The UKs Weird Child Car Seat Laws

We had revelation recently. Delilah, who is tall, is 9 years old and has been on a back-less car booster seat for a while. But a revelation came when she sat in the middle seat (i.e. directly in the sight line of my rear view mirror) recently and I realised she was very high up. I wondered – is she now too tall for a booster?

I checked on the UK government website for the laws on such things and read the following:

Children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres 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.

So out came the tape measure…

She was 145 (and a bit) cm tall – a whopping 10cm above the limit. She is no longer require to use a booster. A milestone reached, a sad day even.

But I’m not here to dwell on the sentimentality of my daughter reaching this milestone. No, I want to question the law itself.

One would presume that the specification for the 135cm limit were born out of some sort of scientific testing. Physicists, biomechanics or some such experts  somewhere working out the optimum for the safety of children in car seats. But to then add the age limit too completely negates the height limit – doesn’t it?

What about a small 12 year old – one that is far shorter than 135cm tall? They are out there, my 13 year old daughter had a friend who is much shorter than that. It happens, there’s nothing wrong with being short at all. But, for example, if a child of 11 years and 364 days is under 135cm then how can that same child suddenly be ok the day after on their 12th birthday?

Is it just me or is this law just a little crazy?

I’d much prefer a law based solely on the science and safety rather than bringing age into it. Yes, some short 12 year olds would think their street cred was being damaged by having to use a booster, but what’s worse – damaged ego or damage body?

Thanks for reading and I’d appreciate your comments.


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