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Child car seat safety

car seat safety for children

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We all want to keep our children safe and when travelling by car, that means using an appropriate car seat. The law is very strict on child car seat safety and it is reassuring to know that your child is protected as much as possible. By doing your research and keeping an eye on your child’s height and weight in relation to the car seat handbook you will actively reduce the risk of her being injured in the event of a crash.

Child car seat safety by child age:

Children aged two and under

Babies and toddlers must use a child restraint appropriate for their age and weight. Rear facing seats are safest for very young children so it is best to keep them facing the back of the car for as long as possible. Rear-facing seats must not be used in the front seat if the vehicle has an air bag fitted and in general it is safest to strap the car seat into the back of the car.

Children aged three and over

Children must be restrained in a child seat, booster seat or booster cushion until they reach their 12th birthday or 135cm in height, whichever comes first. Check your child’s height and weight to find out which type of seat is most suitable. Children over the age of 12 and/or over the height limit must wear an adult seat belt where there is one available.

baby in child car seat

Are there any exceptions?

In the rare case that child car safety seat laws cannot be adhered to there are some exceptions. Children under the age of three can travel unrestrained in the back of a taxi or licensed hire vehicle if there is no appropriate car seat available to use. For children over three the law states that if there is no car seat available the child must sit in the rear of the vehicle and wear the adult seat belt. This exception is limited to children travelling in taxis, cars that already have two child seats in place leaving no room for a third or those on an unexpected short journey that can’t reasonably be avoided. In cars with no seat belts in the back, children over the age of three can travel unrestrained.

Who is responsible and what is the penalty?

The driver is legally responsible for making sure anyone under the age of 14 uses the appropriate restraint and that children’s car seats are correctly fitted. Even if the child’s parent is in the passenger seat, the driver is accountable. For those over 14 the passenger takes responsibility for using his or her own seat belt.

If a driver fails to ensure a child is suitably strapped in before setting off on a journey they could face a fine of up to £500. It could also affect the insurance policy and they may even be confronted with civil proceedings in the event of someone else’s child being hurt. However, financial impact will be the least of your worries if a failure to use the correct child restraint results in injury or death.




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