Parents could face fines of up to £500 under strict new laws on child car booster seats.
Tougher rules due to come into force in December this year will change the use of backless booster seats for children.
Under the current UK law, children travelling in a car must use the correct seat until they are 12-years-old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first.
This means children as young as three, weighing around 15kg, are currently able to travel on booster cushions.
However under the new rules, the booster seats will only be approved for older children, taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg.
This means manufacturers will be banned from selling backless car booster seats that don't fit the new rules.
Experts have claimed the booster cushions are unsuitable for children of such a young age due to safety fears, especially as the seats don't offer protection against crashes.
Owner of family-run business W H Watt & Son, Gary Watts, who hasn't stocked backless booster seats for 10 years told the Birmingham Mail : “All a booster seat does is put the lap belt in the correct place, it offers no protection.
"It’s pretty much the same as putting a cushion in the car.
“We stopped selling booster seats prior to the 2006 legislation change.”
When it comes to accidents he added: “High-backed seats protect the head in a crash; on a booster seat the child’s head won’t stop until it hits the side of the car.
“They’re miles safer. The shoulder protection keeps them in the right position.”
Watch how to fit your child's car seat correctly
Seven top tips for choosing a car seat
Watts’ top tips on what to look for when choosing a car seat for your child:
- High back;
- Head protection;
- Shoulder protection;
- Red guides to feed seat belt through;
- Isofix fitting (this stops the seat “swaying”, fixing the seat to the vehicle);
- Don’t be distracted by character design/colour;
Avoid buying online, visit a retailer where expert advice can be given.
What is the current law?
At the moment the UK law states all children must use a car seat until the age of 12 or 135cm tall.
So what is the new law?
Backless booster seats will only be approved for use by older children taller than 125cm or weighing more than 22kg.
High backed booster seats for children aged 4 to 12 are the recommended alternative until a child reaches 125cm tall.
Who is responsible?
It is the driver's responsibility for children to be in car seats while travelling.
When does the law change?
New regulations will come into effect in December 2016. The change in law will only apply to new products on the market.