The EU has common traffic rules which are required to follow the law, but when it comes to recommendations, it is not as black or white. We decided to find out what’s what, and tell about things that you as a parent should know – everything so your child will be able to follow along in your car journeys and travel with the best possible safety and comfort.
What does the law say?
- The first thing that comes under the law is that if there is a place with a seat belt, everyone who travels by car or truck sitting in that place must use the belt.
- Children who are shorter than 135 centimeters must use the infant carrier, car seat, booster seat, booster cushion or other special safety equipment for children.
- Children who are shorter than 135 centimeters (or younger than three years) may not travel in a vehicle without special protection.
- Many cars are equipped with an airbag on the passenger side. Never place a rear-facing car seat where there is an active airbag. It is extremely important that the airbag is disabled before placement in the front seat.
- The driver is responsible for all passengers under 15, ensuring that they wear a seat belt or are fastened into a safety seat. It is illegal to drive a vehicle with more passengers than the car is registered for.
What are the recommendations?
In addition to the above rules, there are a variety of tips and recommendations. Here is a summary of the most important things you should know as a parent.
- An infant should start to ride in an infant carrier. When the child can sit steadily without support it is time to switch to a rear-facing car seat that can be mounted both front and rear in the car.
- The safest option for children is to ride rear-facing for as long as possible, preferably up to the age of 6. One mistake that many make is to turn the children around too early, something that in an accident can mean the difference between life and death.
- A rear-facing car seat should never be placed in front of an active airbag, but in cars without active passenger airbag, there are more positive effects of placing the child up front. Firstly, there is more space than in the rear, which means that the child can travel rear-facing longer. Second, the driver can have better supervision over the child.
- Car seats with belt attachment that can be used until the child weighs about 25 kilos. The seat is outgrown when the child’s head sticking up by a third over the edge, roughly level with the child’s eyes, or when the seat’s recommended weight limit has been passed.
- When the child has outgrown the car seat replace it with advantage to the booster seat and then booster cushion. Both physicians and researchers recommend that children should use a booster seat or booster cushion until they are approximately 10-12 years old.