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A consumer organization in Spain also advocates the use of boosters with backrests, but why?

La OCU también defiende el uso de alzadores con respaldo, ¿por qué?


Although the use of backless boosters for groups 2/3 (children from 15 to 36 kg) is currently permitted, the consumer organization OCU in Spain has criticized their use, stating that they provide insufficient protection in the event of a side impact. In fact, it is one of the main arguments for the use of back support. As this is a complete car seat, that is, with its own backrest, it provides greater protection for children in the event of a side impact, which is not the case with boosters or booster seats without a backrest. 

At Fundación MAPFRE we have always defended the use of boosters with back support. In addition to the side protection, the child benefits from improved ergonomics and these seats also avoid errors when fastening the seat belt, as it must pass through the specific slots.  It offers greater protection to the hips, back, shoulders and head. It also keeps the child secured to the CRS in the event of an accident which does not occur with a booster without a backrest. It prevents the child's head from hitting the window or another part of the vehicle in the event of an accident.

The OCU reinforces its defense of boosters with backrests and points out that families tend to use backless boosters because they take up less space on the back seats and they weigh less. In fact, it is one of the many queries we receive at 'Child Road Safety', Fundación MAPFRE's Road Safety and Prevention Area, through our "Experto Responde" (the Expert Answers) service. Families find it difficult to ensure that all their children can travel safely, especially when it comes to large families. The main problem is from the 3rd child onwards and how to get all three children in child restraint systems in the back seat. In this case, there is a tendency to place the older child in a booster seat even if it is too soon and even less safe. 

In this article we look at the mistakes large families should avoid when traveling and in this infographic we look at the best way to travel with children in a car depending on the number of family members.  


Currently, children can use boosters from 15 kg of weight, i.e. in groups 2/3. This is usually as of 4 years of age. At Fundación MAPFRE we obviously want to emphasize the importance of using rear-facing child restraint systems as long as possible and at least until the child is 4 years old. Nowadays we can find child seats on the market that allow the child to travel in this direction up to 18 and 25 kilos in weight. 

The purpose of booster seats is to elevate the child so the seat belt can be correctly fastened. Because of the child's height, he/she can still not safely fasten the adult's seat belt. Here we address the consequences of not using a booster seat when needed.

You can remove the backrest from several child seats, which we should not do. In fact, backless boosters are not recommended for children under 125 cm. 


According to the report 'Booster seats in cars: until when should they be used?’ by Fundación MAPFRE, people stop using child seats and booster cushions too early, switching over to seat belts before they should. Do not remove the seat boosters or cushions to soon, because if the seat belt does not fit properly, the consequences can be very serious. 

Although current legislation in Spain only requires the use of child restraint systems up to 135 cm, Fundación MAPFRE recommends the use of these CRSs up to 150 cm, at which point the adult belt is properly adjusted. 

It should be noted that the European Directive 2003/20/EC establishes that all children under 150 cm tall must travel with a restraint device adapted to their weight. However, the same European Directive makes it easier for Member States to allow children under 150 cm and at least 135 cm in height to use adult seat belts in their territory. 

Among the countries with a 135 cm height limit are Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, Sweden and Greece. Whereas countries like Germany, Austria, Cyprus, Malta and Hungary establish a 150 cm height limit.

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