The current position on the European Directive is that from September 2006, all children aged under 12 years who are also under 1.35 metres in height (Approx. 4ft 5ins) and 36 kg in weight will have to use appropriate seats which are built or strapped in, and not an adult seat belt on its own.
* All children under 3 years old must use the correct child seat when travelling in any car or goods vehicle (except in the rear of a taxi if a child seat is not available)
* Children aged 3 years and under 12 must use the correct child seat/booster seat/booster cushion when travelling in cars or goods vehicles until they reach about 4' 5" (135cms). Few exceptions are permitted.
* Taller children and all those aged 12 and over need to use adult belts.
* Rear-facing baby seats must not be used in seats with an active frontal air-bag;
* There are some specific practical exemptions - for taxis, emergency vehicles, and (for children aged 3 and over) journeys over a short distance in an unexpected necessity.
* In mini-buses, buses and coaches, seated passengers aged 14 years and above must use seat belts where they are fitted. Further regulations will be made as soon as possible requiring children under 14 years to use seat belts in these vehicles.
Further regulations will be introduced in due course so that:
* Where seat belts are provided, the number of people carried in the rear of cars and goods vehicles may not exceed the number of seats available fitted with seat belts or child restraints (to apply from May 2009).
* Modern UN ECE Regulation 44.03 (or later) type-approved child restraints must be used from May 2008. Most restraints in use already meet this standard.
Information has been taken from Government News Network as at 17th July 2006
In all cases involving children it is the driver's responsibility in law to ensure these rules are followed, failure to do so will result in a £30 fixed penalty notice. If the case goes to court, the maximum fine is £500.
Car Seat Types
Group 0+ are rear facing portable infant carriers. They are light, easy to carry and can be used as a rocker. They are rear-facing only, for use in the back or front (when not fitted with an airbag) and are suitable from birth to 13kg.
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Group 0-1 are rear & forward facing seats. They are versatile, 2-way seats for use rear-facing for young babies birth to 13kg. They then convert to a forward facing seat suitable from 9 to 18kg (9 months - 4 years). They include a integral one-pull harness & secure with adult lap & diagonal seat belt when not fitted with an airbag.
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Group 1 are forward facing car seats suitable from 9 to 18kg (9 months - 4 years). They include a integral one-pull harness & secure with adult lap & diagonal seat belt.
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Group 1, 2, 3 are highback boosters. They are versatile, longer use, forward-facing car seats that also convert to a booster seat. They are suitable from 9 to 36kg (9mnths - 11 years).
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Group 2, 3 are highback boosters. They are versatile, longer use, forward-facing that convert to a booster seat. They are suitable from 15 to 36kg (3 - 11 years).
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Group 3 are booster seats. They are lightweight seats which raise the child so that the seat belt is held in the correct position over the shoulder. They are secured with an adult seat belt front (or back when not fitted with an airbag). They are either suitable from 15 to 36kg (4 - 11 years) or 22 to 36 kg (5 - 11 years).
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