Q379: What are the rules with regards to baby seats / child restraints in a car?

Children up to 3 years old

Front seat - correct child restraint MUST be worn
Rear seat - correct child restraint MUST be worn

NOTES: Children under 3 years MUST use an appropriate child restraint in ALL cars, vans and goods vehicles. The ONLY exception is in the rear of a taxi. Rear facing baby seats MUST not be used in a seat where there is a frontal air bag UNLESS it has been deactivated.

Children from 3 years up to 135cm (approx 4'5") OR 12th birthday

Front sear - correct child restraint MUST be worn
Rear seat - correct child restraint MUST be worn

Exceptions: Adult belt can be worn ONLY if

  • in a licensed taxi/private hire vehicle
  • for an unexpected necessary journey of a short distance
  • if there are 2 occupied child restraints fitted which prevent the fitting of a third

NOTE: If no seatbelts at all in rear then children over 3 may travel unrestrained in the rear of a vehicle.

Children over 135cm (approx 4'5") or 12 or 13 years old

Front seat - seatbelt MUST be worn (if available)
Rear seat - seatbelt MUST be worn (if available)

Children over 14 years old and adults

Front seat - seatbelt MUST be worn (if available)
Rear seat - seatbelt MUST be worn (if available)

The driver is responsible for ALL passengers up to the age of 14 years old. The details of appropriate child seats can be found at any specialist baby shop or see related website for further information.


In relation to backless booster seats, please see the link in the 'Questions' section in the right-hand margin.

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