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 licensed taxi or minicab has a fixed partition that separates the front and rear seats:

  • children under 3 can travel without a child’s car seat or seat belt, but only on a rear seat
  • children aged 3 or older can travel in a front or rear seat without a child’s car seat if they wear an adult seat belt

You must follow the normal rules for using a child car seat or booster seat if the vehicle doesn’t have a fixed partition.

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 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 seats are not fitted or are unsuitable

Vans

The rules for vans are the same as for cars.

Unexpected journeys

If the correct child 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 a seat belt or the correct child car seat, unless all of the following apply:

  • it’s a licensed taxi or minicab
  • the rear seats are separated from the driver by a fixed partition
  • the child travels on the rear seats

No room for a third child seat

Children under 3 must be in a child car seat. If there’s no room for a third child seat in the back of the vehicle, the child must travel in the front seat with the correct child 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 car seat and without a seat belt if the vehicle doesn’t have one.