Carrying children safely by car The way to get home

Carrying children safely by car The way to get home
Carrying children safely
by car
The way to get home safely
from 1 March 2006:
are you less than 135 cm (approx. 4' 5") tall?
an appropriate child restraint is
compulsory!
www.kinderzitjes.nl
Why these new rules?
Cars are safer than ever, fitted as they are with crumple zones, safety cages and
airbags to protect the occupants. Although seat belts are undoubtedly a vital chain in the
link, they are specifically designed for adults. They are less effective for children and
wholly unsuitable for babies and toddlers. The European Union has therefore agreed to
tighten the rules governing the transport of children in cars. These rules are designed
with one goal in mind: to offer children the best possible protection. As of 1 March 2006,
children under 135 cm in height must be carried in an appropriate child restraint. A seat
belt is mandatory for adults and children over 135 cm in height, but they are also allowed
to use a booster seat. A number of exceptions have been incorporated to make the rules
practically administrable. For example, child restraints are not compulsory in buses and
taxis. This brochure contains all the latest information on the new rules and exceptions,
the types of child restraints available, and purchase and user tips.
The Law:
The following will apply from 1 March 2006:
Children* under 135 cm (approx. 4' 5") in height:
Approved child restraint
compulsory
Children* over 135 cm (approx. 4' 5") in height
and adults:
Seatbelt and if required an
approved child restraint (booster
seat) can be used
*The term "child" denotes any person under the age of 18
The child restraint must comply with UN-ECE Regulation 44/03 or 44/04. This is
specified on the inspection label or sticker (see image). To ensure safe operation, the
child restraint must be fitted correctly to the vehicle. Consult the manual and the user
tips at the back of this brochure.
Please note: a child restraint is compulsory for children under the age of 3, unless they
are carried by taxi or bus. The below exceptions do not apply to children under the age
of 3, with the exception of taxis or buses.
Special cases and exceptions
More passengers than seatbelts (temporary exception)
If there are not enough seat belts in the car for all the passengers, then children over
135 cm (approx. 4' 5") in height and adults may legally travel in the rear of the vehicle
without wearing a seat belt, provided the available seatbelts are used by the other
passengers. This exception shall remain in force until 1 May 2008. From 1 May 2008, all
cars must be fitted with appropriate seatbelts, and no passenger may be carried without
appropriate seatbelts.
Lack of space
If two child restraints are already fitted in the back of a car, lack of space often prevents
the fitting of a third child restraint. In that case, children over the age of 3 must use an
adult seat belt in the rear of the vehicle.
No rear seatbelts
Children under the age of 3 must not be seated in the rear of the car if no rear seatbelts
are fitted, as the child restraint is secured to the seatbelts. In that case, children over the
age of 3 and adults may travel unrestricted in the rear seats of the vehicle.
No front or rear seatbelts
If your car is not equipped with front seatbelts, it is illegal to carry any child under 3
years of age. Children aged 3 years and over and under 135 cm in height must not
travel in the front seats of the vehicle if no seatbelts are fitted in the vehicle.
Carrying ‘other people’s children’
Parents and foster parents are required to fit a child restraint for their own child(ren). It
may occasionally be necessary to transport other children, for example to an away
match of the youth football team. A child restraint may not be available for all children.
For occasional journeys over short distances (excluding holidays), an adult seat belt in
the rear of the vehicle may be used by children (but not your own children) aged 3 and
over. If you are making these trips on a regular basis, it is recommended to fit extra child
restraints for added safety and security.
Taxis and buses / coaches
The fitting of child restraints is not compulsory for buses and on the rear seat of taxis.
Children over the age of 3 and adults must use seatbelts, if available, and children under
the age of 3 may travel unrestricted. If at all possible, do not hold a child on your lap as
this presents particular risks in a frontal collision.
Other news
Airbag
A rear-facing baby seat should never be placed in the front if the car is fitted with a
passenger airbag. The baby seat can only be fitted if the airbag is switched off or
disconnected. Consult your owner’s manual to assess how to switch off or disconnect
your airbag and indeed whether deactivation is possible. Alternatively, contact your local
garage.
Appropriate use of seatbelts and child restraints.
Seatbelts and child restraints must be used correctly and in accordance with the
manufacturer’s instructions. This is how they were tested. For example, it is no longer
permitted to place the diagonal strap under the arm or behind the back. Seatbelts are
not designed for this type of use and will not work properly. The best way to protect an
unborn child is to protect the mother by encouraging the proper use of seatbelts. The hip
belt should be placed below the abdomen, and the diagonal strap across the chest,
above the abdomen.
