What are the laws for car seats?

The law in the UK states that children must use a car seat in a vehicle if they are under 135cm or until they are 12 years old, whichever comes first. Children who are 12 years old and above or more than 135cm must wear a seatbelt. As a driver you are responsible for ensuring that children under the age 14 are correctly restrained – even after they have outgrown a car seat!!!

Continue reading to understand what are the laws for car seats. This is the basic law regarding car seats in the UK but there are exceptions!

My child is disabled, what do I do?

The same rules apply for disabled children, but they can use a restraint specifically designed for their needs if they cannot use a standard seat. If their condition means they cannot use a restrain or seat belt you can get an exemption from your doctor, but children are safest when in the correct car seat for their age.

I’ve heard kids can travel without a seat!

There is a certain condition where a child who is aged 3 or over can travel in the back seat of a vehicle without a car seat or seatbelt if the vehicle doesn’t have one, children under 3 must always be in a car seat – if there is not seat belt in the back, they must travel in a car seat in the front seat of the vehicle.

What about a taxi?

In taxis and minicabs, if the driver doesn’t provide the correct car seat and you don’t have your own, children can travel without one – IN THE REAR SEATS and wear an adult seatbelt if they are over 3 or without a seatbelt if they are under 3.

Minibuses and coaches??

Companies don’t have to provide car seats, you should supply your own but, if you don’t have one, they can travel on a coach with or without a seatbelt. Minibuses are slightly different – they must travel in rear seats (any seats behind the driver) if you don’t have a car seat and if over 3, use the adult seatbelt if there is one available.

I have a work van, what about that?

Vans have exactly the same rules as cars!

What about an emergency or unexpected journey?

If it is a genuine emergency, a child 3 or over can use an adult seatbelt as long as you satisfy these 3 conditions:

  • Unexpected journey
  • Absolutely necessary
  • Only a short distance

You cannot take a child under 3 on an unexpected journey unless you meet both of these conditions:

  • You are in a taxi or minicab
  • Your child is in the back seat without a seatbelt.

I can’t fit 3 car seats in the back of my car – what do I do?

Relax, you don’t necessarily need to buy a new car!! If you have a child over 3, they can sit in the back using an adult seatbelt but a child under 3 must travel in the front using the correct car seat.

If I have an accident, should I replace my car seat?

The short answer to this is yes! You can’t see if there has been any microscopic damage done to the seat even if your little one wasn’t in the seat at the time and better to be safe than sorry.

Will my insurance company pay for a new seat?

This does depend on your cover, it’s definitely worth checking with them!

There is no denying the fact, children are much safer on a car journey, if they are restrained in the correct car seat for their age, height and weight and it is installed correctly.


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