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.

After that the seat your child can use (and the way they must be restrained in it) depends on their weight.

You may be able to choose from more than one type of seat.

Child’s weight Car seat
0kg to 25kg Rear-facing baby carrier, or rear-facing baby seat using a harness
9kg to 18kg Rear- or forward-facing baby seat using a harness or safety shield
15kg to 36kg Forward-facing child seat (high-backed booster seat) using a seatbelt
Over 22kg Booster cushion

The Child Car Seats website has information on how to choose a car seat and travel safely with children in cars.

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 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

Children with disabilities

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