It's bang in the middle of holiday season - school's out and we're keeping the kids busy whizzing here, there and everywhere in our cars. But what happens when we are holidaying in a different country? We've been exploring this all too common dilemma to see what options of baby travel are available for parents travelling to different countries with their kids.
Though we're going to cover the basics, we would always advise you to do detailed research into your destination of choice before travelling.
‘Minefield' is one word that springs to mind when thinking of car seat laws in different countries. Some countries have different laws to what we are used to here in the UK, some countries don't have any rules at all and then there's the rules for flying too, phew! It's a lot to take on board.
There are several options available to parents including taking your own car seat, hiring seats from private hire companies or holiday companies, using inflatable or portable booster seats or using a travel system rather than a lightweight holiday stroller. Either way, if we are visiting a country and travelling by car, their laws will apply.
In 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 weighing less than 9kg. They must of course be in an appropriate rear facing baby seat, 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 15kg a booster type seat. This may sound a bit of a mouthful so you could check out this
advice from the AA.
In Germany, children under 12 and under 1.5m in height must use an appropriate child car seat, while in the front or rear of a car. Children may travel in the rear seats without restraints if all the others are in use and no restraint is available. Children must not sit in the front seat without the right child seat. A more detailed breakdown of the laws and requirements when it comes to car seats in Germany is available here
Spain is a super popular country for us holidaying Brits so it's worth noting that children aged 3 or under must use a suitable child seat, and children up to 12 must use one if it is available, if not they can use adult seats. For more information about driving in Spain, the AA puts it perfectly here
, so take a read as it may iron out any concerns you may have.
If you are travelling to Italy this summer then stringent laws
apply to children travelling by car. It is illegal for children under 3 to sit in the front or rear seats without the age appropriate car seat. If your child is between 4 and 12 they cannot be a passenger in a car unless they are using a suitable 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 by another passenger aged over 16. For full details click here
For the long haul holiday makers out there, American laws regarding car seat safety and travelling with children are just as detailed as UK laws. The car seat laws in America may change depending on which state you are driving through or visiting. As a general rule, the only American states that do not require toddler car or booster seats are Florida and South Dakota. But this handy state by state list of requirements
could come in handy to help you determine what seat you need to use for your child.
If we haven't mentioned the country you are lucky enough to be travelling to and you would like to know more, then check this information out. An alphabetical list of countries, it states their laws and regulations with regards to child car seats to make sure your little bundles stay safe whilst travelling by car abroad. The American system of measuring could confuse a few people with the measures being in lbs rather than kg. It might be worth taking a conversion chart with you or swatting up on your weight conversions before your travels.
Wherever your travels may take you, stay safe and send us some pictures of your little ones exploring the world in their car seats.