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#1 of 14 Old 03-20-2009, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Can somebody point me in the direction of the British child restraint laws and guidelines?

We're moving to England (and thank you so much to everybody who responded to my other post!), and our stuff is being shipping next week. I'm wondering if we should send our American carseats.

In Canada it was illegal to use carseats that were not approved by the CSA (Canadian Standards Association) once you were a resident. Canadians often want to cross the border to buy cheaper seats in the US, or seats that aren't actually approved for use in Canada, and it was considered a big problem.

When we moved to the US, the stance was not as clear. Some people (carseat techs even) said that we'd be fine in Washington State with Canadian seats. Other people said not to do it. It didn't matter since we needed new seats anyway to fit three in our car when the baby was born, but now I'm wondering what to do about England.

We're planning to go car free in England. The seats would be for occasional use in rental cars.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#2 of 14 Old 03-21-2009, 12:53 PM
 
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The official government guidance is here: http://www.dft.gov.uk/think/focusare...ren/childincar

There's also a link on there to http://www.childcarseats.org.uk/ which has some useful info.

AFAIK there is no law about where the seats come from - who would police that anyway? But there does seem to be some seats that don't fit certain seats. britax have a fit finder on their website but don't have all cars on it - might be worth a look though.

What seats do you have? I'll do some digging if you like? though I suppose you don't know what car you'll be driving...

Claire - wife of 1, mum of 2! Jess 10-01-96, Millie 08-11-06
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#3 of 14 Old 03-21-2009, 12:55 PM
 
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Here's something about safety standards car seats must conform to - this could be relevant - http://www.childcarseats.org.uk/standards/index.htm

Though saying that, I've never had anybody check if my car seat conforms to regulations!

Claire - wife of 1, mum of 2! Jess 10-01-96, Millie 08-11-06
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#4 of 14 Old 03-22-2009, 10:12 AM
 
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Take your carseats. I prefer my carseats to ones I've seen here.

What kind do you have?

How old are your children?

If you have a baby, take the carseat on the plane. Trust me. I am as much of an in arms parent as anyone, but it was vital to have a place to set that baby on the flight. My two year old was fine without a carseat on the plane, but I think she appreciated seeing her own carseat when we landed. (We checked it with our luggage.)

Be prepared for culture shock. Even with the similarities in the culture, it was a big deal for me and I'm only now starting to come out of it. Little things you would never expect to be different are so incredibly different.
PM me if you want to talk more. I have a friend who is an expat in Switzerland and it's been so good to have her to talk to (also it's so nice to have the other families from my dh's work to talk to.)

I'll pm you with my phone number if you want to call me.

Be prepared for things to take longer. It took 3 weeks to get phone service, over 6 weeks to get a bank account (still not in my name!), and over 2 months to get internet service.

But, this is a beautiful country. I've found the people to be generous and helpful and genuinely kind. I rarely have to put my stroller on a train or a bus by myself and if the baby cries, people seem to really want to cheer her up rather than being annoyed. I once had a man run to catch up with me at a train station because I left my bag on the train. Once a man on crutches gave up a seat on the bus for me so that I could keep my two year old in her stroller and sit by her. People smile at the baby on my chest, and tell my children they are "gorgeous" and "brilliant". I love that.

I've gotten no negative reaction to the fact that I'm American. People have been nothing but welcoming. Not sure why my ancestors left in the first place (of course back then there was religious persecution and the plague I guess.)

I feel so at home here that my family and I are seriously considering staying permanently should that opportunity arise.

So, a big old American welcome to the UK!

Jo
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#5 of 14 Old 03-22-2009, 04:49 PM
 
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Um - the only issue with using non-EU standard seats in the UK, is that they may well not fit the cars, or meet the standards. If they do not meet the 'right' standards you will be unable to have them replaced under insurance should you be in an accident, and should you be in an accident you may find that any injury claim for the children in those seats will be invalidated by using them (in the same way that not using car seats as required by law will do) and may lead (depending on ins. company) to the whole claim being disallowed.

If you hire a vehicle, it is a requirement of the hire agreement that a) you use appropriate restraints as required by law and b) that those restraints are those designated by law (i.e. meet the EU standards/kitemark).

If you go outside the UK then some other EU countries require the use of the EU standard seats and *only* those - the fines for using a non-EU seat can be high.
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#6 of 14 Old 03-24-2009, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone. I'll read through all of the links that were posted. I am mainly concerned about the seats not having the proper connection points to install them in UK cars, or insurance issues if we're in an accident and the kids are not riding in seats with the necessary certifications.

