Whether it’s your second or third stage seat, eventually your child will need to move up to a booster seat that uses the seatbelt to hold them in. In March 2017 the much talked about change to the law for booster seats came into force; with a lot of news outlets using phrases like “backless booster ban” causing a lot of panic and confusion.
So What Has Changed?
This law only really affects manufacturers, as they must reclassify new models of backless booster cushions under a higher minimum weight.
- High-backed boosters stay as group 2/3 and are suitable for 15 to 36kg
- Backless booster cushions are now group 3 only and suitable for 22 to 36kg
There is also a suggested minimum height of 125cm, and approximate age of 6 years old for using these new backless booster cushions.
So What Does This Mean for Me?
If you have a high-backed booster seat or a backless booster seat has been on the market before March 2017, you don’t need to do anything! These will tell you they’re classified for weights of 15 to 36kg and they’re still perfectly legal to use.
Newer models will clearly state that they’re either for 15 to 36kg or 22 to 36kg where appropriate, so always make sure you check the weights, and check your instructions.
Children need to be in an appropriate booster seat until they are 135cm or reach 12 years of age. This can differ in other countries, as Ireland it is up to 150cm!
I would always recommend that a child use a high-backed booster for as long as possible, but there will be situations where you just can’t fit them safely in your vehicle especially if you’re trying to fit three people in the back of your car, remember that it’s always better to have a safely fitted seat whether it’s backless or not, compared to something that’s not suitable or nothing at all!
Some booster seats can have ISOFIX, which can often have another name like SEATFIX, ISOSAFE or ISOFIT depending on the brand, these can be fixed bars like most other seats or sometimes Soft Latch or SL, where the hooks are on flexible cord.
For boosters this is less of a safety mechanism, as the seat belt is what’s doing all the work of holding the child and the seat in place, it’s designed to hold the seat in place when empty so it doesn’t fly around the car and hit you in the back of the head!
What to Look For?
- Side Impact Protection – We’re seeing a trend here! With boosters some will have the impact protection built in and be quite bulky around the shoulders, with others that have add on shock absorbers or those that screw outwards that help conserve space
- Size – Most boosters only increase in height, and that can vary between 135 or 150cm, but some will also grow in width which can be great for broader children, but not as great if you need to get three in the back!
- Extra safety features – Some seats have advanced safety features like a side rotation away from energy in a crash, or separate pads for the shoulder and lap belts that help absorb more energy away from the child. It’s always worth looking at models that give you a bit extra
- Extra comfort features – As a booster seat is designed to last a long time, you’ll want to make sure your child is comfortable. Some seats have leg rests, or cup holders or even speakers built in to help your child feel comfortable and happy on longer journeys.
Unlike other groups of seat the angle of recline is not a big issue, children should be more upright with the back of the booster flush to the back of the vehicle seat. Some booster seats may feature a slight recline, but it’s a very uncommon feature for this type of seat!
Take a look at our range of group 2/3 car seats – https://www.uberkids.com/uk/car-seats/car-seats/group-2-3/