Car seat laws - do you know the latest rules?

  • What are the current car seat laws in the UK?
  • Should your baby have a height- or weight-based seat?
  • Make sure you know the latest child seat regulations
  • What are the current car seat laws in the UK?
  • Should your baby have a height- or weight-based seat?
  • Make sure you know the latest child seat regulations

Do you know the latest child seat laws? There have been changes to the UK laws lately, which can make choosing the right child seat for your little one confusing.

We’ve outlined the latest child seat laws to make the decision easier. 

Children travelling in a car must use a child car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first.

Height-based child seats

Height-based child seats are known as i-Size seats.

They must be rear-facing until your child is over 15 months old, after which you can use a forward-facing child seat.

Your height-based child seat must have a label showing a capital E in a circle and R129 in the UK, meaning it is EU approved.

Weight-based child seats

EU-approved weight-based child seats have a label showing a capital E in a circle and ECE R44.

Weight-based child seats are grouped depending on how much your child weighs.

Child seats for babies weighing less than 9kg must be rear-facing.

When can a child travel without a child seat?

There are some occasions on which a child can travel in a car without a child seat:

  • In a taxi, on a rear seat with a seat belt if they are aged three years or older, or without a seat belt if they are under the age of three
  • In coaches
  • In minibuses; they must sit in rear seats, and children aged over three must use a seat belt if a child seat isn’t available
  • If the journey is unexpected, necessary, and over a short distance, a child aged three or above can use an adult seat belt

You can’t take a child aged under three on an unexpected journey unless it’s in a licensed taxi or minicab, and the child travels on a rear seat without a seat belt.

If there’s no room for a third child seat in the back of your car, children under the age of three must travel in a child seat on the front seat.

Vehicles without seat belts

If the child is aged three or above, they can travel in the back of the car without a child seat or seat belt, if the car doesn’t have any.

Car seat laws - safety first 

Always deactivate any front airbags before fitting a rear-facing child seat in a front seat.

Do not fit a child seat in any side-facing seats.

Booster seat rules

New laws came into being in February 2017 stating manufacturers can’t introduce new backless booster seats for children shorter than 125cm or weighing less than 22kg.

If you already own an existing backless booster seat, the laws don’t affect you, and they’re still safe to use – the rules only affect brand-new designs.          

What are the best baby car seats?

For more information about child seats, visit the gov.uk website

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