Car seat laws in England - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 09-13-2009, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Can anyone tell me where to find the laws about car seat use in England. I'll be travelling with a 9yo, 8yo and nearly 5yo.
Thanks!
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#2 of 17 Old 09-13-2009, 09:52 AM
 
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http://www.childcarseats.org.uk/law/index.htm

I should think you'll be fine with whatever they use at home. Will you be driving much?
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#3 of 17 Old 09-13-2009, 10:04 AM
 
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Can anyone tell me where to find the laws about car seat use in England. I'll be travelling with a 9yo, 8yo and nearly 5yo.
Thanks!
As long as you follow best practice, you'll be fine, because best practice exceeds the law in every country on the planet . I'd bring backless boosters for the 8 and 9 year old and a high back booster for the little fellow.

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#4 of 17 Old 09-13-2009, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks!
We won't be bringing our car seats. I'm pretty sure my parents have at least 2 backless boosters, so that should be fine for my older two (though my oldest probably is tall enough that we don't need, especially as the shoulder-belt height is probably low enough in their cars). And, they almost definitely have something for the youngest, from driving my nephew. Otherwise, they will either borrow, or buy to have for other grandchildren. I just need to let them know what to have available!
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#5 of 17 Old 09-13-2009, 11:06 AM
 
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Ah I see. As long as the seats are not expired and have never been in an accident and are approved for use in that country, they should be fine to use. (If you were bringing your own seats, the country approval would not apply).

You do need to make absolutely sure that the seats are not expired, recalled, or crashed though.

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#6 of 17 Old 09-13-2009, 11:32 AM
 
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Just to confirm USA carseats are not legal in the UK. The rules are quite different on what is allowed or not, but anything from Sweden or other areas of Europe is fine as it confirms to safety standard ECE R44.03 or R44.04

All children under 4ft6in must use a booster seat of some sort unless they are over 12 years old.
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#7 of 17 Old 09-13-2009, 11:39 AM
 
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Just to confirm USA carseats are not legal in the UK. The rules are quite different on what is allowed or not, but anything from Sweden or other areas of Europe is fine as it confirms to safety standard ECE R44.03 or R44.04

All children under 4ft6in must use a booster seat of some sort unless they are over 12 years old.
This is true only if you live there. All countries make exceptions for vacations. (Usually for a time period of under 3 months.)

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#8 of 17 Old 09-13-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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Just to confirm USA carseats are not legal in the UK. The rules are quite different on what is allowed or not, but anything from Sweden or other areas of Europe is fine as it confirms to safety standard ECE R44.03 or R44.04

All children under 4ft6in must use a booster seat of some sort unless they are over 12 years old.

While it would not be ok for a UK resident to use a US seat, it is perfectly legal for a visitor from the US to bring her own US approved seats with her for short-term use in another country.

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#9 of 17 Old 09-13-2009, 01:27 PM
 
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OK thanks for telling me that I didn't know.

Be aware though that UK cars don't have locking seatbelts so you would need a locking clip with a US carseat.
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#10 of 17 Old 09-13-2009, 02:27 PM
 
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While it would not be ok for a UK resident to use a US seat, it is perfectly legal for a visitor from the US to bring her own US approved seats with her for short-term use in another country.

Actually, this is not true and all visitors are expected to use seats that meet the european standard.

What the law says

The law says that all children up to 135cm tall (around 4'5"), or the age of 12, whichever comes first, in the front or rear seats in cars, vans and other goods vehicles must travel in the correct child restraint for their weight with very few exceptions.

Visitors to the UK from abroad must also use the correct child restraint for their children - there are no exceptions for them. Family and friends expecting visitors should make sure that their visitors understand the rules. They may need to help them make arrangements so that children use the correct child restraint at all times. Car rental companies can supply child restraints for their customers if booked in advance.

(http://www.dft.gov.uk/think/focusare...ren/childincar)

However, as long as you are using a car seat appropriately, it is unlikely that you will be stopped.

HTH,
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#11 of 17 Old 09-13-2009, 02:35 PM
 
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There are no rules about expiry dates on UK carseats (no stickers, not widely publicised, etc). Let's face it, a lot of Americans don't know about car seat expiry dates, either (I could insert a long anecdote about that).

You probably could get away with no seats at all, as long as nobody noticed (it happens a lot, sadly).

There is a specific provision in the law for one-off journeys; when you unexpectedly or only very occasionally give a lift to a child over a certain age (maybe 2 or 3); you don't need a seat then.

Anyway, NPL, your plans sound fine to me.

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#12 of 17 Old 09-13-2009, 08:11 PM
 
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Yep- American seats are not allowed to be used in british cars, period. I am an american living in England with the military and we have a long briefing about this!

