Car seat legislation: everything that the law says on the subject

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In this article

  • What the Highway Code says;
  • The new homologation standards;
  • The risers;
  • The anti-abandonment devices;
  • How to carry a child safely: the do's and don'ts;
  • Raise your child in the car: what the law says


Seat compulsory up to a height of 150 cm for the child

The first reference legislation is Article 172 of the Highway Code, which provides for theobligation to use an approved child seat and suitable for weight for children up to 150 centimeters high.

Anyone who does not comply with the rules relating to the transport of children in the seat risks a fine ranging from 80 323 to EUR and the curtailment of 5 points from the driving license. In the event of a relapse, within two years, the license will be suspended for a period between 15 days and 2 months.

Read also: Family cars: the 2022 models

What child seats should be like: homologation standards

The homologation

Parents can choose child seats based on two European homologation regulations which, at the moment, coexist. This is the AN ECE R44 and the most recent UN ECE R129 (i-Size) and their subsequent revisions.

The main differences between the two standards are:

  • La classification by weight of the child in the case of the R44 e by height of the child in the case of the R129.
  • L'obligation to transport in the opposite direction of travel fixed to 9 kg for the R44 ea 15 months for the R129.
  • The evaluation also of theside impact in addition to the frontal one in the crash tests for the R129.

 Pietro Vergani of TÜV Del Paese, one of the largest certification bodies in the world, told Corriere Motori:

The tests required by the new regulation AN ECE R129 they are more stringent and guarantee more complete protection by ensuring better anchoring of the seat and greater protection in the event of an accident

Pay attention to the label

On the label of the seats you can check the homologation regulations of the product. Those with this wording are fine: UN ECE R44 and subsequent amendments (with the exception of those UN ECE R44 01 and UN ECE R44 02, which comply with older standards and are now outlawed) and AN ECE R129.

The risers

As regards the risers, also called boosters, from 2022 the manufacturing companies have to produce raises with backrest for children up to 125 cm in height, which will gradually replace those that do not have them and which in any case have remained on sale, while stocks last.

If you are thinking about a new purchase, the advice is to focus on products that comply with the latest standards (and therefore are equipped with a backrest). 

What child seats should be like: anti-abandonment devices

In 2022, the obligation, in force since 7 November 2022, was approved to install special alarm devices on child seats to prevent children under the age of four from abandoning the car. From 6 March 2022, those traveling without the anti-abandonment device for their child's car seat can be fined. The obligation has been in effect since 7 November 2022.

The requirements for anti-abandonment devices

They can be:

  1. originally integrated into the child restraint system (in this case they are directly part of the child seat);
  2. a basic equipment or a vehicle accessory, included in the vehicle type-approval file;
  3. independent of both the child restraint system and the vehicle.

They must also:

  • activate automatically every time the child is placed in the seat;
  • give a confirmation signal that activation has occurred;
  • have an alarm that includes visual and acoustic or visual and haptic signals (i.e. substantially vibrations or similar sensations, which can be felt to the touch) perceptible both inside and outside the vehicle;
  • comply with EU product safety standards and have the CE marking;
  • work thanks to an electronic system and sensors;
  • be compatible with the attachments of the belts and seat and with any other parts of the vehicle, without altering the homologation characteristics;
  • have a low battery signal, if battery powered;
  • automatically send messages or calls.

The bonus or refund for the purchase of the device

There was time until December 2022 to request the contribution of 30 euros for the purchase of an anti-abandonment device. All the info on the website of the Ministry of Transport.

The penalties provided for

Those who do not have the device will receive a fine from 83 to 333 euros (which are reduced to 58 and 100 euros if you pay within five days) with 5 points deduction from the driving license. If two offenses are committed in 2 years, the license will be suspended from 15 days to two months.

The guide for the conscious purchase of the car seat

From the features to pay attention to (for example the possibility of reclining the backrest) to the compatibility with the car on which the seat will be installed, from the safety classifications to the abbreviations to be checked on the label. Here is one guide for a correct choice: how to choose the car seat.

How to transport a child in a car

Obviously, the first thing to do is to place the child in an appropriate seat for his age and height. The ACI reminds you that if you are not well insured, even a crash at 15 km / h can be fatal for the little one. This caution must also be taken for very short transports: the ACI always remembers that 40% of fatal accidents occurs on routes of less than 3 km, especially in the city.

In which direction to place the seat? The art. 172 of the highway code, says that "children under 1,50 m in height must be secured to the seat with an approved type of child restraint system, adequate for their weight" and "they cannot be transported using a child seat rear-facing safety seat in a passenger seat protected by a front airbag, unless the airbag itself has been deactivated ".

Furthermore, children over the age of three can only occupy a front seat if their height exceeds 1,50 meters, while if they weigh less than 9 kilos they can travel in the front seat forward-facing only if the airbag has been deactivated. .

The impact force

In the event of an impact at 56 km / h, a child weighing 15 kg produces an impact force of 225 kg: it is impossible to hold it with your arms! With belts e seats si decreases of 90% il risk di severe injuries o deadly.

Things to avoid for safe transportation, according to the ACI

  • Holding the little one in your arms in the car

  • Using a child seat damaged in an accident

  • Feeding lollipops or food with the stick: in case of braking they could injure the little one

What needs to be done instead

  • Read the instructions issued by the vehicle manufacturer on the «safety systems»;
  • Read the instructions for using the seat;
  • Deactivate the airbag if you mount the child seat on the front seat;
  • Fasten the seat belts correctly;
  • Use the seat also for short distances.

Raise your child in the car: what the law says

The ECE regulation n. R44 allows the use of baby lift which have specific characteristics and which must be chosen based on the weight and height of the child. In particular, the following are authorized:

  • Group 2 car seat: baby lift for children from 15-25 kg in weight and with a height of less than 1.25 cm. It provides for the obligation of the seat belt.
  • Group 3 car seat: baby lift for children from 22- 36 kg in weight with a height of less than 1.25 cm. It provides for the obligation of the seat belt.

  • car seat
  • child safety
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