Children under 135 cm travel with child restraint systems on the rear seats (except in certain circumstances) and adults and those taller than 135cm wear a seat belt. This is what the law stipulates and the reason for it is clear. It is crucial for the child to be well-secured even if he or she is traveling on the rear seats.
Adults and children on rear seats should be properly secured
The National Department of Traffic reminds us that it is extremely important to wear a seat belt on the rear seats.The number of vehicle checks carried out demonstrate that more people are not putting their seat belts on if they are on the rear seat than if they are on the front seats. In a head-on collision, a rear-seat passenger is eight times more likely to fatally injure another passenger on the front seats.
Seat belts lower the risk of death in an accident by 50%. In fact, at 80 km/h a head-on collision in which the passenger is not wearing a seat belt usually involves death or serious injury.
Less than 135 cm tall, in the rear seat with a child car seat
The reasons for wearing a seat belt are crystal clear: it protects you from being thrown out of the passenger compartment and from crashing against the windscreen. Children under 135 cm are too small to only wear a seat belt. This is why they need child restraint systems suitable for their size and weight.
What happens when a child under 135 cm tall travels on the rear seats with only a seat belt? As seen in a crash test carried out by Fundación MAPFRE, the belt presses against the child's neck and can cause serious injury. It was also noted that the test dummy slid forwards, making the belt press down on the abdomen, which could lead to submarining:
This is why it is not enough to merely put a seat belt on a child as they should always be seated in a suitable child restraint system. If you are not sure which seat to buy, take a look at our recommendations on choosing the most suitable CRS for the child according to their height and weight.
What happens if no restraint device is used?
We already know what will happen if a child is not using any child restraint system. The Department of Traffic reminds us of the consequences in a number of their campaigns.
This is what happens when the passenger traveling on the rear seat without a seat belt is an adult, as demonstrated by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).
A crash test carried out by ADAC also shows what happens when the child in question is traveling without any restraint device and looking through the rear window. The child is thrown out of the seat and crashes against the rear part of the vehicle: