1. Using a child car seat or booster seat

Children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first.

Only EU-approved child car seats can be used in the UK. These have a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle.

You can choose a child car seat based on your child’s height or weight.

Height-based car seats

Height-based car 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 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.

Weight-based car seats

Weight-based car seats must be rear-facing until your child weighs more than 9kg.

Which seat they use after then will depend on their weight.

Child’s weight Car seat
9kg to 18kg Rear or forward-facing baby seat
15kg to 25kg Rear or forward-facing child seat (booster seat)
Over 22kg Booster cushion

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 car seat is specifically designed for use with a lap seat belt
  • 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

Children with disabilities

The same rules apply for children with disabilities unless a doctor says they’re exempt on medical grounds. They can also use a disabled person’s seat belt or child restraint designed for their needs.

Minibuses

Minibus drivers and companies don’t have to provide child car seats. You must provide your own if you want to make sure a child has one.

Children 3 and older must:

  • use a child car seat if there’s one available in a minibus
  • use an adult seat belt if child seats are not fitted or are unsuitable

All children must travel in rear seats (ie any seats behind the driver) if a child car seat or an adult seat belt isn’t fitted.