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Child restraints (Factsheet 7)

This factsheet is a general overview of what information parents and care givers need to know when children travel in a vehicle. This includes what the legal requirements are for restraining children in a vehicle, as well as what information you need to know when renting or purchasing (new and used) child restraints, and the fitting of child restraints into a vehicle.


The child restraint laws changed on 1 November 2013. The factsheet below has been updated to reflect those changes.

You can also view information on child restraints in our safety section

Exceptions to the law

Back to Child Restraints

A child doesn't have to be seated in an approved child restraint if they're travelling in a:

  • vintage vehicle (first registered before 1955) that is not fitted with safety belts
  • passenger service vehicle (eg taxi, shuttle, bus) when no appropriate child restraint is available.

However, where a safety belt is available , the child must be restrained, and where an approved child restraint is available, it must be used (where appropriate for the child's age and weight).

Taxi companies may provide child restraints if you give them 24 hours notice.

Note that the driver of a passenger service vehicle, such as a bus or taxi, is not legally responsible for ensuring safety belts are used (if fitted). However if an appropriate child restraint is available in the vehicle then that taxi driver is responsible for ensuring that a child under seven is restrained in it (the same as any other driver).

Note that the driver of a bus is not responsible for ensuring a child is appropriately restrained. It is up to the person in charge of the child to make sure they are correctly restrained.

A child aged seven or over, but under the age of 15, may be seated in the front seat of a vehicle without an approved suitable child restraint if there is no back seat, or the back seat is already full of other children under 15 years old. The child must be restrained using the available safety belt.

In exceptional circumstances a medical practitioner may provide a certificate to provide exemption from the use of a child restraint for a specified period of time.