Home Somerset rules Ignore child car seat rules and risk £500 fine and penalty points

Ignore child car seat rules and risk £500 fine and penalty points


Drivers with children in their vehicles who ignore safety rules could face fines of up to £500. Updated Highway Code guidelines for child safety could also see drivers get penalty points for breaching them.

Failure to wear your seatbelt yourself is subject to an automatic £100 fine. However, if the case goes to court, you risk a fine of up to £500.

You could also face civil claims for damages, if (for example) you failed to transport someone else’s child safely, reports North Wales Live. And, in addition to legal penalties, failure to follow these rules could affect any claim against your car insurance coverage.

Experts at CarMats.com urged parents to continue to put their children first, which will save them from hefty fines by ensuring they follow the driving laws surrounding child car seats. Under rules 99 to 102 of the traffic laws, young people must remain in a car seat until they are 12 years old or 135 centimeters, whichever comes first.

A car seat can be chosen according to the height or weight of the child. Here we look at the settings:

Based on height: Size seats are chosen based on a child’s height so that they are the correct size for the seat. Children under 15 months must be placed in a rear-facing car seat until the age of 15 months and can sit in a forward-facing car seat.

Based on weight:




0kg to 10kg


Extended or “side” carrier, rear-facing carrier or rear-facing infant seat using a harness

0kg to 13kg


Rear-facing infant carrier or rear-facing infant seat with harness

9kg to 18kg


Rear-facing or forward-facing infant seat using a harness or safety shield

15kg to 25kg


Rear-facing or forward-facing child car seat (high-back booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield

22kg to 36kg


Rear-facing or forward-facing child car seat (high-back booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield

Common mistakes made by parents

1. The car seat is not installed correctly or securely

One indicator that your seat is not installed correctly is if the seat is significantly loose. If it can be moved easily, it may mean that your seat has not been installed correctly or that the car seat is not compatible with the car.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s manual supplied with your car seat and carefully check its fitment in your car each time it is used.

2. The child wears bulky clothes

This well-fitting down jacket can prevent your child from getting cold, but it can also be a safety risk. Added layers can add slack and reduce the defense of the car seat.

Instead, you should buckle your child into the seat first and then, for added warmth, add a blanket over it. This ensures that your child is properly strapped in.

3. Add non-essential toys to the seat

Entertaining a young child is no easy task, but strapping a toy to a child’s seat can pose a safety risk. Unless a toy or accessory is supplied with your seat or recommended by the manufacturer, it should not be used.

When detached from the seat, toys can become a theft hazard and cause a distraction while driving.

4. Straps are too loose or too tight

Your seat could be perfectly installed, but if the straps are not correctly adjusted, your child could be dislodged from the seat, leading to injuries, or worse, in the event of a collision. One way to check that the straps are properly attached is to perform the pinch test.

Simply place your fingers on the harness where it rests on your child’s collarbone. If the webbing material can be pinched and bent, the harness is too loose. Adjust the strap so that the material can no longer be pinched.

5. Switching from back to front too soon

In an effort to keep a watchful eye on children, many parents choose to move their babies into a forward-facing seat as soon as they reach the minimum age and appropriate weight at nine months or 9kg. Since young children are still developing, their necks, heads and spines are fragile and if placed in a forward-facing position too soon, they risk injuring these vulnerable areas.

Youngsters should remain in a rear-facing seat until they reach 13 kg or up to 15 months in an i-Size seat.

6. Forgetting to adjust the height of the strap as your child grows

Adjusting the harness strap height is not a one-time job – as children grow, so should the harness strap height. If the strap height does not match your child’s height, it may increase the amount of movement of your child’s body in a crash. It also increases the risk of injury.

Parents should monitor the height of the harness strap based on their child’s shoulders. In rear-facing seats, the straps should pass through the slots in the car seat below or at the same level as their shoulders. While on forward-facing seats, the straps should be above or at the same level as the shoulders.

7. Switching to a booster seat too soon

Only when a child is mature enough and reaches the height and weight limit for a car seat can they sit in a booster seat. Booster seats will come with weight and height limits and all vary based on the manufacturer’s instructions, however, there is also a maturity requirement for sitting in a booster seat.

The general rule is that children over the age of four can ride in a booster seat, but this is on a case-by-case basis. Even when your child reaches this age, if they can’t sit still in their seat, it may be worth keeping them in a child seat longer.