Car seat safety

A car seat can save your child’s life in an accident, but figures show that two-thirds aren’t fitted properly, which means they might not work at all or might actually cause injury.  For more information about fitting a car seat properly, see:

Buying a car seat for your baby or child

All under 5’s are required by law to have a car seat when travelling in a car for any distance journey.
When buying a car seat you need to make sure:

  • The seat you are buying correctly fits in your car; a badly fitting car seat can provide less protection if you are in a crash.
  • Always use a child seat which meets the requirements of your child’s height and weight
  • Do not buy second hand car seats from car boot sales or from advertisements, as they could have been in car accidents that you are not aware of and this may have damaged the seat and how it protects your child. Second hand car seats also may not come with all parts or instructions.
Which child car seat to use depends on your baby’s or child’s weight
Type of seat         Weight
Rear-facing baby seats Babies up to            13kg
Forward or rear-facing baby seats Children from          9 to 18kg
Forward-facing child car seats (booster seats)Children from          15 to 25kg
Booster cushions Children over              22kg

When a child seat may not be used

Taxis and minicabs (private hire vehicles)

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

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


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