Outside of rare exceptions, all children from birth will require a car seat or booster seat until they are either 12 years of age or 135 centimetres in height (whichever comes first).
Before 15 months of age, all babies must sit in a rear-facing position, ideally in the rear of the vehicle. Car seats and booster seats used in the UK must also be EU-approved, showing the specific safety standard labels of a circled capital 'E' with either the code 'ECE R44' or ‘R129’.
In accordance with UK law, all babies must sit in a rear-facing position when travelling in a vehicle until they are older than 15 months of age. At this point, parents may sit their babies in a forward-facing position while strapped securely into a car seat or booster seat.
Before 15 months, it is illegal to sit your child in a forward-facing seat, as this will compromise their safety and protection in the instance of a collision. For further information on child car seat rules, visit the UK Gov website for guidance.
The UK law states that children under three years of age should not ride in the front seat of a car, even if they are in a safe and secure car seat.
Once the child is above three years or is at least 135 centimetres, they may ride in the front only if the passenger airbag is deactivated and they are secured within an EU-approved car seat, based on either their weight or their height. There are some exceptions to the rule, such as in emergencies. However, children under 12 years old or 135 centimetres should always ride in the rear of the car and in the correct car or booster seat.
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