We want to travel to France but don't know what the local CSR legislation is. Can children travel in the front in a car seat in Germany? Up to what age do children have to use a CRS in Belgium? We help explain the different laws across the European Union. Don't miss this interesting infographic to discover all the details
According to European Union Directive 2014/37/EU (which has already been introduced in many member countries) children under than 150cm in height occupying M1, N1, N2 and N3 vehicles fitted with safety systems shall be restrained by an integral or non-integral child-restraint system which is suitable for the child's physical features. It also states that children under three years of age may not be transported in M1, N1, N2 and N3 vehicles that are not fitted with safety systems. While children aged three and over and less than 150cm tall shall occupy a seat other than a front seat.
Where a child-restraint system is used, it shall be approved to the standards of UNECE Regulation 44/03 or Directive 77/541/EEC or UNECE Regulation 129 any subsequent adaptation thereto.
Finally, the child restraint system shall be installed in accordance with fitting information provided by the manufacturer of the child restraint system.
EU CRS LEGISLATION
In Germany children aged under 12 and less than 150cm tall must wear the corresponding child restraint system. It also recommends that the over 12s use a special protection system if they are under 150cm in height and that under 14s travel in the rear.
In Austria seats are mandatory for all children aged under 14 who are shorter than 150cm (these must be suitable for their height and weight), while Belgian legislation states that children under 135cm must wear a CRS and rear-facing car seats must not be used in the front if the airbag is activated.
In Bulgaria under 3s must travel in a car seat while older children under 150cm tall must travel in the back seat but do not need to wear a seat belt or CRS. However, in Croatia children aged under 12 must travel in the rear of the vehicle in a car seat which is suitable for their physical features. Infants under 2 can travel in a rear-facing car seat in the front of the vehicle if the airbag is deactivated.
What about Cyprus? Here children aged under 12 and below 150cm in height must wear a suitable CRS and under 5s may not travel in the front.
In Czech Republic children weighing less than 36kg and under 150cm tall must wear a CRS suitable for their physical features. They can travel in a rear-facing car seat in the front but only if the airbag is disconnected.
Moving over to Denmark children under 135cm must use a suitable car seat while in Estonia children under 12 and who are too short to use a seat belt must use a car seat. They may only use a rear-facing car seat in the front if the airbag has been deactivated.
In Finland, Netherlands and Spain the maximum height to use a suitable CRS is 135cm. Under 3s may only travel without a CRS in taxis.
On French roads children under 10 must use a CRS which is suitable to their physical features. Children under 10 may only travel in the front if all the back seats are occupied by other under 10s, if there are no seat belts in the rear or if the vehicle does not have rear seats. Infants may only go in the front in rear-facing car seats if the airbag is deactivated.
If you're traveling to Italy children under 12 and less than 150cm tall must travel in a suitable CRS. and if the child is over 12 but under 150cm they should still use a CRS.
In the UK children under 12 and below 135cm in height must wear a CRS and the under 3s must wear a CRS which is suitable to their weight in all vehicles. The only exception is travelling by taxi when they may use rear seat belts if no car seat is available. Rear-facing car seats may only be used in the front if the airbag is deactivated.
In Greece,as in many other EU countries, children aged under 12 and less than 135cm tall must travel in a suitable car seat. Rear-facing car seats may only be used in the front if the airbag is deactivated.
In Hungary, Rumania and Slovakia under 12s below 150cm tall must use a suitable car seat in the rear. In Hungary, children under 3 may only use a rear-facing CRS in the front if the airbag is deactivated.
In Ireland children under 3 may only use a rear-facing CRS in the front if the airbag is deactivated while children over 3 and 150cm tall must use a suitable child restraint system. They may only use rear seatbelts in the following circumstances: when traveling by taxi with no car seat or if there are already two children traveling in the rear.
A height limit of 150cm is also in place in Latvia and Slovenia while in Lithuania under 12s or children less than 135cm tall must wear a CRS. In Luxembourg under 3s must travel in a car seat while children over 3 and under 18 or who are less than 150cm tall must use a suitable car seat. Children weighing over 36kg may use the rear seat belts.
Drivers in Malta must ensure that children aged 3-10 and shorter than 150cm traveling in the front wear the suitable CRS. If no car seat is available children may use the rear seat belts. Children aged under 3 may not travel in the front unless they wear a suitable CRS and the airbag is deactivated.
In Poland children under 12 and below 150cm tall must wear a CRS and travel in the rear if they are shorter than 135cm. Rear-facing car seats may only be used in the front if the airbag has been deactivated (under 3s).
Turning to Sweden children shorter than 135cm must travel in a car seat and if they are over 15 and 135cm tall they may use a seat belt.
The following sources have been used for this infographic: the AIT/FIA Information Centre (OTA) – 2015, The Automobile Association (AA)-2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the various national transport bodies.