Children riding in a car always need a child seat. This is stated in the road traffic regulations. The regulation applies to all children who are either younger than 12 years or smaller than 1.50 meters. The driver is responsible for this in any case—if he takes children along without securing them appropriately, he faces a fine of 60 euros and a point in the traffic offender file in Flensburg.
There are a large number of different child seats, which are also tested again and again for their safety. The most important thing, however, is that the child seat is appropriate for the age and size of the child. There are a total of five different weight classes. Three child seat standards are approved, which specify the correct child seat size for the child in question (i-size/ UN ECE Reg. 129, UN ECE Reg. 44/04, UN ECE Reg. 44/03). Each child seat has a test badge showing one of these European-approved child seat test standards.
The standards are based on the child’s height, age and weight. For babies (class 0) up to 10 kg or up to one year of age, for example, a baby seat is intended to be transverse or rearward facing. Children under one year of age may only be transported in the opposite direction to the direction of travel. A child between the ages of 7 and 12 weighing between 22 and 36 kilograms, on the other hand, must be secured in a booster seat with or without a backrest and facing forwards. Incidentally, the best child seat is of no use if it is incorrectly fitted or the child is not properly secured in it. Experts therefore advise to take children with you to the purchase and test the installation.
If children are 12 years old or taller than 1.50 meters, they can use the seat belt like adults. However, it is recommended that children over the age of twelve, who are smaller than 1.50 meters, continue to be transported in a child seat.
More information on child seats and the different weight classes is available on the Internet.
Verkehrssicherheit in Deutschland. Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL / Theresa Melnyk.