Child Safety Seats
In September 2006, the regulations relating to the use of
child car seats were updated. They now stipulate that all children
must use the appropriate child safety restraint when travelling in
a vehicle as follows:
- Children under three years must use a child
seat or booster appropriate for their weight in all vehicles
(including vans and other goods vehicles)
- Children between three and twelve years, or children under 1.35
metres in height (4 feet 5 inches) must use the
appropriate child restraint in all vehicles fitted with seat
- Children who have reached 1.35m in height or their 12th
birthday, whichever comes first, may use an adult seat belt.
Seat belts must worn in the front and rear seats.
It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that children
under 14 years are correctly restrained. The responsibility moves
to the individual passenger when over 14 years of age.
Find out more about the main types of child car seats:
All child restraints must be approved to the United nations ECE
Regulation R44/03 or R44/04.
Since April 2008 it is prohibited to use seats
manufactured before 1995 and approved to regulation R44/01 and
Before buying a child restraint, you should ask your retailer
for a demonstration so you can ensure that it fits properly into
Beware of old and second-hand restraints, which may be
damaged, worn out, have no fitting instructions or do not meet with
Recently manufactured vehicles may have ISOFix attachment
points. An ISOFix child restraint is installed using these and not
the adult seat belt. Always check whether a child restraint is
suitable for the ISOFix points in you car as some will differ.
Rearward facing infant carriers
Suitable from birth up to 13 kgs (approximately birth to
9 - 12 months).
For a very young child, this is the safest type of restraint
available. Rearward facing seats can be used in the front or rear
of the car using the adult lap and diagonal seat belt, or by
ISOFix attachment points.
The law prohibits the use of a rear-facing child
restraint in the front seat of any vehicle fitted with an active
frontal airbag. This is because the restraint will be too close to
the dashboard and in an accident, the expanding airbag is liable to
cause serious or fatal injury to the child.
Forward facing child seats
Suitable for a child between 9kgs and 18kgs
(approximately nine months - four years)
The forward facing seat is secured either by an adult seat belt,
or ISOFix attachment points. The child is restrained by the seat's
own harness which can be adjusted as the child grows.
Forward facing child seats can be used in the front or rear of a
vehicle. If the front passenger seat is fitted with a frontal
airbag, then check the car handbook for advice regarding the
fitting of a car seat. Airbags are powerful devices and the car
seat should be as far back as possible from an airbag.
For children between 15kgs and 36 kgs (approximately
four years and upwards).
A booster seat puts a child in the right position so that an
adult seat belt gives most protection. Both the booster seat and
the child are restrained by the adult seat belt. Booster seats have
backs which provide support for the child and gives a measure of
protection from whiplash injury.
For children from 22kgs (approximately six years and
The booster lifts a child and positions the adult lap and
diagonal belt correctly.
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This page was last reviewed 5 September 2012 at 8:44.
The page is next due for review 4 March 2014.