When it comes to child seat law, there are a lot of things to remember. For instance, do you know where the safest place in a vehicle for a child seat is? And at what age child seats can be used on the front seat of a vehicle?
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 the risk of a fine of up to £500.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a quick guide 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 child seat placed in either the front or back of a car. Once a child surpasses 135cm (4’4”), they are allowed to travel without a child seat, at which point they’ll legally be required to wear a seatbelt.
We strongly recommend that children sit in the back and remain rear-facing for as long as possible to minimise the risk of injury. However, you are allowed to have them in the front if you use a child seat and follow these safety precautions:
- Rear-facing child seat – you are required to deactivate all front airbags.
- 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.
What seat you should use varies. For example:
- For i-Size seats, all children must use a rear-facing seat until they’re 15 months old, although it’s advised you use one for as long as possible. You should also make sure any seat is the appropriate size for your child.
- Weight-based seats come in various sizes known as groups, and you’ll need the right size for your child’s weight.
- When using a rear-facing seat in the front seat, you must deactivate any front airbags.
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 place 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.’
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Remember, any child up to the age of 12 should always travel in a child seat. For more child travel advice, head over to our help and advice guides. You can also explore our full range of child seats here.