We have three Sunshine Radians that we bought here in the US. We got these seats because they are so narrow. We currently have two of them forward facing and one rear facing in our VW Golf. They generally fit well in small cars. We've also had them in a Ford Focus.

When we get to England our kids will be roughly :

1 year and 18 pounds (8kg)
3.5 years and 33 - 34 pounds (15kg)
5 years and 37 - 38 pounds (17kg)

We actually have a Britax Rock-a-tot that is from the UK and it's supposed to work well in a lot of different cars. It's 0+ seat and DS will likely use that until he outgrows it. That's the seat DS will be using on the plane. Our girls will probably be in Canadian Britax seats (Marathons) on the airplane. These seats are significantly more comfortable for the kids to sleep in on an overnight flight, and we can use them in Canada when we go back to visit family.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#7 of 14 Old 03-25-2009, 07:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by wildflowermama View Post
i
Be prepared for things to take longer. It took 3 weeks to get phone service, over 6 weeks to get a bank account (still not in my name!), and over 2 months to get internet service.

But, this is a beautiful country. I've found the people to be generous and helpful and genuinely kind. I rarely have to put my stroller on a train or a bus by myself and if the baby cries, people seem to really want to cheer her up rather than being annoyed. I once had a man run to catch up with me at a train station because I left my bag on the train. Once a man on crutches gave up a seat on the bus for me so that I could keep my two year old in her stroller and sit by her. People smile at the baby on my chest, and tell my children they are "gorgeous" and "brilliant". I love that.

I've gotten no negative reaction to the fact that I'm American. People have been nothing but welcoming. Not sure why my ancestors left in the first place (of course back then there was religious persecution and the plague I guess.)

I feel so at home here that my family and I are seriously considering staying permanently should that opportunity arise.

So, a big old American welcome to the UK!

Jo

Where do you live?

Getting a phone connected can take 24 hours or a few days, could be a week or so if it's a new build and someone has to come out.

To get internet it's 5 days, it's a UK reg, 5 days not 4 or 3 and 2 months??? nahhhh

bank account is the same day but harder than a US account as long as your here legally, it's simple.

As far as how people react, very different depending on the area. I've been on trains many times where people didn't give up their seat for me and a baby and toddler, I've had people be rude to us many times and I'm British.

On a whole there is a mixed reaction to americans, some hates them, some love them, I'd say most are indifferent, they are just more of the same.

I think if the car seat doesn't meet EEC reg's it's not legal, that said we brought a car seat from the USA to use here. no one will ever check it of course. Many people here stick newborns on the front seat, they arent as anal here with car seats to be honest
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#8 of 14 Old 03-25-2009, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Britishmama View Post
Where do you live?

Getting a phone connected can take 24 hours or a few days, could be a week or so if it's a new build and someone has to come out.

To get internet it's 5 days, it's a UK reg, 5 days not 4 or 3 and 2 months??? nahhhh

bank account is the same day but harder than a US account as long as your here legally, it's simple.

As far as how people react, very different depending on the area. I've been on trains many times where people didn't give up their seat for me and a baby and toddler, I've had people be rude to us many times and I'm British.

On a whole there is a mixed reaction to americans, some hates them, some love them, I'd say most are indifferent, they are just more of the same.

I think if the car seat doesn't meet EEC reg's it's not legal, that said we brought a car seat from the USA to use here. no one will ever check it of course. Many people here stick newborns on the front seat, they arent as anal here with car seats to be honest
We've been to London several times. I've stood holding an 11 month old baby on the tube while 4.5 months pregnant dozens of times and not been offered a seat. But we've also met very friendly people in tube stations who've helped with the stroller. I don't find the British to be the most over-the-top friendly and helpful people we've ever met, but they're certainly not the worst.

I actually know other people who've waited two months to get internet hooked up in the UK. A friend's brother moved to Derby last year and he waited two months. He probably didn't know there was a law, or maybe the law is new because it used to take so long? He's really bitter things having taken so long anyway.

Fortunately, we've got the help of a relocation company to get settled. And, we're in corporate housing for a month and will have phone and internet there. We already have British mobiles anyway though.

