Child car seats: the law
1. Using a child car seat or booster seat
Children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first.
Children over 12 or more than 135cm tall must wear a seat belt.
You can choose a child car seat based on your child’s height or weight.
Height-based seats are known as ‘i-Size’ seats. They must be rear-facing until your child is over 15 months old. Your child can use a forward-facing child car seat when they’re over 15 months old.
You must check the seat to make sure it’s suitable for the height of your child.
Only EU-approved height-based child car seats can be used in the UK. These have a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle and ‘R129’.
The seat your child can use (and the way they must be restrained in it) depends on their weight.
Only EU-approved weight-based child car seats can be used in the UK. These have a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle and ‘ECE R44’.
You may be able to choose from more than one type of seat in the group for your child’s weight.
|0kg to 10kg||0||Lie-flat or ‘lateral’ baby carrier, rear-facing baby carrier, or rear-facing baby seat using a harness|
|0kg to 13kg||0+||Rear-facing baby carrier or rear-facing baby seat using a harness|
|9kg to 18kg||1||Rear- or forward-facing baby seat using a harness or safety shield|
|15kg to 25kg||2||Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield|
|22kg to 36kg||3||Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield|
Manufacturers can now only make booster cushions approved as group 3. This won’t affect any existing booster cushions in group 2 and you’ll still be able to use them.
Fitting a child car seat
You must only use a child car seat if your car’s seat belt has a diagonal strap, unless the seat is either:
- specifically designed for use with a lap seat belt
- fitted using ISOFIX anchor points
You must also:
- deactivate any front airbags before fitting a rear-facing baby seat in a front seat
- not fit a child car seat in side-facing seats
The Child Car Seats website has information on how to choose a seat and travel safely with children in cars.
Children with disabilities or medical conditions
The same rules apply for children with disabilities or medical conditions, but they can use a disabled person’s seat belt or a child restraint designed for their needs.
A doctor can issue an exemption certificate if a child is unable to use a restraint or seat belt because of their condition.