THINK! EDUCATION

Think! Education


Reference: Seat belt and car seats - the legal requirements

By law, you must wear a seat belt in cars and goods vehicles where one is fitted. Children up to 135cm in height must use a child seat/booster.  The driver is liable to prosecution if a child under 14 years does not wear a seat belt or child restraint as required.

Children under 12 and up to 135cms tall must use the correct child restraint for their weight (not age) when travelling in the front or back seat of any car, van or goods vehicle. There are very few exceptions (see http://think.dft.gov.uk/think/focusareas/children/childincar - new window).  'Child restraint' means any of baby seat, child seat, booster seat or booster cushion.
A child can use an adult belt when they reach 135cm or their 12th birthday, whichever comes first.

In buses and coaches with seat belts fitted, passengers aged 14 years and above must use them.

The law for cars, vans and other goods vehicles is summarised in this table:

Person Front seat Back seat Who is responsible
Driver  Seat belt must be worn if fitted   Driver 
Child up to three years of age Correct child restraint must be used The correct child restraint must be used. If one is not available in a licensed taxi / private hire vehicle, the child may travel unrestrained. Driver 
Child from third birthday up to 135cms in height (approx 4'5") or 12th birthday, whichever is reached first Correct child restraint must be used Where seat belts are fitted, the correct child restraint must be used. The child must use an adult belt in the back seat if the correct child restraint is not available either:

- in a licensed taxi or private hire vehicle
- for a short distance in an unexpected necessity
- if two occupied child restraints prevent fitting of a third.

A child three years and over may travel unrestrained in the back seat of a vehicle if seat belts are not fitted in the rear.
Driver 
Child 12 or 13, or over 135 cms (approx 4' 5") in height Seat belt must be worn if fitted Seat belt must be worn if fitted Driver 
Passengers aged 14 years and over Seat belt must be worn if fitted Seat belt must be worn if fitted Passenger