Belt guide
Belt guides (a belt clip) ensure that the shoulder belt runs across the shoulder and not
against the neck. A seatbelt guide can be part of a booster seat. It is also possible to
purchase seatbelt guides separately. These are not suitable for small children, and are
only suitable for:
adults
children weighing more than 36 kg (see ‘child restraints for groups’)
the abovementioned exceptions where the use of a child restraint is not required
In these cases, the permitted seatbelt guides must satisfy a number of conditions. They
may only be fitted to the diagonal part of the seatbelt. Seatbelt guides that connect the
hip strap to the diagonal strap are therefore illegal. Seatbelt guides may not prohibit the
proper operation of the seatbelt and must be smooth to prevent any damage to the
seatbelt.
A booster seat is a much safer alternative for children, as it ensures that the hip part of
the belt runs across the pelvis and not across the abdomen. This reduces the risk of
serious internal injury in the event of an accident. Seat belt guides do not eliminate the
risk of injury. A booster seat is therefore a much safer option than a seat belt guide.
Which child restraint for which child?
Is your child under or over 135 cm (approx. 4' 5") in height?
Under 135 cm in height:
How much does your child weigh?
Under 13 kg (28 lbs / 2 stone):
Baby seats (group 0 and 0+)
Over 135 cm in height:
The use of a seatbelt
(if available) is compulsory.
If the belt runs across the child's neck
rather than the shoulder, use
a booster seat.
Between 9 and 18 kg:
Child seat (group 1)
Between 15 and 26 kg:
Booster seat (groups 2 and 3)
Over 36 kg (approx. 6 stone):
Seatbelt, with
booster seat or separate
seatbelt guide (belt clip /
belt clamp)
Group child seats
Group 0 and 0+: Baby seats
Baby seats are rear-facing. The seat is secured to the three-point belt. The child is
secured with a Y-shaped belt. A number of baby seats can also be fitted with a so-called
ISOFIX system: these seats have two rear mountings. Cars specifically designed for this
system have two ‘anchorage points’ between the backrest and the seat. To secure the
baby seat, simply click the rear mountings into the ‘anchorage points’ Some seats are
fitted with a third anchorage point. For more information, please consult the instruction
manual included with the baby seat.
Group 1: Child seat
Child seats are designed for children who are able to travel unaccompanied. The child is
fitted to the five-point belt of the seat. The majority of child seats are forward-facing and
adjustable. The child seat is secured with the seatbelt or with the ISOFIX system.
Groups 2 and 3: Booster seat
The child is seated on the booster seat and is secured with the seatbelt. The booster
seat ensures that the diagonal part of the seatbelt runs across the child's shoulder rather
than the neck. In addition, the hip belt of the booster seat runs across the pelvis and not
the abdomen to prevent serious internal injury. Booster seats are equipped with or
without a backrest. We would recommend a booster seat with (detachable) backrest.
Most backrests are adjustable in height, providing better sideward support if the child
falls asleep during the car journey. The backrest additionally provides some protection in
the event of side impact collisions. The backrest moves the child slightly forward,
enabling him / her to bend the knees. This is a more comfortable seating position and
prevents slumping. If the child is slumped in the seat, the hip belt is no long in place,
increasing the risk of serious internal injury in the event of a collision.
Children weighing more than 36 kg
There are no approved child seats for children weighing more than 36 kg. An
appropriate seatbelt must be used in this case. If the seatbelt runs across the child's
neck rather than the shoulder, it is recommended to transport them in a booster seat
until they are tall enough to use the seatbelt. Alternatively, use a separate belt guide
(clip / clamp, see also ‘The Law’).
This option should only be used as a last resort!
Tips for safe use
Safely secured
Always ensure the child seat is safely and properly secured. The more securely the seat
is fitted, the better the protection afforded.
Rear-facing seats
Children should be carried in rear-facing seat as long as possible, at least until their 1st
birthday.
Airbag
It is illegal to fit a rearward-facing baby seat in the front passenger seat if an airbag is
fitted. To fit the baby seat, it is necessary to switch off or disconnect the airbag. If the
airbag went off it would strike the seat backwards with considerable force, causing
serious or even fatal injuries. It is recommended that children up to the age of 12 are not
seated against an activated airbag. If there is no alternative, ensure that the passenger
seat is positioned as far back from the airbag as possible.
Tightening seatbelts
Always tighten the belts of the child restraint securely. Exercise extra caution when
fitting a booster seat: as these are not fitted with belts, the child must be secured with
the seatbelt.
Booster seat
If the seatbelt runs across the neck of your child rather than the shoulder, use a booster
seat. Do this even if your child is taller than 135 cm.
Adjusting the belts
Regularly check that the belts of the child restraint are properly adjusted. Adjust the belts
for example if your child is wearing extra layers of clothes.
