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Rules and regulations

Child seats: what you need to know

Even if you don't have children of your own, you never know when you'll be called on to carry a child as a passenger. Younger siblings, friends' babies - it's important to know the facts upfront.

Playing by the rules is never more vital than when you're responsible for other people's safety as well as your own, so this information is important whether you’re a parent or not.

Only EU-approved child car seats can be used in the UK.
Look for a label with a capital ‘E’ in a circle.

When you need to use a child seat

The government's recommendation is that children use some kind of child seat until they're 135cm tall, or around 12 years old. Sure, the average 12 year old is going to get stroppy about that, but it’s up to a parent to make the call. If that parent isn’t you, make sure you check with them first because, as the driver, YOU are responsible for your passengers.

Babies should always be in a baby seat, and the type they need will depend on their age. Use the table below so you know when your child should be in which kind of child seat or check with a parent about what their child needs.

Types of child seat

Type of seat Weight Approximate age
Lie-flat (lateral) baby carriers or rear-facing baby seat with harness Babies up to 9kg 0 - 7 months
Rear-facing baby carrier or rear-facing baby seat with a harness Children up to 13kg 1 - 2 years
Rear- or forward-facing baby seat with a harness or safety shield Children from 9kg to 18kg 7 months - 4 years
Rear- or forward-facing child seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) with a seat belt, harness or safety shield Children from 15kg to 36kg 4 - 11 years

GOV.UK, August 2016

 

Remember: These ages and weights are approximate so if you’re not used to using a child seat, check with the parent so they have the right child seat ready for you to use. Ask them to show you how to put the child seat in and how to use it, so you know your passenger is safe.

You can find more information on childcarseats.org.


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Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .