We know that children under 135cm tall must travel in approved child restraint systems suitable for their size and weight but how should these child car seats be installed? Do the regulations stipulate anything in this regard?
It is certainly the case that the Spanish General Traffic Rules do mention this point. It states that in vehicles with up to 9 seats, including the driver, children up to 135cm tall must use child restraint systems and they should be fitted on the rear seats. There are three exceptions when a child in a child car seat can go on the front seat:
- If the vehicle does not have any rear seats.
- If all the rear seats are occupied by other young children in child car seats.
- If it is impossible to install any kind of child restraint system on the rear seats.
If the child needs to sit on the front seat for any of these reasons they may only be rear-facing if the front airbag has been deactivated. This is how to deactivate the airbag.
In addition to indicating where the child seat should be installed, the Traffic Rules demonstrate how to install it. Specifically, it establishes that child restraint systems shall be installed in the vehicle in line with the instructions provided by the manufacturer in a manual, brochure or electronic publication. The instructions will indicate how to install the seat and in what kind of vehicle it can be used safely.
Whether or not the Civil Guard Traffic Police check that we have correctly installed the child car seat according to the manufacturer's instructions, it is true that the regulations themselves cover this point, therefore it could be a punishable offence at any point.
Regardless of how much the seat might cost, we should realise that by following the manufacturer's guidelines in order to correctly install the seat and secure the child in it we are guaranteeing the greatest protection for our children when traveling by car. We offer a number of recommendations on the installation and securing of the child in the child car seat.