Assuring the safety of my two children is the top of my list, nothing comes above it, especially when it comes to travelling. Roads today appear to be more dangerous now. As of the 30th September 2014, there was an astounding 45.5 million active driving records in Great Britain. Even with revoked licenses and ones that have been surrendered/suspended due to medical reasons etc that still leaves an immense number of motorists on our roads.

So assuring my children’s safety whilst out and about travelling in the car is paramount. I have researched into this area so much that I feel like an FBI agent.

I believe knowledge is power and I have made an informed decision to the seats I have chosen for my children.

So what is the car seat law?
I know this is a very confusing subject, and there are so many articles on the internet. So I have tried to make this as easy as possible to understand.
Currently, in the UK, children must use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever may come first.
Those children who are over the age of 12, or are 135cm+ tall MUST wear a seat belt.

You can choose a child car seat based on your child’s height or weight. This is your choice.

Weight Based Car seats

Does your child weigh 0-9kg? Then you need a Group 0 car seat.
-Lie-flat baby carrier,
-Rear-facing baby seat using a harness or baby carrier

Does your child weigh 0-13kg? Then you need a Group 0+ car seat.
-Rear-facing baby seat using a harness or baby carrier

Does your child weigh 9-18kg? Then you need a Group 1 car seat.
-Rear- or forward-facing car seat using a harness/safety shield

Does your child weigh 15-36kg? Then you need a Group 2 and 3 car seat.
-Rear- or forward-facing child car seat using a seat belt, harness/safety shield

Does your child weigh 36kg+? Then they must wear a seat belt.

Only EU-approved weight-based child car seats can be used legally in the UK. These have a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle and ‘ECE R44’

Height based car seats

The other type of car seat available is height-based seats, and now known as ‘i-Size’ seats.
i-Size was first introduced in 2013 to make children’s car seats much easier to fit and to provide better protection from side impacts and keep children rearward facing for longer.

The main bits to remember if you choose this type of car seat are-

Babies MUST be rear-facing until they are over 15 months old (still significantly lower than other countries) Click here for more information on rearward facing

Your child can use a forward-facing child car seat when they’re over 15 months old. (There are many i-size car seats available now that are rear facing and then allow you to turn around so your child can be forward facing) so you do not to buy another car seat.

You must check the seat to make sure it’s suitable for the height of your child (Parents tend to know their child’s height better than their weight, which in theory should make it easier for parents to judge if the seat is suitable)

Only EU-approved height-based child car seats can be used in the UK. These have a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle and ‘R129’.

The UK law is due to change again on the 1st March 2017. Currently, the regulations surrounding booster cushions are being reviewed, and will only be allowed for use if your child is taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg.

I personally emailed the Department for Transport and received a very informative response ‘By March 2017 new types of booster cushions products will only be approved for children weighing 22 to 36kg and of a stature of at least 120cm. This will only affect new products and not those already on the market. For those children weighing between 15 and 22kg or less than 120cm in height, the high backed booster seat will be the most appropriate product’

If your child is already on a booster cushion do not worry because ‘If you currently own a booster cushion which has been approved to Regulation 44, this product will remain safe for use by children matching the weight described on the ECE R44 sticker. As it has met the minimum safety standards required’

Remember stay safe and stay legal.


This blog applies to UK residents only