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European Baby / Child Seat Law & Regulations

Traveling With Your Children & Car in Europe - The Law

Germany: Children under 12 and under 1.5m in height must use an appropriate child restraint, e.g. a child seat or booster seat while in the front or rear of a car. Do not use rearward facing seats in front seats equipped with air-bags. Children may travel in the rear seats without restraints if all the others are in use & no restraint is available. Children must not sit in the front seat without the right child seat. For other German travel recommendations click here.

France: Children under 10 years of age are not allowed to travel in the front seat of a car unless they are a baby, that is 9 months old or under and weigh less than 9kg, but they must be in an appropriate baby seat (rear facing) unless there is an airbag fitted, when they are not allowed on the front seat at all. In the rear seats all children under 10 must be in the right restraint, if their weight is between 9 and 15kg a child seat and over 15 kg's a booster type seat. For full details about car driving in France, click here.

Spain: Children aged 3 or under must use a suitable Child Seat, and children up to 12 must use one. If not they can use adult seats. For more information about driving in Spain, click here.

Italy: It is illegal for Children under 3 to sit in the front or rear seats without the proper child seat. Kids between 4 and 12 cannot be a passenger unless they are using a suitable safety restraint seat or an adaptor for a seat belt. If no seat is available for children aged between 4 and 12 they can use the adult seat belts in the rear if accompanied, in the rear, by another passenger aged over 16. For full details click here.

As you can see, different European Countries have quite different laws. If you are taking your own car obviously you will be taking your child-seat with you, but bear in mind the above if you are hiring or borrowing a car. Details for Child Car Seat Regulations from other European Countries can be found on the excellent AA site, here.

Comments / Questions:

Although originally from the UK, we are now French residents and have a French registered van with 3 front seats only.
Would it be legal to travel with our 3 year old in an appropriate car seat using a 3 point belt.
Our French neighbour says absolutely not, but judging by some answers on here...i'm not so sure.

I don't think they're allowed in the front seats until they're 10.

I recently hired a car in France.  Upon arrival the car seat for my 2 year old I have booked was not available.  The car hire company wanted me to take my daughter in the car (without a seat) and purchase one from a shop and claim a refund.  I have since been told this is company policy.
Is it possible they can expect customers to do this bearing in mind the car seat laws in France? Claire.

I'd complain to their Head Office, I'm sure that this can't be policy, if it is, talk to the AA / French Embassy.

Spanish regulation is wrong. Kids till 12 must use child seats, not only if it's available. Carlotta.

Thanks. Changed!

What are the child safety seat regulations for taxis/minicabs in France? I need to take a taxi with my baby, from Calvi airport into the town (approx 20 min journey). Thanks. Emma.

Thats a tricky one and I can't find anything on the web about babys traveling in taxis.

If you contact the French Embassy they should be able to give you the details (phone numbers near the bottom of the page).

we are hoping to travel to France in August in our motorhome, the rear is fitted only with lap belts ..so in England our 4 year old  has the appropriate car seatfor her age and weight fitted in the front of the motorhome next to driver it has no air bag..

Are we able to do the same thing in France as there is no suitable seat belts in the rear? Amanda.

Check out this link and this one.

I am travelling from UK / Belgium to Italy and will be driving in Italy. I have 7, 5 and 2 year old children. What are the minimum child seats requiremets that I need to take with me. Varinder.

Check out this useful link.

What are the child safety seat requirements for large vans and tour buses (such as large groups of 30 people would use to tour)?

Check out this link

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