Child Car Seat Rules Ireland
An Garda Siochana (the Irish police force) is empowered by law to enforce seatbelt regulations throughout Ireland. Unless you are among those exempted under the law, it is a statutory offence to fail to wear a seatbelt or use an appropriate child restraint where one is provided in the vehicle.
Meanwhile, research undertaken by the World Health Organisation has found that using a correctly fitted rear-facing child seat reduced the likelihood of a child being killed if involved in an accident by 80%.
If you choose a Regulation 129 (i-Size) child car seat you will need to check that your car is fitted with ISOFIX anchorage points. These child car seats are marked with the i-Size symbol which is shown in the picture on the right. If you are not sure, check with the manufacturer.
Our AA Patrols regularly come across ill-fitted child car seats when out and about attending to breakdowns. Most parents buy a top of the range child car seat, suggesting that safety is a priority for them. However, we tend to make mistakes during installation.
All cars first registered in Ireland since 1st June 1971, are required to have safety belts fitted on front seats. Rear seats have to be equipped with safety belts on all cars first registered since 1992. If seatbelts are not provided in the back of your pre-1992 car, then passengers are exempted from the law requiring them to use a safety belt (or child restraint) when travelling in the back of your car. However, if you have a pre-1992 car, it is strongly recommended you have safety belts or, perhaps, child restraints appropriate to the intended use, fitted. Many pre-1992 cars have anchorages for safety belts making the fitment of safety belts or child restraint systems a relatively inexpensive proposition.
Booster cushions – without a back or sides – suit children weighing 22-36kgs, roughly from 6-11/12 years. Like booster seats, cushions do not have an integral harness to hold the child in place – so it is important that the car’s seatbelt is correctly adjusted to fit and that there is no slack.
Measures introduced by Government have increased fines for non-wearing of seatbelts and child restraints. The measures impose fixed-charge fines and penalty points, to ensure drivers comply with the law. Further information is available in our document on driving offences.
Babies and children under 3 may not travel in a car or goods vehicle (other than a taxi) unless restrained in an appropriate child restraint. This requirement applies to all of the vehicles listed above, irrespective of when they were registered - as long as they are equipped with safety belts. (Again, a child restraint is a device designed for use by a child weighing 36 kg or less). The restraint is fitted directly to a suitable belt or is held in place by the action of a safety belt, which in turn restrains movement in the event of an accident or incident. An appropriate child restraint is one appropriate to the weight of the child. The weight range is indicated on the child restraint.