Child Car Seats

The use of seat belts and child restraint systems are stipulated in the Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) Regulations. These can be accessed on this link.

These rules, which are harmonised across the EU, distinguish between young children (under the age of 3years) and children (3 to 12 years). The following are the main rules for each category:

Young Children (under the age of 3 years):

Cannot travel in cars that are not equipped with safety systems;

Must be carried in a child restraint system according to the child’s weight as detailed in the following table:

  Classification of Child Restraints
Group 0 for children of a mass of less than 10 kg
Group 0+ for children of a mass of less than 13 kg
Group I for children of a mass between 9 kg and 18 kg
Group II for children of a mass between 15 kg and 25 kg
Group III for children of a mass between 22kg and 36 kg

 

Must be carried in a rear-ward facing position up to 15 months of age;

If carried in a rear-ward facing position on a front seat, the airbag must be deactivated;

No adult seat beat can be applied to a young child.

Children ( 3 to 12 years of age):

Must be restrained by a child restraint system according to the child’s weight as detailed in the following table:

  Classification of Child Restraints
Group 0 for children of a mass of less than 10 kg
Group 0+ for children of a mass of less than 13 kg
Group I for children of a mass between 9 kg and 18 kg
Group II for children of a mass between 15 kg and 25 kg
Group III for children of a mass between 22kg and 36 kg

 

Must always use a safety system when travelling in minivans and coaches;

A child whose height is between 150cm and 135cm must use a child restraint system if travelling as a front seat passenger. If no child restraint system is available, he or she may occupy a back seat and use an adult seat belt.

Some tips

The following are some tips for the correct use of child restraint systems:

Avoid second-hand car seats

You can never be sure a second-hand car seat is a safe car seat. You don’t know if it’s been damaged in an accident, or has pieces missing.

Use the correct size car seat

It’s best to buy a car seat for your child’s current height and weight, then buy the next size up. Avoid seats that claim to cover all ages in one.

Install car seats correctly

  • Baby car seats must always be rear facing.
  • If you have ISOFIX in your car use an ISOFIX car seat, it’s easy to install the seat to the anchor points.
  • If you don’t have ISOFIX you can use a seat belt installed car seat. Make sure you know how to guide the belt correctly and pull the car seat belt tight.
  • Pull the car seat’s safety harness tight. If you can just slip one finger between the harness and your child’s chest, it’s tight enough.
  • Read the car seat manual or watch the installation video and follow the instructions carefully.

Take your child’s coat off

A thick coat can make the harness less effective. If your child is cold, use their coat as a blanket over the harness.

Make sure the safety harness is at the right height and not twisted

The harness should be at shoulder height. Check that there are no twists in the straps.

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Use a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible

It’s safest for babies and toddlers to stay in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least 15 months old. It doesn’t matter if their legs stick out, but if their heads are higher than the seat shell, they need the next size.

Beware of activated frontal airbags

The safest place for a rear-facing car seat is on the back seat, passenger side. This avoids the danger of front airbags inflating against the seat. Deactivate the front airbag if you use your car seat on the passenger seat and place this seat in the rearmost position.

Keep loose items off the rear parcel shelf

In an accident, even small loose items can turn into dangerous projectiles. Tuck them away safely.