Compulsory child seats in germany

We explain to you what the child seat obligation in germany is all about and until when it applies.

  • What is the child seat obligation?
  • Until when do children need a child seat in the car??
  • Where can my child sit in the car?
  • Must the child seat face in the direction of travel??
  • What is the penalty for driving without a child seat??
  • Compulsory child seats for cab and bus?
  • Which regulations apply abroad?
  • Where is the safest place in the car?
  • Which child seat for which age?
  • What to look for when buying a child seat?

What is the child seat obligation?

The child seat obligation means that every child up to 12 years of age or up to a height of 150 cm may only travel in a child seat in the car. A child seat is a restraining device that protects the child particularly well, for example by means of a side impact protection or a catch body that absorbs the energy in the event of an accident and thus relieves the child’s spine in the best possible way.

Children in the back seat of a car

If your children are 12 years old or taller than 150 cm, they are allowed to ride in the taxi without a child seat. © gettyimages/imgorthand

Since 1993, the child seat obligation has been regulated by law in the road traffic regulations stvo § 21 (1a):

"children Up to the age of 12. age, the smaller than 150 cm may be carried in motor vehicles on seats for which safety belts are prescribed only if restraint devices for children are used which comply with the requirements of article 2(1)(c) of council directive 91/671/ec of 16. december 1991 on the compulsory use of seat belts and child restraint systems in motor vehicles (abl. L 373 of 31.12.1991, S. 26) last amended by article 1(2) of implementing directive 2014/37/eu of 27. February 2014 (abl. L 59 from 28.2.2014, S. 32) has been revised, meet the above requirements and are suitable for the child."

Until when do children need a child seat in the car?

  • is 12 years old or older or
  • Taller than 150cm is.

Example 1: your child is 152cm tall, but only 11 years old. nevertheless, your child is allowed to ride in the car without a child seat because it is taller than the prescribed 150 cm.

Example 2: your child is 12 years old but only 148 cm tall. Because your child has reached the minimum age of 12 years, he/she is allowed to ride in the car without a child seat.

You should know: if the belt still cuts into the neck of a 12-year-old child, you should continue to use a booster seat. Here’s how you can prevent injuries.

Where can my child sit in the car?

  • Your child is allowed to sit in the front of the car if he or she is seated in a child seat.
  • If your child is already 12 years old or taller than 150 cm, your child is allowed to sit in the front of the car even without a child seat.

Must the child seat point in the direction of travel?

As a general rule, install the seat as follows, as described in the instructions is. so called reboarder are for example always mounted backwards in the car. On the passenger seat reboarder may only be used if the airbag is not active.

What is the penalty for driving without a child seat??

  • A child not secured according to regulations, for example only with a belt (without a child seat).
    Fine: 30 euro; points: NONE
  • Multiple children not secured according to instructions.
    Fine: 35 euro; POINTS: no
  • One child not secured at all, neither by belt nor by child seat.
    fine: 60 euro; points: 1
  • Several children not secured at all.
    fine: 70 euros; points: 1
  • Baby in reboarder on passenger seat, airbag activated.
    Penalty: 25 euro; points: none

Does the child seat obligation apply to cab and bus?

  • Cab: cab driver must provide at least two child safety seats weighing nine kilograms or more. However, you will have to bring a baby seat yourself, because the cab driver cannot carry a child seat for every size. Otherwise, the usual rules for compulsory child safety seats in germany apply. If your child is taller than 150 cm or 12 years old, he or she can travel in a cab without a child seat.
  • Buses: since it is not possible to fix a child seat in most buses, the child seat obligation does not apply there. If seat belts are available, your child must use a seat belt. In the case of buses with standing room, child safety is ensured by the bus not being allowed to travel faster than 60 km/h outside built-up areas. School your child to hold on tight or, if he/she has a seat, to stay in it during the ride.

Which regulations apply abroad?

  • Belgium: height: 135cm; age: –
  • Denmark: height: 135cm; age: –
  • Germany: height: 150cm; age: 12 yrs
  • France: size: -; age: 10 years old
  • Greece: height: 150cm; age: 12 years
  • Italy: height: 150cm; age: 12 years old
  • Croatia: size: -; age: 12 years
  • Netherlands: height: 135cm; age: 18 years old
  • Austria: height: 150cm; age: 14 years old
  • Poland: height: 150cm; age: 12 yrs
  • Portugal: size: 150cm; age: 12 years
  • Switzerland: height: 150cm; age: 12 years
  • Spain: height: 135cm; age: –
  • Czech Republic: size: 150cm; age: –
  • Turkey: height: 150cm; age: –

In some countries such as sweden or spain, there is also a mandatory back seat. So your child is not allowed to sit in the front passenger seat in sweden if he is not yet old or big enough.

Where is the safest place in the car?

the safest places in the car are in the back. That’s why it’s best to fix the child seat there.

Car seat safety

Your child is safest in the middle of the car.

  • Middle rear seat (green): the middle backseat is the safest because it is the furthest away from a possible collision. However, please note whether it is at all possible to securely fasten the child seat in your car.
  • Right rear seat (yellow): The rear seat behind the passenger seat is also considered very safe. The probability of a car accident on the passenger’s side is lower than on the driver’s side and besides, in case of emergency, your child can get out directly on the sidewalk.
  • Left rear seat (orange): all rear seats are safer than front seats. Because the driver’s side is more often involved in accidents than the passenger’s side, it is better to place the child seat in the middle or on the right side.
  • Passenger seat (red): the safest place for your children is in the back seat. If a child has to sit in the front passenger seat because the back seat is occupied, make sure that the airbag is deactivated in reboarder child seats. also place the seat as far back as possible so that your child is furthest away from a possible impact.

