Child seat compulsory: by when do children have to sit in the child seat?

Special regulations apply to the transport of children in the car. Children up to the age of 12 are only allowed to travel in the car in a child seat or on a booster seat. A special regulation applies to transport in the front passenger seat. In the event of a violation of the StVO regulations, not only do you face high fines, you neglect the safety of your children.

Child seat compulsory in the car according to § 21 StVO

When can children drive in a car without a child seat? Many parents or other people who want to transport children in the car ask themselves this question.

Paragraph 21 of the Road Traffic Regulations contains the regulations on passenger transport, including the regulations on Child safety seat regulations. In summary, it means that children up to the age of 12, who are smaller than 150 cm, may only be taken in the car on suitable restraint systems. These regulations apply to all motor vehicles with seat belts.

The regulation does not apply to passenger transport in taxis and buses.

Children from 3 years may also be strapped to the back seat without a child seat if, for reasons of space, no further child seat can be attached. This exception does not apply if children drive their car regularly.

What are suitable child seats?

So-called child restraint systems have to follow § 21 StVO meet the requirements set out in Article 1 (2) of Implementing Directive 2014/37 / EU of 27 February 2014 (OJ L 59, 28.2.2014, p. 32).

That means in plain text that the child seats after UN / ECE regulation 44 or 129 must be approved. Here the child restraint systems are classified according to the child’s weight or the child’s size and maximum weight.

The approved child seats have one Identification with test number as well as information on the vehicle and child-related suitability as well as information on the manufacturer.

Child restraint systems by weight group (UN / ECE Regulation 44)

Child restraint systems by height (UNECE regulation 129)

NOTE: There are universal approved child seats that fit every car seat. Then there are semi-universal systems that may not be used on all vehicle seats and there are approved child seats for special vehicle models. Such child restraint systems are with a Vehicle Type List delivered to check the usability.

Secure babies backwards

Babies up to the age of 15 months must be secured in a backward or sideways restraint system (baby seat). Because the neck muscles in toddlers are weak, the head and neck are particularly protected.

Fines for improperly secured children in the car

at Child seat violation is threatened with a fine from 30 euro. If several children are not properly secured in the car, the fine increases to 35 euros.

For example, if you are the parent or legal guardian who is responsible for child safety in the car, you will be fined 60 euros for a violation and will receive a point in Flensburg. This increases with several unsecured children Fine on 70 euros.

If the child seat / baby seat is used in reverse and the airbag is not switched off, there is a penalty of 25 euros.

What does the ADAC recommend??

Children up to about 1.5 years are most safely accommodated in the baby seat. The bowl should only be changed when the child’s head is no longer fully in the bowl.

Children up to 4 years and a body weight between 9 and 18 kg. or a height of up to 105 cm should be in Class I child seats according to UN ECE Reg. 44. Alternatively, a Child seat according to UN ECE 129 for a body size up to 105 cm (Q3) can be used.

The seats are available with either a harness or a safety system. The advantage of harness belts is the better sleeping position and that children do not sweat as much. The advantage of a trap system, for example with a table in front of the child’s belly, is that there is less stress in a head-on collision.

Make sure that the harness is close to the child’s body.

For children from 4 to 7 years should Child seats with weight class II (15 to 25 kg) or for 105 to 125 cm tall (Q6) can be used. Child seats with back and sleep supports are ideal.

For children from 7 to 12 years are Child seats with weight class III (22 to 36 kg body weight) or seats for Height 125 cm to 150 cm (Q10) suitable.

Child seats for children from 4 to 12 years are almost always with the the vehicle’s normal 3-point seat belt. It is important to ensure that the shoulder belt runs centrally over the child’s shoulder and that it cannot fall out of the belt. This presupposes that the child has a correspondingly broad shoulder.

It is also important that the lap belt is guided through the belt hooks on the child seat. Otherwise, it can cut into the child’s abdomen in the event of an accident.

There are child seats that are approved for several weight classes or body sizes. On the one hand, this means that the seat can be used longer. On the other hand, it is not optimally adapted to the proportions of the child. It is important that the child cannot slide back and forth and that the seat belt is snug. It should also offer a good resting position because small children still sleep a lot.

Booster seat or child seat?

A simple booster seat can also be used for children weighing 15 kg (3 to 4 years). However, for the safety of the child is a correct child seat recommended. First, the child can slip out of the belt when the seat is raised, and second, it is not protected in the event of a side crash.

If a simple booster seat is used, then only one with side guide horns for the lap belt. Only then can the booster seat not slide under the child and the belt cannot cut into the belly area.

It applies to all booster seats that they meet the UN ECE 44 standard. However, the ADAC and the Stiftung Warentest strongly advise against the use of simple booster seats for child transport because of the security risks mentioned. Especially at high speeds on the highway booster seats a significant security risk.

When are children allowed in the front passenger seat??

The question of when children are allowed to sit in the front of the car often arises in connection with the transport of children.

Children from the age of 12 are generally allowed to sit in the front of the car. The child seat control is not applicable here and you can ride normally like an adult.

Child seats or baby car seats can be attached to the front of the front passenger seat or to the rear of the rear seat. It is important when using the child seat / baby seat that is facing backwards that the Passenger airbag deactivated is. If the airbag is active and deploys in the event of a crash, serious or fatal injuries could result.

Even if there are no further child seat regulations for the passenger seat, recommends the ADAC for safety reasons Child seats generally only in the back to use in the car.

Child seat requirement abroad

Child seat regulations also apply abroad. In Austria Children up to 150 cm tall must also be transported in an appropriate seat. In Spain Children from 135 cm are allowed to ride in the car like an adult. In France however, children from the age of 10 are exempt from the child seat requirement.


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Christina Cherry
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