Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Car Seat Laws

This is the most read post on my blog. While I do my best to keep it updated, laws do change. So, the information below is only meant as a guide, it is up to you to confirm the car seat laws of the places you are visiting.

All the places below are places I have travelled with my children. If you are interested in the car seat laws of a particular destination, please let me know and I'll do my best to find out!

NORTH AMERICA

Bermuda
Cars
Tourists cannot rent cars on this beautiful island, so bringing a car seat or renting a car seat for a rental car is not an issue. They are required for private vehicles.

Taxis

Public vehicles, such as taxis and buses, are exempt from the car seat law.
Source: Phone conversation with the Bermuda Department of Tourism "General Information about Bermuda" 24-hr contact line (March 16, 2011)

Canada
Alberta
Cars
It is the driver’s legal responsibility to ensure that each passenger under the age of 16 years is properly secured in the vehicle. Drivers are subject to a fine for each child not properly secured. 

A child under six years whose weight does not exceed 18 kg (40 lb.) must be properly secured in a child safety seat. Child safety seats used in Canada must have a label on them stating that the seat meets Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213.  

There is currently no law in Alberta that requires a booster seat once children weigh over 18 kg (40 lbs). However, the Government of Alberta recommends that once a child graduates from a child safety seat that the child be in a booster seat until they turn nine or reach a weight of 37 kilograms (80 lbs.).
Source: Traffic Safety in Alberta (http://www.saferoads.com/vehicles/childseats.html)

Taxis
As provided for in Section 84(2) of the Vehicle Equipment Regulation (VER), taxis are exempt from the requirement of providing child safety seats. HOWEVER, there are reports of many taxi companies in Alberta who have adopted a policy of requiring parents to have car seats for their children (for example, read this article about Edmonton Taxi: "Car seat kerfuffle").
Source: Government of Alberta - Vehicle Equipment Regulation (http://www.qp.alberta.ca/574.cfm?page=2009_122.cfm&leg_type=Regs&isbncln=9780779743193&display=html)

British Columbia
Cars
All drivers must ensure all children are secured in an age-and weight-appropriate child car seat until their 9th birthday unless they have reached the height of 145 cm (4’9”) tall.  At 145 cm or taller, children can wear a seat belt like and adult. Age and weight appropriate car seats are as follows:

Source: BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation (http://www.tsfbcaa.com/11.asp)


Taxis
Drivers and operators are exempt from hild Seating and Restraint regulations under Section 36.09(b) of the MVAR.
Source: The Vancouver Police Department (http://vancouver.ca/police/organization/operations/traffic/traffic-services/taxi-team.htm)

Ontario (updated November 2015)
Cars
By law, drivers are responsible for ensuring passengers under 16 years of age are secured properly. It is mandatory for anyone transporting children to make sure they are properly secured in a child car seat, booster seat or seatbelt.  A child must be in a car seat appropriate for the weight and age until they are 8 years old AND weighs between 18 - 36 kg (40 - 80 lbs) AND is less than 145 cm (4 feet 9 inches). After this, children must be secured with a seatbelt like an adult. Age and weight appropriate car seats are as follows:


Source: Ontario Ministry of Transportation: Chose the Right Child Car Seat

Taxis
The driver of a taxicab is exempt from the car seat law while transporting a passenger for hire.
Source: Ontario Ministry of Transportation (http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/faq/safety.shtml)


Quebec
Cars
It is the law that children whose sitting (note sitting, not standing) height is less than 63 cm must be in a safety seat designed for their weight. Age and weight appropriate car seats are as follows:


Source: Societe de l'assurance automobile du Quebec (http://www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/accident_prevention/childseats/law.php)

Taxi
In a taxi, if a child car seat is unavailable, a child must be restrained using a seat belt, except where the child is too small to maintain an upright position
Source: Societe de l'assurance automobile du Quebec (http://www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/accident_prevention/childseats/law.php)

United States

Florida
Cars
Drivers are responsible for buckling up children. Children 3 and younger must be secured in a federally approved child-restraint seat. Children 4 through 5 must be secured by either a federally approved child restraint seat or safety belt. All passengers under 18 must wear a seat belt. It is against the law to operate a vehicle if all the passengers do not meet these standards.
Source: Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (http://www.dmvflorida.org/seat-belt-laws.shtm)

Taxis

The above law also applies to taxis.

New York
Cars
New York State law requires all children under the age of 8 to ride in a car seat.  Safety seats and child restraint systems must be certified according to Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standard 213.

Source: New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/dmvfaqs.htm)

Taxi
Drivers of yellow medallion taxicabs and for-hire vehicles and their passengers, are exempt from laws regarding car seats and seatbelts.
Source: New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/passenger/faq_pass.shtm)


CARIBBEAN

Turks and Caicos
Cars seats are not mandatory but are recommended
Source: Email from Rosemarie Wilson, Turks & Caicos Tourist Board - Canada Office (date: March 10, 2011)


EUROPE
France
In France, car seats are compulsory until the age of 10 or your child is tall enough to use a seat belt (between 1.35 m - 1.50 m). The car seat must be in compliance with European standards (look for a circle with the letter E in the middle). 

Children under 10 must sit in the backseat in their appropriate car seat.

United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, children must use car seats until they are 12 years old or 135 cm tall, whichever comes first. Only EU-approved car seats can be used (they will have a label showing a capital E in a circle).

The United Kingdom makes a distinction between height-based and weight-based car seats. For height-based car seats, your child must be rear facing until he/she is 15 months old. Your child can be forward facing when he/she is over 15 months.

For weight-based car seats, your child must be rear-facing until they are over 9 kg. After that the seat your child uses depends on their weight:
  • 0kg - 13kg: rear facing baby carrier or rear facing baby seat using a harness
  • 9kg - 18kg: rear or forward facing baby seat using a harness or safety shield
  • 15 kg - 19kg: forward facing child seat (high backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seatbelt.

The United Kingdom also sets out situations when a child can travel without a car seat, such as in taxis, coaches or when there are unexpected journeys. You can review these rules by visiting "When a child can travel without a car seat" from the United Kingdom's government website.


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