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Child Car Safety: Part 2 

In the last issue we covered the carrying of babies and young children up to four years old and now we continue with this important subject.

Group 1 (from 9 to 18 kilos) from 1 year of age until 4

The child is strapped into the restraint system via a 5-point harness, and then the restraint system is connected to the car, this allows the restraint system to be secured in either a forward or rear facing position. It’s very important that the seat is adjusted as the child grows, always avoiding gaps in the harness and in the installation of the restraint system via the seat belt. This group of restraint system can also be purchased with an ISOFIX connection. In this group, it is recommended to fit the restraint system in a rear facing position and the restraint system must be fitted before the child is seated. It’s recommended to teach the child as soon as possible to keep their arms in the restraint system when possible to reduce the risk of injury.

Group 2 (from 15 to 25 kilos) from 3 years of age until 6

This type of seat is a booster seat with a back support which allows the cars 3-point seat belt system to be used but raising the child to the correct height.

Group 3 (from 22 to 36 kilos)

This type of seat is similar to the last group, in so much as it is a booster without the back support which again raises the child to the height of the normal 3-point seat belt. It is obligatory to use the booster seats until the child reaches a height of 135 cm but recommended to continue using them until the child reaches 150 cm.

In both groups 2 and 3 the vertical strap of the seat belt must pass over the child’s collarbone without touching the shoulder and the horizontal strap must be as low as possible around the hip and muscle area never around the stomach.

In Spain, the law regarding child safety forms part of the Reglamento General de Circulación which was last modified on the 01st of October 2015, this in turn also adapts to the European Directive 2014/37/UE and 91/671/CEE.

The main points of the law state that the driver and the occupants are obligated to use a seat belt, and that said seat belts must be homologated. Cars where seat belts aren’t fitted are exempt from the usage however children cannot be transported in them.

When talking about child safety, children under 135 cm have to use child restraint systems and be seated in the rear seats, this used to have an age restriction of 12 years of age, however with the modification of the law the age restriction was removed. There are however some exceptions and they are when :

The car doesn’t have rear seats

These seats are occupied by other children

The restraint systems can’t be fitted to the rear seats because the car is too small.

In these three cases the minor can be seated in the front seat, but always in a homologated restraint system that is adapted to their height and weight. If the child is seated in a rear facing seat, then the passenger’s airbag must be disconnected. If the child is travelling in a forward-facing seat, then there is no need to disconnect the airbag.

Ruling on child restraint systems in special vehicles

In vehicles with more than 9 seats the driver, guide or the person in charge of the group must inform the passengers of the obligation to travel with their seat belt correctly fastened or a with the use of a homologated restraint system. This is carried out by either audio-visual means, written signs or picture-grams, situated in a visible area for every seat.

In taxis, a minor whose height doesn’t reach 135 cm is able to travel in the rear seats without a suitable restraint system but only within CITY limits. Out of the city, the responsible person would be the mother, father or guardian; so always ask for a taxi that can supply a restraint system or have one available.