What are the rules around use of Child restraints?
Did you know that a child under 135cm must use a child seat? This could be a booster type seat or a child seat with a back support.
Any child under 135cm tall must use a child seat, until they are 12 years old. If your child is still under 135cm tall but is aged 12, they no longer need to use a child seat.
There are a few exceptions to a child needing to use a child seat. If your child is on a local service bus, unless the bus driver provides a child seat, your child will only use one if you provide one. This also applies to taxis or coaches. Most coaches do have seatbelts though and it will be the bus driver's responsibility to ensure their passengers are seated and restrained appropriately.
A child may also travel without a car seat in a car if there is not room for a third car seat. Or as an emergency if, for example, you need to pick a friend or relative's child up from school but you do not have an additional seat available. A child must be over 3, and must sit in the back seat using an adult seatbelt.
Children with certain disabilities may also travel without a car seat.
There are certain ways to choose a child seat, and these are height based, and weight based.
Height based seats are known as ‘I-Size’ seats, and these must be rear-facing until your child is over 15 months old.
Weight-based seats are measured on your child’s weight. There are certain groups for weight-based seats:
Children weighing 0kg to 10kg are group 0,
Children weighing 0kg to 13kg are group 0+,
Children weighing 9kg to 18kg are group 1,
Children weighing 15kg to 25kg are group 2,
Finally, children weighing 22kg to 36kg are group 3.
Group 0 child seats are essentially baby seats. A rear facing baby carrier with a harness will fit into this category.
Group 0+ child seats will include a rear facing baby carrier, with or without a harness.
Group 1 child seats will include a rear facing baby carrier, with a harness or a safety shield.
Group 2 child seats will include a rear of front facing child seat, with a harness, safety shield or a seat belt.
Finally, group 3 child seats will include the same child seats as in group 2, a rear or front facing child seat, with a harness, safety shield or a seat belt.
It is law to have a child under 135cm to wear a child seat.
When a teenager reaches the grown up age of 14 years, it becomes THEIR responsibility to wear a seatbelt. Until then it is the driver's responsibility. HOWEVER, it still remains the overall responsibility of the driver to ensure their passengers or cargo are restrained appropriately.