Rules all motorists MUST know when driving with children in the car – or risk getting a £500 fine

Sleepy children in the backseat of the car

With spring upon us and summer holidays right around the corner, families up and down the country will soon be packing up the car and heading out with the kids. Whether it’s a short drive to a nearby attraction, or a longer trip to one of Britain’s seaside towns, Parkland Motors are reminding motorists of the rules motorists must follow when carrying children as passengers in the car – or risk paying the price with a hefty fine.

Ashley Johnson, Sales Manager at Parkland Motors, said “Children are much more vulnerable than adults in the event of an accident, so safety should be a number one priority.

“For anyone who has travel plans coming up where children are coming along for the ride, here are a few rules you need to know before you set off for spring and summer fun.”

Car seats are a legal requirement for children up to a certain age

It is a legal requirement for children to use a car seat in the UK, since the rule was introduced in 2006. The law states that children must use a child car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first. The car seat required depends on the child’s weight and height and there are different seats available for different age ranges and sizes.

According to data, child car seats reduce the risk of injury by 70% for infants and 50% for children aged 1 to 4 years old.

It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that children under the age of 14 are using the correct child car seat or seatbelt. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in a fine of up to £500. Parents and guardians need to make sure the child’s car seat is appropriate for their child’s age and size and fits correctly in the car.

Drivers are responsible for under 14’s wearing seatbelts

Adults are responsible for ensuring that children under the age of 14 wear seatbelts or appropriate child restraints when traveling in a car. The law requires that children under 3 years old must use an appropriate child restraint, and children between the ages of 3 and 12 or under 135cm in height must use a child restraint or booster seat.

It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that all passengers under the age of 14 are wearing a seatbelt or are properly secured in an appropriate child restraint. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in a fine and penalty points on the driver’s license.

Rear facing car seats must not be used with an active front seat airbag

Airbags are designed to deploy rapidly in the event of a crash to protect adult occupants from serious injury. However, if a rear-facing car seat is placed in front of an active airbag, the force of the airbag deployment can cause the car seat to move violently towards the back seat, potentially injuring the child in the car seat.

For this reason, it’s important to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing and using car seats, and to never place a rear-facing car seat in front of an active front seat airbag. Many newer cars are equipped with sensors that automatically turn off the front seat airbag when a rear-facing car seat is detected, but it’s important to check your vehicle’s manual to be sure.

Can you leave a child alone in a car?

In the UK, the law does not specify a minimum age at which a child can be left alone in a car. However, it is an offense to leave a child alone if it places them at risk. Therefore, parents and carers need to use their judgment to determine whether it is safe to leave a child alone in a car.

The NSPCC recommends that children under the age of 12 should not be left alone in a car and babies, toddlers, and young children should never be left alone, even for a short period of time. This is because young children can quickly become dehydrated or suffer from heatstroke, and they are also more vulnerable to abduction.

If a child is left alone in a car and it places them at risk, the person responsible could be charged with neglect or endangerment. In more serious cases, this could result in a custodial sentence.

In summary, while there is no specific law in the UK that prohibits leaving a child alone in a car, parents and carers should use their judgment to ensure that the child is not placed at risk. It is generally recommended that children under 12 years old should not be left alone in a car.

1 thought on “Rules all motorists MUST know when driving with children in the car – or risk getting a £500 fine”

  1. This is a timely reminder that children under 12 should not be left alone in a car and i completely agree with that.

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