Do you know the law around child restraints?
As part of Lincolnshire Police’s campaign aimed at drivers to “Belt Up, Hang Up, Ease Up, they are highlighting the use of child restraints in vehicles.
One Sergeant recently wrote to parents explaining the law around child restraints in vehicles. Sergeant Mike Templeman, who is a Response Sergeant based at Lincoln, has found children sat in footwells, sitting on laps of other passengers and unrestrained in vehicles.
He wants to share the information as wide as possible and include children too, so they know how to keep everyone safe. Below we have copied the details of the current legislation for keeping children safe in vehicles. Please do take the time to read and understand; it could save serious injury or even worse the life of a precious child.
Drivers are responsible for all the people in a vehicle and may face prosecution if a child under 14 is not safely fastened in.
- In a crash you’re twice as likely to die if you don’t wear a seat belt.
- The purpose of a seat belt is to keep adults and children in their seats during a crash
- The seat belt is designed to work with other safety systems in vehicles to protect the occupant such as an air bag.
- People are less likely to wear seat belts on short or familiar journeys – putting them at serious risk of injury in a crash.
- Drivers caught without a seat belt face on the spot fines of £100. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500.
- Places occupants in real danger if not wearing one, they literally save lives and reduce the risk of death or serious injury.
- Some insurance companies may decline to cover if involved in an RTC and not wearing a seat belt.
Sergeant Mike Templeman said: “I have been asked on numerous occasions about the law regarding how children can be safely carried in a vehicle. I thought it would be useful to write to parents and now we’d like to reach grandparents and others who carry children in their vehicle, who may not have seen the letter. I hope this helps with any confusion around the subject.
“I can’t believe some of the risks drivers take in relation to children. Children are our most precious thing, and no amount of prosecution matches the guilt of them being injured or worse killed, when it could have been prevented.
“Please do not risk the safety of your children or prosecution if caught by the police, Let’s keep children safe and Lincolnshire’s road as safe as possible.”
Over the last 5 years 176 people have been issued with a fixed penalty notice for not having a child safely carried in a car:
|Drive a vehicle not fitted with a rear seat belt with a child under 12 and not 150cm seated in the rear||2||3||6||9||12||6|
|Drive a vehicle with a child passenger seated in the rear aged 3 to 13 years not wearing a seat belt||6||12||5|
|Drive a vehicle with a child passenger under 3 years sat in the rear not wearing a seat belt||8||7||8||4||13||9|
|Drive a vehicle with a child under 14 years in the front seat not wearing a seat belt||3||3||3||3||10||3|
|Drive a vehicle with a child passenger aged 3 to 13 years sat in the rear and not wearing a seat belt||10||19||12|
Further information can be found in a leaflet produced by The Department of Transport Seat Belts and Child Restraints (think.gov.uk).
Below is a direct lift from the gov.uk website in relation to child restraints in vehicles for your information:
Using a child car seat or booster seat
Children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first.
Children over 12 or more than 135cm tall must wear a seatbelt.
You can choose a child car seat based on your child’s height or weight.
Height-based 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 child 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.
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 seat your child can use (and the way they must be restrained in it) depends on their weight.
Only EU-approved weight-based child car seats can be used in the UK. These have a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle and ‘ECE R44’.
You may be able to choose from more than one type of seat in the group for your child’s weight.
|0kg to 10kg||0||Lie-flat or ‘lateral’ baby carrier, rear-facing baby carrier, or rear-facing baby seat using a harness|
|0kg to 13kg||0+||Rear-facing baby carrier or rear-facing baby seat using a harness|
|9kg to 18kg||1||Rear- or forward-facing baby seat using a harness or safety shield|
|15kg to 25kg||2||Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield|
|22kg to 36kg||3||Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield|
Manufacturers can now only make booster cushions approved as group 3. This won’t affect any existing booster cushions in group 2 and you’ll still be able to use them.
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 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
The child car seat website has information on how to choose a seat and travel safely with children in cars.
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.
If your vehicle doesn’t have seat belts
If your vehicle doesn’t have seat belts, for example it’s a classic car, you aren’t allowed to carry any children under 3 years old in it.
Children over 3 are only allowed to sit in the back seats.
These rules only apply if your vehicle was originally made without seat belts.