Child Car Seats

Booster Cushions

Some booster seats have backs that can be removed as children grow bigger. Booster cushions that do not have a back are also available.

We strongly recommend that you do not remove the back of high-backed booster seats or use a backless booster cushion because the lack of a back and side wings removes any side and head protection from the child car seat, leaving the child vulnerable to head and side injuries, particularly in side impacts. It also makes it more difficult to position the diagonal strap of a three-point adult seat belt correctly across the shoulder.

Change to the law about booster cushions

New regulations regarding the sale and use of booster cushions take affect from 9th February 2017. The new rules mean that manufacturers will no longer be allowed to introduce new models of backless booster seats (booster cushions) for children shorter than 125cm and weighing less than 22kg.

This change does not affect existing models of booster cushions which are classed as a group 2/3 seat and can be used for children 15kg and above. It will only apply to new booster cushions, not ones which are already in use and meet existing safety standards. So, parents who use old booster cushions will not be breaking the law if they continue to use them after the rule change. They will not be required to buy new booster seats to meet the rule change.

This change means that anyone buying a new booster cushion should take extra care to read the manufacturer's labels and instructions in order to ensure that the one they select is appropriate for their child's weight and height.

Booster cushions

Booster cushion

Group 3: for children weighing 22 - 36 kgs (48 - 79 lbs) 125cm or taller, roughly from 6 - 11 years

Group 3 seats do not have a back. The cushion raises the child's seating position so the lap part of the car's seat belt goes over their pelvis rather than their stomach. The cushion's arms help to position the seat belt and keep it in place. They usually have a clip on a piece of fabric to help position the diagonal part of the car's seat belt properly on the child's shoulder.

Fitting Booster cushions

Girl in booster seat

As with all child car seats, follow the manufacturer's recommendations on how to fit and use them.

The booster cushion raises the child's seating position so that the car's seat belt fits them properly. They have red indicators or slots to show where the seat belt should go. The lap belt should be threaded through the red guides or slots near or under the arm rests. There is usually a red clip at shoulder height to position the diagonal part of the seat belt.

The seat belt should go across the child's pelvis, chest and shoulder:

  • The belt should be worn as tight as possible
  • The lap belt should go over the pelvic region, not the stomach
  • The diagonal strap should rest over the shoulder, not the neck

Booster cushions can be used in the front or rear of the car, but it is safer to put them in the rear, especially if there is a passenger airbag in the front.