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#13 of 17 Old 09-13-2009, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! Bringing our own isn't an option - the two in boosters my parents have boosters for, and the one who uses a 5-pt harness, it's a pain to reinstall and only just fits in our car with the boosters, and won't in my parents smaller cars. So, no point.
I saw the bit about occasional use, which would be fine if it were an emergency, but I still don't like doing that. If it isn't safe enough to do at home, it's not safe enough to plan to do on vacation, either.
Good to know about the expiration dates - I figured that the backless boosters they had were probably pretty old (hand-me-downs from older cousins) but did not see any expiration date sticker last time I was there. It's really only a riser, though - no harnesses, etc, so I'm not worried about structural deterioration.
I'm off to check Mothercare for ideas for the little one, though I should probably check first what they have that might do for my youngest!
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#14 of 17 Old 09-13-2009, 09:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Maedze View Post
While it would not be ok for a UK resident to use a US seat, it is perfectly legal for a visitor from the US to bring her own US approved seats with her for short-term use in another country.
Our cars are not like your cars so I don't know why you would think this. The EU safety standards are specifically for EU cars. This gives the idea that US standards are superior and therefore sufficient in the UK which kind of tramples on our own laws yk?

npl ~Halfords is another place to look for seats and they also offer a fitting service.

I hope you enjoy your holiday!
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#15 of 17 Old 09-13-2009, 11:47 PM
 
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Our cars are not like your cars so I don't know why you would think this. The EU safety standards are specifically for EU cars. This gives the idea that US standards are superior and therefore sufficient in the UK which kind of tramples on our own laws yk?

npl ~Halfords is another place to look for seats and they also offer a fitting service.

I hope you enjoy your holiday!
This has nothing to do with safety standards and everything to do with long accepted legal practice.

An American traveling abroad can use his or her seats in a vehicle presuming they are short term visitors to the area, not permanent residents. A semi-permanent or permanent resident, even one with American citizenship, could not bring American seats with him.

The same is true in reverse. If you chose to visit the US, you could bring your seats and use them here (and yes, American and UK seats are compatible with each other's vehicles. ). However, if you MOVED here, you would have to buy American seats.

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#16 of 17 Old 09-14-2009, 06:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Maedze View Post
This has nothing to do with safety standards and everything to do with long accepted legal practice.

An American traveling abroad can use his or her seats in a vehicle presuming they are short term visitors to the area, not permanent residents. A semi-permanent or permanent resident, even one with American citizenship, could not bring American seats with him.

The same is true in reverse. If you chose to visit the US, you could bring your seats and use them here (and yes, American and UK seats are compatible with each other's vehicles. ). However, if you MOVED here, you would have to buy American seats.
This is NOT correct. Car seat laws in Europe apply equally to everyone regardless if you're visiting for a day or residing in the country. Personally I think it should allow some flexibility for visitors who obviously have safety in mind when bringing seats.

But the current laws are ECE R44 for everyone, doesn't matter if you're a visitor. Exceptions could be for military personnel and staff with diplomatic status.

For those who don't know, US seats are NOT legal to use in Europe (see exceptions above). Also, the US standard (FVMSS) is NOT superior to the European ECE R44. The European standard ECE R44 is considered stricter than the US standard although both are very good. It's a long story and incredibly technical.....

Using a foreign seat in another country, against regulations, can IMO be a good idea if safety is greatly improved. Examples would be using a Swedish rear facing seat in US. This would add safety since rear facing limit is 55 bls and seat shells are high giving kids much longer rear facing time.

Using US seats in Europe would honestly work fine, although illegal, but it would not add any extra safety. US has no seats which are safer than European seats

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#17 of 17 Old 09-14-2009, 10:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by orangefoot View Post
Our cars are not like your cars so I don't know why you would think this. The EU safety standards are specifically for EU cars. This gives the idea that US standards are superior and therefore sufficient in the UK which kind of tramples on our own laws yk?

npl ~Halfords is another place to look for seats and they also offer a fitting service.

I hope you enjoy your holiday!
i wouldnt go near halfords.. or any other place that sells car seats without knowledge about car seat safety myself. halfords watned to sell my friend a high back booster for her 2 1/2 year old saying "they were confident enough she was big enough. at just 30 lbs! you can get swedish rf car seats from various places now (find out more here www.rearfacing.co.uk ) but your kids probably have outgrown it. there is another seat availabe, the britax elite for just under 90 £ which harnesses up to 55 lbs forward facing if you want to keep you lo harnessed longer. britax high back boosters are almost identical to american ones.
http://www.pramspushchairscarseats.c...facturers_id=4 thats the harnessed seat for 55 lbs. you can get a rearfacing version of that seat aswell but its twice as much
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