New regulations will come into force in the next few days but many are unaware of the rules.
There were more than 4,600 incidents of UK drivers breaking child seatbelt laws in 2015, with more than 19,000 offences between 2013 and 2015.
With new booster seat laws launching on Thursday, research reveals two thirds of parents do not fully understand the current booster seat height, age and weight regulations.
Worryingly, just 56 per cent of parents are aware new laws are due to come into force and only 13 per cent actually know what the rules are.
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The current regulations are understandably hard to understand and the new changes may make it even trickier for parents to keep their children safe
Currently all children travelling in a vehicle must use the correct car seat for their height, age and weight until they are either 12 years old or 135cm tall – whichever comes first.
Children who weigh as little as 2st 4lbs are allowed to travel in backless booster seats.
But under new rules, coming into force on Thursday, backless booster seats will only be approved to children who are taller than 125cam and weigh more than 3st 6.5lbs.
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New child booster seat laws are due to come into force
However, parents who bought backless booster seats before the law changes can still use the seats after Thursday.
The new law will only apply to new products appearing on the market sparking calls for the Government to simplify the rules.
Research commissioned by Confused.com found more than a third of parents admit to occasionally not using a booster seat for this child.
Excuses for not using a booster seat for their child range from “only taking a short journey” to “forgetting to transfer the booster seat between cars”.
Tanya Robinson, child safety manager at Transport Research Laboratory, said: “There is a large amount of uncertainty among parents and carers about the latest changes to child restraint regulations. Whilst this latest change will affect the types of child restraint available in future, there is not going to be a ban on boosters.
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There were more than 4,600 incidents of UK drivers breaking child seatbelt laws in 2015
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New rules will apply to backless booster seats from Thursday February 9
“Regardless of the detail of the regulations, it is vital that parents ensure that their child is in the correct type of seat for their height and weight, as this will allow for maximum protection in the event of an accident.
“Parents faced with the growing range and style of seats should remember there is no race to move a child into the next type of seat because they get older. Ensure that the car seat you choose is appropriate for your child’s weight, height and age and that it fits well in your vehicle.”
Confused.com’s motoring editor Amanda Stretton warned parents can face fines for failing to use the correct booster for their child.
She said: “The current regulations are understandably hard to understand and the new changes may make it even trickier for parents to keep their children safe.
“The fact that car seats bought before the law change will still be acceptable to use sends mixed messages. The Government needs to simplify the messaging around backless car seat use so there is no misunderstanding over what is and is not safe.
Tanya Robinson said there is not going to be a ban on boosters
“Parents must also be aware of the potential cost consequences of having an accident with their child in the car.
“Nearly half do not replace their child’s car seat after a crash.
“However, parents should always replace booster seats after an accident, even if there is no obvious damage, as they may become weakened and unable to provide the same level of protection should a second collision occur. “Regulatory approved car seats can cost in the region of £80 to £350.
“If parents are caught travelling with their child in the car without the correct booster for their age, height and weight, they could face a £100 fine.”
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