Do you need to use child car seats in Europe?
Yes, under EU law, all children must travel in an appropriate car seat (child restraint system) when travelling on the roads in any EU country. The driver of the car is ultimately responsible for ensuring that any children travelling in the car are doing so in an appropriate car seat for their age / height.
What are the car seat laws in Europe?
Car seat exemptions in Europe
- Children under 3 may only travel in private or goods vehicles where an appropriate car seat (child restraint system) is used.
- Children aged 3-12 must use an appropriate car seat (child restraint system) with the seat belt (where fitted).
- Rear facing car seats may only be used where an active airbag is disabled.
- Any child under 150 cm (or less than 36kg) must use an appropriate car seat (child restraint system) for the weight and height.
- Children should where possible, travel in the rear seats of a car, however it is not a legal requirement to do so.
- Backless booster seats can only be used by children over 125 cm tall.
Whilst the EU regulations aim to improve the safety of children when travelling on its roads, there are exemptions to the law as it’s not always possible to use a car seat, these include;
Do children need a car seat in a taxi in Europe?
- Taxis / private hire vehicles are not required to have suitable child car seats for all eventualities. If you plan to use a taxi / private hire in Europe, you should consider how safe that is for your child.
- Children over 3 may use a regular seatbelt in the rear seats of a car where there is no more room for a child car seat
- Where it is not possible for the child to sit in the rear seats, they may travel in the front seat provided that a suitable car seat for their weight / height is used.
- Bus / coach travel does not require a child seat, however where regular seatbelts are provided, children aged 3-12 must use them (as all passengers).
The use of child car seats in a taxi in Europe is generally not required as taxi are exempt from the EU rule. However, you should check for any local / country restrictions as the EU laws are a minimum standard and some member states have imposed stricter regulations around child car seats.
Are car seat laws the same across Europe?
No, whilst the EU law sets a minimum standard required for all member states, some countries have higher standards that you should be aware of before taking to the roads. Whilst generally speaking you should be able to use your own car seat across the EU member states, you should check in advance to ensure you comply with the relevant car seat laws in Europe.