Booster Seat Legislation
Everything you need to know about Age for booster rules & legislation
Age for booster. Whatever stage your little one is at, you always want to keep them safe on the move by using an appropriate booster seat or car seat. However, the laws around booster seats and car seats can sometimes be confusing, and it’s difficult to know which one you should use. To help, we’ve pulled together all the rules and regulations you need to know about when your child should use a booster seat.
What is a booster seat?
Booster seats raise a child’s body to a suitable height so that they can be secured using an adult seatbelt. Unlike child seats, they don’t have their own fastening system and solely use the seatbelt to secure the child. Simple to use, there are two types of booster seats available:
- Backless booster seats: these don’t have a back or headrest and help to position your child to fit into the car’s seatbelt.
- High-back booster seats: have a back and a headrest that offer padded protection for a child’s head and neck. High-back models are viewed as a safer way for your child to travel as they offer greater side-impact protection and are more comfortable for long journeys.
What is the law on booster seats?
So, when can you use a booster seat to transport your child? Here are the current laws you need to know:
- All children must travel in a car seat (including booster seats) until they are either 12 years old or 135cm (150cm in Republic of Ireland) in height, whichever comes first.
- Backless booster seats: Any new backless booster seats can only be used by children who weigh 22kg or more. If they weigh less than this, they’ll need to either use a car seat or a high-back booster seat (see below).
- High-back booster seats: On the other hand, booster seats with backs can be used by children weighing between 15-36kg. Again, before they reach this weight, they’ll need to use a car seat.
By following these laws, you can ensure that your child always travels in an appropriate seat. Plus, by sticking to the weight guide of your chosen car seat and buying from a reputable retailer, you can be sure that the model will have been tested appropriately with child safety ratings and will be approved for safe use for as long as recommended.
If you want to learn more about booster seats and car seats, head over to our Car Seats Buyers Guide.
Child car seats: the law
Using a child car seat or booster seat
Children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimeters tall, whichever comes first.
Children over 12 or more than 135cm tall must wear a seat belt.
You can choose a child car seat based on your child’s height or weight.
Height-based seats are known as ‘i-Size’ seats. They must be rear-facing until your child is over 15 months old. Your child can use a forward-facing child car seat when they’re over 15 months old.
You must check the seat to make sure it’s suitable for the height of your child.
Only EU-approved height-based child car seats can be used in the UK. These have a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle and ‘R129’.
The seat your child can use (and the way they must be restrained in it) depends on their weight.
Only EU-approved weight-based child car seats can be used in the UK. These have a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle and ‘ECE R44’.
You may be able to choose from more than one type of seat in the group for your child’s weight.
|0kg to 10kg||0||Lie-flat or ‘lateral’ baby carrier, rear-facing baby carrier, or rear-facing baby seat using a harness|
|0kg to 13kg||0+||Rear-facing baby carrier or rear-facing baby seat using a harness|
|9kg to 18kg||1||Rear- or forward-facing baby seat using a harness or safety shield|
|15kg to 25kg||2||Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield|
|22kg to 36kg||3||Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield|
Manufacturers can now only make booster cushions approved as group 3. This won’t affect any existing booster cushions in group 2 and you’ll still be able to use them.
Fitting a child’s car seat Age for booster
You must only use a child car seat if your car’s seat belt has a diagonal strap, unless the seat is either:
- specifically designed for use with a lap seat belt
- fitted using ISOFIX anchor points
You must also:
- deactivate any front airbags before fitting a rear-facing baby seat in a front seat
- not fit a child car seat in side-facing seats
The Child Car Seat website has information on how to choose a seat and travel safely with children in cars.
Children with disabilities or medical conditions – Age for booster
The same rules apply to children with disabilities or medical conditions, but they can use a disabled person’s seat belt or a child restraint designed for their needs.
A doctor can issue an exemption certificate if a child is unable to use a restraint or seat belt because of their condition.