DH wants to sell the carseats in the US. They weigh 25 pounds each, and he hates them.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#9 of 14 Old 03-26-2009, 05:47 AM
 
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I'm not sure if this info is helpful, but as US Military personnel stationed in the UK, we have been told repeatedly that we MUST have an EU certified car seat. We CAN'T use our US carseats over here (in British cars). They tell us there is a 500 pound fine if we do.
This is somewhat of a pain, since we have one US spec car and one British spec car. So, we have to have a different car seat for each car.

Proud Air Force wife and first time mom to a beautiful baby girl , born naturally at home July 09
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#10 of 14 Old 03-26-2009, 06:43 AM
 
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I would take the Radians, since seats in the UK have horribly low RF weight limits.

CPST & mom

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#11 of 14 Old 03-26-2009, 09:15 AM
 
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I'm in Wales and the other two expat families at my husband's work had the same issues.

The reason things took so long for us is because we didn't have a former address in Great Britain and they needed a lot of extra documentation proving we were here legally.

It had a lot to do with us having a bank account. They didn't want to set up phone (long distance at least) until we had a UK bank account. Since I don't bring in any money, the account is still not in my name and looks like it won't be in my name. So if I go somewhere I bring cash.
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#12 of 14 Old 03-26-2009, 06:39 PM
 
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It quite possible to get seats that go rear facing until 4 years, or thereabouts, weight wise. You just need to go and look for them - easier in other EU countries than in the UK, or you talk to the In car safety centre in Milton Keynes. Most rear facing seats will happily go up to 13kg rear facing (a 0+/1 type seat that will also go to 15kg rear facing, and possibly higher if you can get the extension seatbelts for their harness) which in centile terms will take almost all children to 18m of age, and most to 2 years (and some further if they are 25th centile and below).

However, most UK made cars can be difficult to fit with them - you will need to look for a French, german or scandinavian brand to be assured of the correct connection points if you do not wish to have the seats fitted permanently to the vehicle. ISOFix vehicles can be an exception to this.

What you do need to realise though, is that the EU standards on vehicles built since 2000 are generally higher than for the US wrt sideimpact protection, airbags, etc from the vehicle itself. Our seatbelt laws are generally much more stringent as well, and car seats reflect that. In the EU the *shortest* height that a child under 13 can legally come out of a carseat (as in a high backed booster) is 135cm (that is in the UK, on mainland europe you are looking at 145 or 150cm and/or 13 years of age) and it is expected that you will continue to use a seat with a 5 point harness until a child is 15/18 kg, which for most children will be around 4 years of age. So not woefully inadequate at all.... what is inadequate, is the enforcement of the laws not the laws and standards themselves....
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#13 of 14 Old 03-27-2009, 01:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Helen_A View Post
It quite possible to get seats that go rear facing until 4 years, or thereabouts, weight wise. You just need to go and look for them - easier in other EU countries than in the UK, or you talk to the In car safety centre in Milton Keynes. Most rear facing seats will happily go up to 13kg rear facing (a 0+/1 type seat that will also go to 15kg rear facing, and possibly higher if you can get the extension seatbelts for their harness) which in centile terms will take almost all children to 18m of age, and most to 2 years (and some further if they are 25th centile and below).

6 years or 25 kilos is easy to do RF
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#14 of 14 Old 04-17-2009, 02:43 PM
 
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The car seats and laws here suck tbh (you can legally get boosters for 20lbs children here - my DS was 20lbs at 4 months!!!...Yikes! RF car seats are usually only in 'bucket' for and the ones that are not are the kind you can turn FF - but either way, but are only RF to the same weight and its a tiny 25lbs max I think! (and if you have a huge son like I did - he was that weight by 5 months!) 5-point harness car seats usually only go up to 35lbs...my son reached this before he was two. Most people put their children in boosters by the age of 2-3. I was not about to have my son in a booster! I wanted him RF for longer as well...I have learned more about car seat safety from America and Norway!...

Your car seats may not fit a British car - and other issues with using them over here as other PP have pointed out. We also don't have 'anchor' or whatever - so you will not find FF car seats in 5-point harness over about 60lbs.

However - here is a place you can get RF car seat up to 55lbs (at most I think? - have a look around!) - which is best at least!
http://www.incarsafetycentre.co.uk/s...cessories.html

I have not been able to find safer seats anywhere else in the UK yet.

Mummy me : > Thats Ann! and my beautiful SONS Duncanand Hamish 19/09/05 & 22/04/10!
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