Your first booster seat purchase may seem deceptively simple, but there are several factors to consider. Many are motivated by pricing, often prioritising their budget over other booster seat components. However, it’s crucial to compile several pieces of information before you buy, including your child’s height and weight, and the make and model of your vehicle. It may seem tedious but paying close attention to these details ensures your child is never left at risk. Before you make your final selection, ensure your booster seat meets all the necessary requirements.
Before Purchase Checklist
During your booster seat shopping trip, there are some key points to consider before making a final decision:
- Purpose: Think about how you’ll use your booster seat. Is it for everyday travel or occasional trips? If your car is not equipped with an ISOFIX bar, then a high-back booster seat should be the solution for your everyday car seat. For occasional trips, unexpected journeys with relatives, taxi rides, transfers during the holidays, etc. you could choose a backless booster seat.
- Fit: Does it fit your child’s age and weight, as indicated by the orange approval label? Also, when you test the seat, is your child properly restrained? The chest strap should rest on the collarbone, the lap belt on the hip bones.
- Compatibility: Does the seat fit into your vehicle?
- Expiry Date: Is it still valid? Every child car seat is different and usually lasts between five and nine years after manufacture. Please, always check the user guide to find out the seat’s expiration date.
- Installation: Is the installation easy (i.e. something you can repeat daily without an instruction manual), or is it too complex?
- Authenticity: There has been a rise in counterfeit booster seats since 2012. These seats have not been crash tested and don’t meet UK standards. Using them leaves your child at risk and could lead to serious injury. Always purchase your seat through an authorized retailer.
Adult seat belt only?
As your children get older, they start protesting sitting in a child car seat and in the end, it’s common to think your vehicle’s adult belt is sufficient to protect them. However, this is never advised. Yet more than 30% of UK parents admit to their kids travelling with no safety seat at all. Failure to comply with the child car seat regulations can land you a steep £500 fine, and even worse, leave your child at risk in the event of an accident.
UK law does permit some circumstances in which it’s allowable to travel around without a booster seat; it’s an acknowledgement that times arise when it’s simply impossible to carry a bulky seat. But you should do everything in your power to ensure ultimate protection for your child. However, until recently there hasn’t been a viable solution to this problem.
The benefits of mifold
mifold is a portable booster seat that was created for parents on the go. In those moments when your everyday booster seat is unavailable, mifold ensures your child is never unrestrained. Using mifold is easy. It adjusts the adult-sized seatbelt to fit your child’s height and weight, pulling the lap belt over the hip bones and the chest strap over the collarbone. mifold is certified for children in Groups 2 and 3 and has an ECE R44 approval label. It’s 100% compliant with UK law, and it can be a life-saver. mifold is for every child, in every car, on every journey, every time!
What is the UK Law?
The UK law requires a car or booster seat for all children until they are either 12 years old or 135 centimeters tall. The booster seat must meet strict EU standards; this is designated by an E symbol on the booster seat’s label. Additionally, the seat must be the correct fit for the child’s age and size.
Booster Seats in UK
Before launching into explaining the booster seat categories and groups, it’s more relevant to explain that owning a backless booster seat with the ECE R44.4 approval label sealed on the item – even if bought before or after the new regulations were released – means that it is STILL LEGAL and SAFE to use and buy. The orange approval label will tell you exactly for which age and weight the child car seat has been tested and approved!
In the official government regulations, you’ll note designations between height-based seats and weight-based seats. Booster seats are considered weight-based seats, which are typically used for children aged 4-12 years old. Weight-based seats have an orange approval label that contains the code “ECE R44”. There are two categories:
- High-back booster seats
- Backless booster seats
By Law, children’s car seats are subjected to accident simulation testing. Regulated “ECE R44” seats undergo frontal collision testing at a speed of 50km/h and rear impact collision testing at 30km/h. These two booster seat options undergo the same crash-tests: frontal collision at 50 km/h and rear impact collision at 30 km/h.
- Group 2: This seat is most appropriate for children whose weight falls between 15-25 kg, and they’re usually aged between 4-6 years
- Group 2/3: This seat accommodates children weighing between 15-36 kg and aged between 4-12 years
- Group 3: This seat is suitable for children weighing between 22-36 kg and aged between 6-12 years
We encourage caregivers to use the most protective car seat available that is suitable to the child, the circumstances and the vehicle being used.
A booster seat purchase is one of the most important purchases you’ll make. Stay informed, ask the right questions, and keep your child safe.