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Child restraints and seatbelts

Appropriate child restraints

All children need to wear a seat belt or appropriate child restraints when in a vehicle. Appropriate seat belts or restraints greatly reduce the risk of injury in an accident.

Drivers are responsible for making sure that children in their vehicle are travelling safely, as set out in the law.

Child's ageFront seat Rear seat Who is responsible
Under 3 Appropriate child restraint must be usedAppropriate child restraint must be used if availableDriver
Aged 3 to 11 and under 1.35 metres (approximately 4ft 6in) tallAppropriate child restraint must be used.Appropriate child restraint must be used if available. If not, an adult seatbelt must be wornDriver
Aged 12 / 13 or younger and over 1.35 metres (approximately 4ft 6in) tallAdult seatbelt must be wornAdult seatbelt must be worn Driver

Appropriate child restraints include:

  • rear facing baby seats
  • forward-facing child seats
  • booster seats
  • booster cushions
  • Isofix seats
  • i-size seats
  • lie-flat seats

They must be suitable for the child’s weight and must carry a BS Kitemark or a UN 'E' mark, plus a manufacturer’s label showing the weight for which it has been designed.

Exemptions from the law

There are exemptions for children holding a medical exemption certificate or a disabled child wearing a disabled person’s belt.​ Additionally when suitable restraints are not available and when travelling in specific vehicles.

Child seats and airbags

Check with your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations on the use of child seats when airbags are fitted.

Additional guidance

Airbags and child seats UK ROSPA website

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