Which child seat for which age?

There are several ways to find the right car seat for your child. However, age is not the deciding factor here: manufacturers used to classify their child seats in weight classes but since 2013, the classification according to size (i-size) usual.

Child in a child seat on the back seat

Your child is only really safe with the right child seat. © gettyimages/halfpoint

Weight classes

  • Group 0 – weight: up to 10 kg – age: up to 18 months
  • Group 0 plus – weight: up to 13 kg – age: up to 18 months
  • Group 1 – weight: 9 to 18 kg – age: 9 months to 4 years
  • Group 2 – weight: 15 to 25 kg – age: 4 to 12 years old
  • group 3 – weight: 22 to 36 kg – age: 4 to 12 years

Example: your child weighs 11 kg. You can still use a group 0 plus child seat, which is suitable for children weighing up to 13 kg. You can also use a group 1 car seat, which is designed for children from 9 to 18 kg.

classes according to body size (i-size)

  • Q0 – size: up to 60 cm
  • Q1 – size: 60 to 75 cm
  • Q1,5 – size: 75 to 87 cm
  • Q3 – size: 87 to 105 cm
  • Q6 – size: 105 to 125 cm
  • Q10 – size: up to 125 cm
  1. Side and frontal impact protection: to better protect the head and neck, R129 prescribes improved side and frontal impact protection.
  2. Rear-facing child seats up to 15 months: because the neck muscles of babies under 15 months of age are not yet properly developed, and in the event of an accident there are usually large forces acting on the neck, it is safer for children to be in a rear-facing seat. Because such a seat protects the child’s head in the event of a frontal impact.
  3. Isofix systems: R129 child seats all have an isofix. This is a simple restraint system that allows you to secure the child seat to the car without having to use the car seat belts. The system is compatible with all cars that have an isofix device and is easy to use.

The EU safety regulation has three phases in which the changes come into force: 2013, 2017 and 2019.

You should know: i-size comes into force in addition to the EU safety regulation R44. This means for you you can still use child seats that are R44 approved and you don’t have to buy a new child safety seat according to the EU safety regulation R129.

Child seat models for every age

Over time, your child will need several child seats. First a baby car seat, then a car seat for the toddler age and finally one for the rest of the time in kindergarten and school.

The safest way for babies to travel is in a baby car seat that fits in the car against the direction of travel. Since the EU safety regulation R129, it is even mandatory that child seats for babies up to 15 months of age are rear-facing.

Baby in a reboarder

Reboarder is mandatory for children up to 15 months according to R129. © gettyimages/halfpoint

After the infant carrier, the child seat follows at the toddler age. Models that can be adjusted to the size of your child are particularly practical. For example, you can remove the additional seat cushion as soon as your child is big enough, or adjust the headrest up or down.

In addition, child seats that grow with the child are often equipped with a safety impactor system that provides special protection for the child’s head and neck area because the safety impactor absorbs some of the energy of the impact in the event of an accident. The system works similar to an airbag.

Child in a child seat that grows with the child

A child seat that grows with the child is very practical. © gettyimages/yulkapopkova

booster seat without backrest

At some point, it usually becomes "uncool" to ride in a child seat. However, if your child is not yet old or big enough to be allowed to drive without a child seat, booster seats without backrests are an option. you should make sure that the system has a guide for the lap belt. This prevents the booster seat from sliding forward under the child.

The booster seat is less suitable for smaller children. Because a proper child seat also provides enough protection for the child’s upper body and head. A booster seat, on the other hand, cannot guarantee child safety in the car.

Children in booster seats in the car

booster seats should not be able to slide forward. © gettyimages/monkeybusinessimages

What to look for when buying?

When buying a child seat, child safety in the car is the top priority. We show you what you should pay attention to, so that your child is well secured.

ECE seal

Child seats with the ECE seal meet the current European safety standards. The seal is mandatory for all child seats sold in germany.

child seat& car

Not every car is the same and not all child seats are approved for every type of car. Many manufacturers therefore provide lists showing whether the child car seat is suitable for your car. Or you ask directly in the specialized trade.

Always check that your car seat belts are long enough for the child car seat you want to use. If your car also has an isofix device? Older car models in particular do not yet have isofixes. However, many isofix models can also be installed in the car without the device. It is best to go to a specialist retailer to learn how to fit the child seat correctly.

Correct size

The best thing to do is to take your child with you when you buy a child seat and get detailed advice from a specialist dealer. So you can test the seats directly and get an expert opinion which one fits the weight and size of your child. And you can see whether your child feels comfortable in the seat.

Child safety in the car

In germany, it has been compulsory since 1998 for children to be transported in a child seat in the car. only when the child is 12 years old or taller than 150 cm, it is allowed to drive without a child seat. To make sure your child is really safe, you should also choose the right size of child seat. Manufacturers are guided by the new "i-size" directive or the older categories according to weight classes. You can use both variants.

Because, according to a study, half of all child seats are not properly secured, you should not only make the right choice of child seat, but also make sure that you secure the child seat properly in your vehicle. This is the only way to ensure child safety in the car.

We wish you a safe journey! Your allianz direct

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Christina Cherry
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