Avoid belt guides
The proper operation of the seatbelt should not be obstructed. Belt guides (clips /
clamps) must therefore be avoided, with the exception of some special cases or
exceptions (see The Law). It is no longer permitted to place the diagonal strap under the
arm or behind the back.
Avoid holding children on your lap
Do not hold your children on your lap, irrespective of whether you are seated in the front
or rear of the car, or whether you are wearing a seat belt. This is highly dangerous in the
event of a frontal collision.
Provide sufficient head support
Make sure your child's head is properly supported. The back of the child's head must not
touch the edge of the backrest of the seat or protrude above it. If this is the case, it is
time to move up a level.
After a collision
If you have suffered a collision, replace the child seat, even if the exterior of the seat has
not sustained any damage. In other words, replace the child seat even if you have only
collided with a bollard!
Baby buggies
Although some baby buggies comply with ECE Regulation 44/03 or 44/04, it is much
safer to transport a baby in an approved baby seat. The construction of these seats and
the way they are transported provide much better protection for the baby. An ordinary
travel cot should never be used in a car, as it offers little or no protection.
Boot or load space
It is forbidden to carry passengers in the boot or load space of the car or in a trailer or
caravan.
Campervan
Although it is not safe to carry people in the living area of a campervan without seatbelts,
it is permitted by law in certain instances, depending for example on the year of
manufacture of the campervan. For further information, please visit
www.verkeerenwaterstaat.nl.
More information?
For the latest information, games and photo competitions for you and your children,
please visit www.kinderzitjes.nl. You can also print out your very own Goochem tape
measure. Lots of fun for the children, lots of information for the parents.
For more information on how to carry your children safely, please visit www.veiligheid.nl.
Publishing information
This folder is published by Consument en Veiligheid and was produced in partnership
with the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management. This
campaign is partly funded by the European Commission.
Published January 2006
The way to get home safely
Carrying children safely
in a child restraint
The way to get home safely
Always go for safety, not the exception
The statutory obligation to fit child restraints is not designed to complicate the lives of
motorists, but to protect the child's right to be carried in safety.
Exceptions are designed to indemnify drivers against any instances where they cannot
reasonably be expected to have an approved child restraint in place when carrying
children at a particular moment in time.
Please remember that the exceptions effectively compromise the safety of children.
Parents and others carrying children are therefore advised not to operate on the
borderline of the exceptions, but wherever possible to choose the safest transport
option.
My car has no seatbelts. Can I fit seatbelts in combination with a child restraint?
If no seatbelts are fitted, these may be fitted subsequently, provided they are fitted
expertly, for example by an approved vehicle body repair shop.
How should I interpret the term 'occasional journey'?
This notion is open to interpretation; however, if the child is transported on a daily or
weekly basis, this constitutes more than an occasional journey. Exceptions are designed
to indemnify drivers against any instances where they cannot reasonably be expected to
have an approved child restraint in place when carrying children at a particular moment
in time. Motorists are however expected to fit a suitable child restraint if they are making
regular journeys.
My father collects my children from school once a week, is he required to have
child restraints fitted?
As this is a recurring event, it cannot be classed as an occasional journey. A child
restraint must therefore be used. If the same child is transported on a daily or weekly
basis, the journey cannot be classed as an occasional journey.
What are the rules governing the use of buses or private vehicles to transport my
child to after-school centres? Should child restraints be fitted?
If the buses used are classed as passenger vehicles ( = intended to transport no more
than 8 people, excluding the driver) rather than taxis (blue number plates), the use of
child restraints is compulsory. Some schools use their own buses, with either volunteer
drivers or hired drivers. If the buses used are classed as private passenger vehicles ( =
intended to transport no more than 8 people, excluding the driver) rather than taxis (blue
number plates), the use of child restraints is compulsory.
If I want to transport other children, am I really obliged to place my own children
in a child restraint and use a seatbelt for other children? It seems a little odd to
offer the safest seats to my own children.
This may indeed seem rather anti-social. This 'exception to the exception' is designed to
stop motorists who (only) transport their own children without a child restraint justifying
their actions by claiming they only ever travel short distances. The parents of other
children are more than welcome to provide a child restraint for their own children.
How should I interpret the term 'short distance'?
This term 'short distance' denotes a maximum distance of 50 kilometres (approx. 30
miles).
My car is equipped with a third seat, is this suitable for children?
The same rules apply to the third seat as the second seat.
I'm going on holiday, do the same rules apply in other European countries?
The modified regulations governing the carrying of children apply to all EU member
states. There may however be slight differences and discrepancies.
In some countries, a child restraint is compulsory for children under 150 cm (not 135
cm). Some exceptions do not apply in certain countries.
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