Why Mum Winnie Binned The Booster

New laws are expected to come into force early next year banning new “booster seats” for younger children – but one Teesside mum has already binned her son’s booster.

Winnie Cleasby, a Litigation Executive at Macks Solicitors, bought a booster seat three years ago for her son Joseph, who was then four, after he saw his friends using them and begged for one of his own.

“I noticed a lot of parents were using booster seats for their children and Joseph starting asking if he could use one instead of sitting in the ‘baby seat’,” she said. “I thought it seemed okay so we bought a Graco booster for about £18.”

However, she regretted the decision shortly afterwards when the family went away to the Lake District for a holiday.

“On the way there Joseph fell asleep and I was horrified to see that instead of sitting upright he was actually just flopped across the centre of the back seat,” explained Winnie.

“Obviously that’s not a great position to be in if you’re hit at speed. Then when he flopped the other way – towards the window – the seat belt was around his neck and his head was against the window!”

She immediately went back to using the high-backed Britax seat she had bought from an independent family retailer in Middlesbrough, W H Watts & Son, when Joseph was younger.

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“Garry Watts (the owner) took the time to explain the importance of making sure we had the right seat for our car and also stressed the importance of making sure Joseph’s car seat was rear-facing for as long as possible,” she said.

“Garry checked the seat was suitable for our car, fitted it and explained how everything worked. He was extremely knowledgeable.”

Even though she would still be able to buy a booster seat after the rules change because Joseph exceeds the minimum weight of 22kg, she has no intention of doing so.

“Joseph will be eight in January but the Britax seat will give him head and side protection for at least a couple more years,” she said.

Some experts believe children should continue to use a high-backed car seat until they are about 150cms tall (about 4ft 11ins). Many recommend buying an Isofix seat – which is firmly fixed to the vehicle – saying the £80 cost is a sound investment as it will last a child from the age of four to 11.

Currently, all children under the age of 12 or less than 135cms (4ft 4ins) tall must sit in a child seat while travelling in a car. But those children weighing more than 15kg (about 2st 4lbs) can currently use a backless booster seat, also known as a booster cushion.

That’s likely to change in early 2017, when such seats will only be allowed to be sold for children who are at least 135cms (4ft 1ins) and 22kg (just over 3st 6lbs). The change will only affect new seats, not those already on the market.


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