When a child can travel without a car seat
A child aged 3 or older can travel in a back seat without a child car seat and without a seat belt if the vehicle doesn’t have one.
In most cases, children under 3 must always be in a child car seat.
The rules are different if:
- the child is in a taxi or minicab
- the child is in a minibus, coach or van
- the child is on an unexpected journey, for example an emergency
- there’s no room for another car seat
Taxis and minicabs (private hire vehicles)
If the driver doesn’t provide the correct child car seat, children can travel without one - but only if they travel on a rear seat:
- and wear an adult seat belt if they’re 3 or older
- without a seat belt if they’re under 3
Minibuses, coaches and vans
Minibus or coach 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 can travel without a child car seat or seat belt, if they’re not available.
All children must travel in rear seats (any seats behind the driver) if a child car seat or an adult seat belt isn’t fitted.
Children aged 3 or older must:
- use a child car seat if there’s one available in a minibus
- use an adult seat belt if child car seats are not fitted or are unsuitable
The rules for vans are the same as for cars.
If the correct child car seat isn’t available, a child aged 3 or older can use an adult seat belt if the journey is all of the following:
- over a short distance
You can’t take children under 3 on an unexpected journey in a vehicle without the correct child car seat, unless both of the following apply:
- it’s a licensed taxi or minicab
- the child travels on a rear seat without a seat belt
No room for a third child car seat
Children under 3 must be in a child car seat. If there’s no room for a third child car seat in the back of the vehicle, the child must travel in the front seat with the correct child car seat.
Children aged 3 or older can sit in the back using an adult belt.