New child car seat regulations
Driving has changed considerably in the last thirty years. It now costs more than ever - in real terms, at least - to run a car, what with the ever-rising price of fuel and parking. In fact, the only thing that you are likely to get a better deal on is your motor insurance quotes. Even taking cheaper car insurance into account, the average motorist now spends £14 a day to keep their car on the road.
However, it isn't just the cost of running a car that has changed. Plenty of rules and regulations have been introduced in recent years in order to reduce the number of serious injuries sustained on the roads. Safety measures such as mandatory seatbelt wearing have been central in achieving this aim, and have had the additional benefit of reducing the cost of motor insurance quotes.
One of the more recent changes in the law has been regarding child seats, which was brought in on the 18th of September 2006. The new regulations mean that children under a certain age or height should not use adult seatbelts without an appropriate booster seat.
What the child seat regulations mean
The child seat regulations were brought in so that children travelling in cars would have the best possible protection in the event of an accident. Due to children's smaller stature, an adult seatbelt may well be positioned too high up on their stomach which could result in internal injuries in a crash.
In order to ensure that the force of an impact is absorbed in the best way, it needs to be spread over the strongest parts of a child's body. Children thus need special restraint systems that are appropriate to their size and age, which is the reason that there are several different types of child seat.
Baby seats are rear facing and should be used for young children that weigh up to 13kgs, which is generally up until they reach nine to 12 months. They should never be used in a front seat where an airbag is active, as the airbag could cause serious injury if it collided with the seat.
Child seats are forward facing and are appropriate for use by children weighing between 9kgs and 18kgs, which is approximately between the ages of nine months and four years. Once children reach 15kgs at around age four, they can start using a booster seat. The booster seat can be used from this point onwards or replaced with a booster cushion when the child reaches 22kgs at about the age of six.
The regulations state that it is the driver's responsibility to ensure that children up to three years are using an appropriate restraint at all times when being transported in a car. The only exception to this comes during transport in a taxi, when they can travel in the back without restraint if there is no child seat available.
Where seatbelts are fitted in a car, an appropriate restraint must be used by children aged between three and 12 years or until they have a height of more than 1.35. The only exceptions to this are if there is no appropriate seat in a taxi, if two occupied child restraints prevent the fitting of a third, or for a short distance in unexpected circumstances. In any of these cases, the child must use an adult seatbelt.
Once a child reaches the age of 14, they are considered to be an adult passenger who is responsible for ensuring they are wearing a seatbelt. From this point onwards, they must wear a seatbelt if it is available.
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Motor Insurance News ArchiveJune 2007
Car insurance news 2005