EU Car Seat Laws

Seatbelts save lives and under EU law, all children must travel in a child seat, booster seat or booster cushion.

It’s the driver’s’ responsibility to be sure their passengers are using seat belts and appropriate child restraints.

Car Seats 

  • Children under 3 can only travel in cars or goods vehicles if there are fitted with the appropriate child restraint.  Taxis are exempt from this rule.
  • Children between ages 3 and 12 must use an appropriate child restraint in cars or goods vehicles if they are fitted with safety belts (If the car or goods vehicle doesn’t have safety belts, they must sit in the back seat).
  • In passenger seats with an active airbag, rear-facing child restraints must not be used.
  • Any child under 150cms or weighing less than 36kg must be restrained in a child restraint which is appropriate for their height and weight.  The safest place for a child to sit is in the back seat of the car, in the appropriate child restraint, however this is not always possible.  It is safe and legal for a child of any age to sit in the front passenger seat of a car provided they are using the correct child restraint for their height and weight.  However, if you are transporting a baby in a rearward facing child restraint in the front passenger seat you should disable the front passenger air bag.  Please leave the air bag active for all other child restraints.

For buses:

  • Children between 3 and 12 must use safety belts if they are fitted
  • If seatbelts are available, bus drivers are required to tell passengers that it is the law to wear them


  • Taxis, hackneys and limousines do not need to have every kind of child restraints available
  • A child over 3 can wear a seatbelt in the back seat of a car or a goods vehicle if there is no more room for a child safety seat
  • If it is not possible to place your child in the back seat of your vehicle, they can ride in the passenger seat, as long as they are using the appropriate restraints.
  • Child restraints come in several weight classes so you can find the appropriate one for your child.

Which Car Seat?

Rear facing baby seat
  • Weight range: for babies up to 13 kgs (29 lbs)
  • General age range:  from birth to 12-15 months
  • Seat details: provide protection for baby’s head neck and spine
Forward facing child seat
  • Weight range: for kids 9-18 kgs (20-40 lbs)
  • General age range: 9 months – 4 years
Booster seats
  • Weight range: 15-25 kgs (33-55 lbs)
  • General age range: 4-6 years
Booster cushions
  • Weight range: 22-36 kgs (48-79 lbs)
  • General age range: 6-12 years
  • Seat details: You must use the seatbelt in conjunction with the booster cushion

You might also be interested in …

Tips on Travel Around Europe with Babies and Kids Under 5

Travel Europe with a Baby or Toddler


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  1. Grapam says:

    Hi !
    We are a group of 6 adults and 4 children age 6 months, 3 yrs, 6 yrs, 13 yrs
    Is it legal or mandatory to rent a 10 seater car in this case OR can we rent an 8 seater car and travel without car seats for babies?
    Practically, there’s no 10 seater car but just mini Van which is quite big.
    Renting a car makes a big difference to our travel.


  2. Saul says:

    I am not able to comment on laws, but having driven in Europe for many years, I strongly suggest you strap all children in as safely as possible. All of them should have individual seat belts. Certain countries are notorious for motor vehicle fatalities related to high speed driving on highways. I have seen many a speeding car ruin many other cars when something goes wrong.

  3. Charisma DaSilav says:

    We will be traveling from France to Germany with our four year old. I am looking at buying mifold booster seat. Is this approved?

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