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Choosing the right car seat

The safest way for babies, children and young people to travel in vehicles is in a child car seat that is suitable for their weight, height/length and age, and that is correctly fitted into a vehicle. 

What does the law say?

Young children must always travel in a car seat, in fact the law says that all children must travel in a properly fitted car seat until the age of 12 or until they are 135cm (about 4' 5") tall. 

After this they must use an adult seat belt.

Who's involved?Sitting in the front seatSitting in the rear seatWhose responsibility?
DriverSeat belt must be worn if fitted Driver
Child under 3 years of ageCorrect child restraint must be usedCorrect child restraint must be used. If one is not available in a taxi, may travel unrestrainedDriver
Child from 3rd birthday up to 135cm in height (4' 5") or 12th birthday, whichever they reach firstCorrect child restraint must be used

Correct child restraint must be used where seat belt is fitted. Must use adult seat belt if correct child restraint is not available:

  • In a licensed taxi/private hire vehicle the child may travel unrestrained
  • For a short distance in an unexpected necessity
  • If two occupied child restraints prevent fitting a third
Child aged 12 or 13, over 135cm in heightSeat belt must be worn if fittedSeat belt must be worn if fittedDriver
Passenger aged 14 years old and overSeat belt must be worn if fittedSeat belt must be worn if fittedPassenger

Choosing the right car seat

Even though manufacturers suggest the age ranges that their car seats are suitable for, it is actually the weight of the child that is important.

When your child reaches the top end of the weight limit for the seat, it's time to buy a new one, regardless of age. Always buy new and make sure that the seat complies with safety standard ECE R44/04 or Regulation 129 (i-size).

 R44.03 & R44.04 i-Size



Approx age

Length classification

0Babies up to 10kg (22lbs)Up to 6 months40 - 85cm
0+Babies up to 13kg (29lbs)Up to 1 year
19kg (20lbs) to 18kg (40lbs)9 months to 4 years80 - 105cm
215kg (33lbs) to 25kg (55lbs)From 4 years105 - 135/150cm*
322kgs (48lbs) to 36kgs (79lbs)From 6 years


Contact the Road Safety Team for more information, advice and a FREE child car seat check.