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)

In a licensed taxi or minicab:

  • children under 3 years of age can travel without a child’s car seat or seat belt, but only on the back seat
  • children aged 3 years or older can travel without a child’s car seat if they wear an adult seat belt

Coaches and minibuses

On coaches, children can travel without a car seat or seat belt, if they’re not available.

On minibuses, children aged 3 years or older can travel without a child’s car seat. They must wear a seat belt, if fitted. Children under 3 don’t need to use a car seat or seat belt, but they must sit in one of the rear seats (not next to the driver in the front).

Unexpected journeys

If the correct child seat isn’t available, a child over 3 years of age 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 in a vehicle without a seat belt or the correct child car seat (except a taxi or minicab).

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 over 3 years 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 over 3 can travel in a back seat without a car seat and without a seat belt if the vehicle doesn’t have one.