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Car Seats For Children - The Law In Spain

- Updated: 22/03/2014
Car Seats For Children  -  The Law In Spain

Much has already been written about the importance of fitting the correct car safety seat for babies and children. This guide will assume that nobody needs to be convinced of that fact, but will instead look at the regulations and the law here in Spain concerning What type of car seat should be fitted for babies and children of what age group.

It is the legal responsibility of the driver of the vehicle to ensure that all of his passengers are wearing the appropriate safety device.

Firstly, as in most other countries in the EU, the term ‘children’ is taken to mean those under 12 years of age, and those who may be older who are less than 135cms tall.

There are basically 4 different styles of safety device used in motor vehicles :

1.) Forward facing car seats

2.) Rear facing car seats

3.) Booster seats

4.) Seat belts

Age : up to 18 months / Approx weight : up to 13 kg

Fitted facing away from the direction of travel for maximum support and safety in the event of an accident, and secured by straps over each shoulder, leg and fastening between the legs. Often classified by the manufacturers as “Group 0” or “Group 0+”

A baby seat should never be fitted on a front passenger seat when the car has an airbag activated.

Age : 18 months to 4 years / Approx weight : between 9 – 18 kg

Similar fixing to the above seat, but forward facing. Classified by the manufacturers as “Group 1”. Should only be fitted in the rear seats that are directly behind one of the front seats - IE Not in the middle.

Age : 3 to 12 Years / Approx weight : between 15 – 36 Kg

When the child has outgrown a Group 0 or Group 1 seat, but is still too small to safely use the fitted seatbelt then a Group 2 seat, Which is essentially a seat that lies on top of the fitted car seat with a supportive base, back and head and utilises the cars standard seatbelt through a position locator, could be the answer. For slightly larger children, a Group 3 seat is a booster cushion that elevates the height of the child to enable them to safely use the standard seatbelt.

Age : Over 12 years / Over 135 cms tall

The child should only ever use the car’s fitted seatbelt when it can pass over the shoulder joint and not touch the neck. If not they should remain with the Group 3 Booster cushion. No child under the age of 12 should be permitted to sit in the front passenger seat.

The only exceptions to these regulations are when a child is travelling a short journey in a taxi and in an urban area.

What are the legal penalties ?

As the driver of a vehicle, you are legally responsible to ensure that any child passenger is using the appropriate safety device for their size and/or age. Any driver who is found to be in breach of these requirements could face a significant fine and a deduction of 3 points.

Furthermore, failure to wear a seat belt or failure to ensure that a child passenger uses an appropriate child restraint or wears a seat belt according to the legal requirements described above, could invalidate any claims against your motor insurance cover.

Lastly, you may also be liable for civil proceedings for damages, if you failed to safely carry someone else's child in your vehicle.

The DGT have recently proposed changes to their General Traffic Regulations, which may allow children to travel in public taxi cabs without the need for use of a car seat. Further details Here...

Must Read :

* 20 New Spanish Road Traffic Regulations Scheduled For Approval June 2014

Comment on this Article

Josie : The Changes mentioned in the above link have now takn effect, and as such Child / Baby seats must be used by children for all Taxi journies - However t is the PARENTS and not the Taxi driver who are legally required to ensure compliance with this. In other words, unless you are able to arrange a Taxi with suitable child seat, you would be best advised to take one with you. Many airlines permit you to take EITHER a pram OR child seat FOC with the infant.
Tumbit - Admin - Fri 17th Jul 2015
I'm going to Spain in October and taking my baby she will be 5months old. Do I need to take her car seat for the taxi ride to our hotel?
Josie - Thu 16th Jul 2015
I am travelling to Spain this winter in our motorhome, I have a 3 year old and a 10 month old at this time. Our rear seat belted seats are a long way (in terms of calming/entertaining small children) from the front seats and therefore it would be easier and possibly safer to travel as a family to put our 3 year old in the front passenger seat (in her car seat) and for me to sit in the rear with the infant. Would this be a legal way to travel?
Amy Hiron - Wed 20th May 2015

Jennifer : This is currently a grey area. Up until last week (when a new law was approved in Congress) Small Children could travel for short distances in Taxis without using Child seats. The new law states that not only must they now use the appropriate child seat, but that this is the legal responsibility of the parents.

