2. When a child can travel without a car seat

A child can travel without a child car seat in some circumstances.

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.

Coaches

Children can travel without a child car seat or seat belt, if they’re not available.

Minibuses

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

Vans

The rules for vans are the same as for cars.

Unexpected journeys

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:

  • unexpected
  • necessary
  • 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.

Vehicles without seat belts

Children under 3 must be in a child car seat. If there’s no seat belt, they can’t travel.

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.