© AVSA 2011-2023 Version 19.1.07 20/01/2023

Changes of children seating in cars

Children not allowed in front seat

of cars from October 1 2015

CHILDREN are required by law to travel in the back seats of cars from this Thursday, October 1 2015, according to a new traffic regulation. Youngsters of 4'6” (1.36m) or less in height must not travel in the front seat, and should be in booster seats or similar suitable for their age, height and weight. Three exceptions apply – where the vehicle does not have back seats; where all back seats are occupied by children of identical characteristics, and where child restraint or seating systems cannot physically be installed because they would not fit. As well as being part of a European Union directive on passenger safety, the new regulation responds to scientific research carried out in Spain showing that children's safety is severely compromised by travelling in the front of a car. Child restraint or booster seat systems reduce crash deaths by 75%, and cut the risk of serious injuries by 90%. Spain's traffic department even recommends using booster seats and remaining in the back of the car until the child is at least 4'11” (1.5m) in height, even though many adults are no taller than this. The General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) strongly recommends not carrying children on laps, nor using the same seatbelt to protect a child and an adult at once, making sure baby and toddler seats are properly fitted and that the child's head does not go over the top of the back of the seat. Where a child has to travel in the front as a result of one of the three legal exceptions cited, restraint seats should always be facing the rear of the car if the airbag has been deactivated.