This poses 3 questions for you : 1) Can or will the Shuttle provide Child Seats, 2) Is the Shuttle / Taxi legally registered (as if not they will not be fully insured anyway), 3) When will the new law actually come into effect... they have not actually said as yet !

Tumbit - Admin - Thu 14th May 2015
We are going on holiday soon with our 4 & 7 year olds. We will be using a shuttle service to and from the resort and maybe a random taxi ride. Do we need to bring our children's booster seats with us?
Jennifer - Thu 14th May 2015
Thanks Admin.
Kelly - Thu 5th Feb 2015
Kelly : Legally, no. It sounds like your child is tall enough and heavy enough not to require any booster, and for the seatbelt to pass over their shoulder at the required height, but still NOT able to ride legally in the front seat.
Tumbit - Admin - Thu 5th Feb 2015
Can my son who is under 12 years of age but over 1.4m sit in the front seat of the car without a child seat?
Kelly - Thu 5th Feb 2015
Jason : Spanish Law states that children under 12 or shorter than 1.4M can sit in the front seat of a 2-seater car if wearing the appropriate child seat.
Tumbit - Admin - Mon 23rd Sep 2013
Does anyone know what the law is regarding children in cars with only 2 seats. I have a old 2 seater (no airbag) and young children.
Jason - Mon 23rd Sep 2013
You can buy an Isofixing Car seat and base unit from Smart, which (with a small re-programming tweak), will switch off the passenger side Airbag when the Iso-clips are engaged. Although this is legal, it would be very unusual to see put into practice and you would be well advised to be prepared in the event of being stopped by the Guardia.
Tumbit - Admin - Mon 25th Mar 2013
I have a 2 seater smart car can I have a child seat in the passenger front seat if I have the airbag disabled
Mark Brown - Mon 25th Mar 2013
I wasnt thinking of the insurance aspect , more the lives of the children in the cars
Muriel - Thu 2th Aug 2012
Spot on Andy ! ... and of course the Police are too busy dealing with far more important road saftey issues, such as checking that all male drivers are wearing their shirts, and that 50cc mopeds are not overloaded by more than 3 Passengers, a dog and a 50kg sack of almonds.... why should they bother about trivial issues such as the safety of children ?
Tumbit - Admin - Wed 1st Aug 2012
That may be so, Muriel, but if there were an accident I would expect the insurance company to be guided by the law, and so not cover any claim.
Andyibm - Wed 1st Aug 2012
At least 90% of the children I have seen in cars here is Calasparra NEVER wear a seat belt, they even sit on the lap of the driver. Young babies are on their mothers laps in the front seat, mother not wearing a seat belt... I have never seen the police do anything about it.
Muriel - Wed 1st Aug 2012
Thanks Tumbit - I needed to confirm whether our 16kg 2-and-a-half-yr-old boy car use a similar booster to his older sister. It's legal in the UK, but according to what you've got here, it's not allowed in Spain. Useful advice (and backed up by another site I found too).
Andyibm - Wed 21st Mar 2012
Thank you. I will wait to change mine and let my friend know. Thank you!!
Victoria - Sun 16th Oct 2011
Victoria : No, the Directive 2003/20/EC of the European Parliament states that this is not permitted.
Tumbit - Admin - Sun 16th Oct 2011
My son is 8 months old and around 8.5 kilos. My friends daughter is of the same age and weight. She has just put her in a forward facing car seat. Is that illegal? I'd like to make 100% sure before I do the same!!
Victoria - Sun 16th Oct 2011