Road Safety

Child car seats

Children who are passengers in a vehicle must use a child restraint. This is a national legal requirement which came into force in September 2006. The term "child restraint" is the collective term in the seat belt legislation for baby seats, child seats, booster seats and booster cushions.

What the law says

All children up to 135cm tall (around 4'5"), or the age of 12, whichever comes first, seated in the front or rear of cars, vans and other goods vehicles must travel in the correct child restraint for their weight with very few exceptions.

Top safety tips

It's important that your child restraint fits well. Checking the fit of your child's car seat every journey could save their life or protect them from serious injury.

  • Check the seat fits every trip
  • Is the seat correct for your child’s weight and height?
  • Make sure the harness is correctly adjusted – one or two fingers should fit between the child’s chest and harness.
  • If you are using a booster seat or cushion the adult seat belt should go from the hip bone to the hip bone and rest on the child’s shoulder not neck.
  • Never tuck the seat belt under the child’s arm or behind their back.
  • Check seat fits before you buy
  • Don’t buy second hand seat – you don’t know its history.

Downloadable guides

 

Picture of boy in car seat

More advice on child car seats

These organisations have detailed guidance about the use of child restraints: