APPLY FOR AN INTERNATIONAL DRIVING PERMIT. Some Common Tourist Destinations and Their Laws.

Child Car Seat Laws in Europe


When it’s time to set off on your holiday adventure, the prospect of lugging a big, heavy car seat with you can be more than a bit daunting. But it’s still the best way to keep your child safe. Unlike rental car seats, you know the history of your own car seat, you should be familiar with the install, and you know it’s appropriate for your child.

Car Seat Across Europe

APPLY FOR AN INTERNATIONAL DRIVING PERMIT


If you are going out of the country, you should apply for an international driving permit as soon as possible. The IDP is used in conjunction with the driver's license from your country of residence. It is translated into several different languages, making it much easier to communicate with law enforcement or the local car rental desk if you aren't fluent in the local language (or even if you are). The permit can come in handy in many different situations that may arise while you are traveling in a foreign country - especially if you're booking an international one-way car rental. It is still highly recommended that you obtain one of these low cost permits before your travel


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.

Under EU law, seat belts must be used in all vehicles. Children over 1.35 m can use an adult seat belt. Those under 1.35 m must use equipment appropriate to their size and weight when travelling in cars or lorries. It is now against the law to use a rear-facing child seat on the front passenger seat – unless the airbag has been deactivated.


Some common tourist destinations and their laws.


Here are the details about a few holiday destinations around Europe.


Country

Details

Austria

Children under 14 and less than 1.5m tall cannot travel as a front or rear seat passenger unless using an appropriate child restraint. Vehicles in which child restraints cannot be fitted i.e. those without seatbelts may not be used at all to transport children under 14 years of age.

Belgium

Children under 18 and less than 1.35m must use a suitable child-restraint system whether seated in the front or rear seat of a vehicle. When two child restraint systems are being used on the rear seats and there isn’t adequate room to place a third child restraint system, then the third child may travel on the back seat protected by the adult seat belt. A child under three cannot be transported in a vehicle without a child seat/restraint, except in a taxi.

Bulgaria

Children under the age of 3 may not be carried unless using an appropriate child restraint. If seated in the front seat, the airbag must be deactivated. Children aged 3 or over and less than 1.5m tall must be seated with an appropriate restraint suitable to their size, they must be seated in the rear.

Croatia

Children under the age of two must be seated in a suitable rear facing child seat with the passenger airbag turned off, if seated in the front. Children aged over 2 and under 5 must be seated in a suitable child seat in the rear of the vehicle. Children aged 5 to 12 must use a suitable child restraint/booster seat in the rear.

Cyprus

Children under 5 years old must not travel in the front passenger seat. They must use a suitable child restraint in the rear of the vehicle. Children aged 5 to 12 years old and less than 1.5m in height must use a child restraint adapted to their size. They may occupy the front passenger seat if an appropriate child seat has been fitted.

Czech Republic

Children under 36kg and under 150cm in height must not travel in a vehicle unless using a suitable restraint system, adapted to their size and weight. Children must use a suitable child restraint if carried in the front seat. The airbag must be deactivated if the child restraint is rear-facing.

Denmark

Children under three years must be seated in a restraint system adapted to their size. Children over three and less than 1.35m must be seated in a child restraint system suitable for their height and weight. You must not carry a child in a rear-facing child seat in a front seat with an active airbag.

France & Monaco

Children up to the age of 10 must travel in an approved child seat or restraint suitable for their age and size. Children under the age of 10 aren’t allowed to travel in the front seat unless there’s no rear seat, or the rear seat is already occupied by children under 10, or there are no seat belts in the rear. The French Highway Code doesn’t specify a minimum height for children to use an adult seat belt so we recommend that you apply the minimum height of 150cm set by the appropriate European Directive.

Germany

Any children aged under 12 and less than 1.5m tall must be seated in a suitable child seat/restraint. You may not carry a child in a rear-facing child seat in the front unless any passenger airbag has been deactivated. Any child restraints/seats you use must conform to ECE 44/03 or ECE 44/04.

Gibraltar

Children under 3 years must use a suitable child restraint unless riding in the back seat of a taxi in which a suitable child restraint is not available. You can only carry a child in a rear-facing child seat in the front seat if you have deactivated the air-bag. Children aged 3 and older who are under 135cm tall must use a suitable child restraint. A child over 12 years of age or more than 135cm tall may use an adult seat belt.

Greece

Children under 3 years old must use a suitable child restraint (approved to ECE R44/03or later). Children between 3 and 11 years old and less than 1.35m tall must use a suitable child restraint. From the age of 12, children more than 1.35m tall can wear an adult seat belt. You may only carry a child in a rear-facing child seat in the front passenger seat if you have deactivated the passenger airbag.

Iceland

Children under 3 years old must use a suitable child restraint. Children over 3 years of age and under 1.5m tall must use a suitable child restraint. Children must not ride in the front passenger seat if there is an active airbag present.

Ireland

Children under 3 years of age may not travel in a car (other than a taxi) unless they are using a suitable child restraint. Children under 3 years of age may only travel in the front seat in a rear facing child restraint and with any passenger airbag disabled. Children over 3 years old, less than 1.5m tall, and weighing less than 36kg must use a suitable child restraint when travelling in a car fitted with seat belts. If seat belts are not fitted they must travel on the rear seats. Child restraints must conform with the ECE R44.03 standard.

Italy & San Marino

Children travelling in a UK registered vehicle, must be secured according to UK legislation.

Malta

Children under 3 years old must not travel as a front or rear seat passenger unless using a suitable child restraint. Children between 3 and 10 years old or under 1.5m tall travelling in the front seats must use a suitable child restraint. In the rear, they may use an adult belt if a suitable child restraint is not available.

The Netherlands

Children up to the age of 18 and less than 1.35m tall must use an appropriate child restraint approved to ECE 44/03 or 44/04. You may not carry children under 3 years old unless they are in an appropriate child restraint. You must deactivate any passenger airbag before carrying a child in the front passenger seat using a rear facing child seat.

Norway

Children under 1.35m tall must use an appropriate child restraint. Airbags must be deactivated where children are seated in a rear-facing child restraint. A child between 1.35 and 1.5m tall should use a booster seat with an adult seat belt.

Poland

Children under 12 years old and under 1.5m tall cannot travel as a front or rear seat passenger unless using an appropriate child restraint. You must not use a rear-facing child restraint in a front seat with an active passenger airbag.

Portugal

Children under 12 years old and less than 1.35m tall cannot travel as front seat passengers. They must travel in the rear in an appropriate child restraint, unless the vehicle has only two seats, or is not fitted with seat belts. You may carry a child under 3 years old in the front passenger seat as long as they are using an appropriate child restraint and the airbag is switched off if the child restraint is rear-facing.

Romania

Children under 12 years of age cannot travel as a front seat passenger. A child up to three years of age must use an appropriate child restraint. A child under 12 years of age and less than 1.5m tall must use either an appropriate restraint or a booster seat.

Russian Federation

Children under 12 years of age cannot travel as a front or rear seat passenger unless using an appropriate child restraint.

Spain

Children under 12 years of age and under 1.35m tall must use an appropriate child restraint unless travelling in a taxi in an urban area. Children under 12 must not travel in the front seat unless the rear seats are already occupied by children, or the vehicle doesn’t have rear seats, e.g. a van. Children taller than 1.35m may use an adult seatbelt.

Sweden

Children up to approx. 3 years old must use a rear-facing child restraint placed in either a front or back seat. A rear facing baby seat may only be used in the front seats if the air-bag has been deactivated. Children aged under 15 or under 1.35m must use an appropriate child restraint. The only exception is that they are permitted to travel unrestrained in the rear of a taxi if the right child restraint is not available. A child less than 1.40m tall is permitted to travel in the front seat of any vehicle only if the passenger seat airbag is deactivated. A child aged 15 and over, or above 1.35m in height may use an adult seat belt.

Switzerland & Liechtenstein

Children up to 12 years of age or up to 1.50m (whichever they reach first) must use an appropriate child restraint approved to UN ECE regulation 44.03, 44.04 or 129.

Turkey

Children under 1.5m tall and weighing less than 36kg must use an appropriate child restraint. You cannot carry a child under 3 years old without a child restraint. If they are using a rear-facing seat in the front, the airbag must be deactivated. Children between 3 and 10 years old must not travel in the front seat.

This Guide is correct at time of publication and is intended to provide general information, please refer to official safety laws if you are travelling abroad.


 

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