When it comes to child seat regulation, there are a lot of things to remember. For instance, do you know where the safest place is for them to sit in the car? And at what age can they go in the front?
If you don’t position or restrain your child correctly in the car, you could put your child’s safety at risk, as well as running a risk of a fine of up to £500.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a quick guide of FAQs to help fill in the gaps and ensure you avoid any fines and keep your little one as safe as possible.
Where can a child sit in the car?
Children aged between three and 12, or up to the height of 135cm (4’4”) in the UK and 150cm in Ireland (4’9”), must travel in a booster seat in the front or back of the car. Once a child surpasses 135cm (4’4”), they are allowed to travel without a booster seat in the front or back.
We strongly recommend that children should sit in the back and remain rear-facing for as long as possible to minimise the risk of injury. However, you are technically allowed to have them in the front if you use a carrier and follow these safety precautions:
- Rear-facing child seat – you are required to switch the airbag off.
- Forward-facing child seat – you need to move the passenger seat back as far as possible to maximise the distance between the child and the airbag.
It’s also worth noting that it’s the driver’s responsibility to ensure all children under the age of 14 wear a seat belt.
How to transport a baby and an infant?
Again, while it’s acceptable to put your baby or infant in the front or back of the car, it’s down to preference on where you feel they’ll be safest.
In regards to which seat you should use varies. For example:
- Height-based seats must be suitable for the child’s height and rear-facing until they are over 15 months old.
- Weight-based rear-facing seats for babies/infants up to 13kg (29Ibs) are acceptable up until approximately 15 months.
- Combination seats for children/infants weighing up to 25kg (55Ibs) can either be rear-facing or forward-facing, providing they have a harness.
Where is the safest place for a child to sit in a car?
We recommend keeping your child in the back of the car for as long as possible. This way, in the result of a crash, you’ll reduce the likelihood of serious impact injuries sustained from the car or the airbag.
According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), ‘If the middle rear seat has a three-point (lap and diagonal) seat belt, this is the safest to put a child restraint (unless the manufacturer’s instructions say it fits better in one of the other seats) because it is the furthest away from the sides of the car.’
There’s a lot to take in, so if you need additional help choosing which car seat is right for you, and as part of our Car Seat Promise, we can fit it for you and provide a free fitting demonstration carried out by our expert trained colleagues. Book a slot at your nearest Halfords or take a look at our online Car Seat advice.
Alternatively, if you fancy swotting up on other car regulations, you might find our previous post useful: ‘7 obscure driving laws you might be unaware of’.