New rules introduced later this year will see backless booster seats banned for younger children.
Currently children weighing as little as 15kg, around three years old, can travel in backless booster seats.
They must stay in them until they are 12, or at least 135cm tall.
But many child car seat experts agree that this type of booster seat is unsuitable for such young children.
So what are the new rules?
Under the new rules, backless booster seats will only be approved for use for children taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg.
This is because a small child isn't held as securely in a backless seat. The adult seat belt isn't guided across their little body in the best way, and, most importantly, a booster seat offers no protection for a child if your car's involved in a side-impact crash.
How do the seats compare?
A backless booster seat, also known as a booster cushion, currently satisfies the legal car seats law requirement for children up to 135cm tall, and they're temptingly cheap to buy (about £6-£30), but Which? magazine doesn't recommend them, especially for younger children.
High-backed child car seats might be more expensive, but have been found to be safer.
Which? child car seat expert Lisa Galliers says: "A decent high-backed booster seat provides better protection in a front crash, as they're designed to guide the adult seat-belt across the child's body properly, and our crash tests prove they offer much more protection in a side-impact crash that a backless booster seat alone."
Do I need to buy a new seat?
The new additions to the child car seats regulations should come into effect in December 2016, but will only apply to any new products appearing on the market.
So parents looking to buy a booster seat next year should start to see that they're not approved for use with children under 125cm and 22kg.
Parents who have a booster seat now will still be able to use the seat without breaking any rules.
Child car seat law
- UK law states that children must use a child car seat until they're 12 years old or 135cm/4ft 5in tall, whichever comes first.
- Safety experts recommend that you use a child car seat for all children under 150cm/4ft 11in. This height is the legal requirement in Ireland and also some European countries, such as Germany and France.
- Children under three must be in a child car seat. If there’s no room for a third child seat in the back of your vehicle. Children aged three or under can use the front seat but they must be in a child car seat.
- You can’t take children under three on an unexpected journey in a vehicle without a seat belt or the correct child car seat. The only exception to this rule is if it's in a licensed taxi or minicab and the rear seats are separated from the driver by a fixed partition and the child travels on the rear seats.
- If you ignore the law you are liable to a find of £500 if you go to court.
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