Child seat laws are there to keep your children as safe as possible when you’re on the move. Sometimes, it can be hard to decipher all the regulations when trying to work out which one is best for your child. Here’s a handy guide explaining the various child seat laws.
In most cars, the standard three-point seatbelts are designed with adults in mind. As a result, younger passengers need the extra height and support child seats offer to give the same level of crash-protection – you’ll have to use one until your child is 12 years old or over 135cm in height.
What types of child seats are available?
Height-based child seats
Height-based child seats are commonly known as “i-Size” seats. Like all child seats, until your child is more than 15 months old, they’ll have to be rear-facing. Naturally, you’ll have to get one that suits your child’s height and, as they get older, replace them.
Weight-based child seats
The second option is a weight-based seat. Just like their height-based equivalents, they must be rear-facing – until your child weighs more than 9kg. Once they do, you can face it forward. The exact seat your child needs and the way you use it will still depend upon the child’s weight. Our table below shows all the key figures you need to know…
|0kg – 25kg||Rear-facing baby-carrier or baby seat with harness|
|9kg – 18kg||Rear or front-facing baby seat with a harness or safety shield|
|15kg – 36kg||Forward-facing child seat with a high-back (used with your car’s seatbelt)|
|over 22kg||Booster cushion|
Fitting a child seat
There are certain things you need to remember when fitting a child seat into your car…
- Airbags must be deactivated if they are fitted directly in front of the child seat. You’ll find most cars will have a button to do this but, if you’re unsure, consult your handbook.
- You must always secure the seat in place using Isofix anchor-points – you’ll find these are often under the rear seats or behind a small cover. Using them will offer significantly more protection than using the standard three-point seatbelt.
- Never fit a child seat sideways – it must always be facing forwards or backward.
If you need more information, the child car seats website will help you find one that’ll be a perfect fit for your family.
If safety is a top-priority, our dedicated Euro NCAP article has a list of all the safest cars on the road, and our list of cars with three Isofix points highlights the perfect cars for families with several kids. Don’t forget to use our car configurator to get the best deals or, if you’re struggling to pick your next family car, our car chooser can help.