cent saying that the current car seat regulations are confusing for parents.
Kevin Clinton, the Head of Road Safety at The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) said:
“Car seat confusion can cause chaos, especially when it is amended, but it is important that the Government, car seat and vehicle manufacturers and indeed parents, all move with the times as and when improvements to safety can be implemented.”
Sinead Byrne, Joint Head of Marketing at Smyths Toys Superstores said:
“The legislation can be complex and access to it – if you don’t have the internet – can be hard to find. All of our retail assistants will be on-hand ready to advise on the changes from today and to help parents selecting car seats for their children.”