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Child car seats: the law
Using a child car seat or booster seat
Children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first.
Only EU-approved child car seats can be used in the UK. These have a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle.
You can choose a child car seat based on your child’s height or weight.
Height-based car seats
Height-based car seats are known as ‘i-Size’ seats. They must be rear-facing until your child is over 15 months old. Your child can use a forward-facing car seat when they’re over 15 months old.
You must check the seat to make sure it’s suitable for the height of your child.
Weight-based car seats
Weight-based car seats must be rear-facing until your child weighs more than 9kg.
After that the seat your child can use (and the way they must be restrained in it) depends on their weight.
You may be able to choose from more than one type of seat.
Child’s weightCar seat
0kg to 13kgRear-facing baby carrier, or rear-facing baby seat using a harness
9kg to 18kgRear- or forward-facing baby seat using a harness or safety shield
15kg to 36kgForward-facing child seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seatbelt
The Child Car Seats website has information on how to choose a car seat and travel safely with children in cars.
Fitting a child car seat
You must only use a child car seat if your car’s seat belt has a diagonal strap, unless the car seat is either:
specifically designed for use with a lap seat belt
fitted using ISOFIX anchor points
You must also:
deactivate any front airbags before fitting a rear-facing baby seat in a front seat
not fit a child car seat in side-facing seats
Children with disabilities or medical conditions
The same rules apply for children with disabilities or medical conditions, but they can use a disabled person’s seat belt or a child restraint designed for their needs.
A doctor can issue an exemption certificate if a child is unable to use a restraint or seat belt because of their condition.
(GOV.UK 19 February 2016)