Child car seats

Below we’ll provide information on rules in different countries regarding baby car seats, child car seats and booster seats.

We recommend bringing your own child car seat to avoid additional costs and the uncertainty of not knowing what type of car seat the car rental firm uses. However, renting a child car seat from the car rental firm usually works more than well. We work only with reputable car hire companies that offer child car seats for children in all ages, at an additional cost. Prices vary between countries and firms, but it will typically cost between 6 and 11 pounds per day, although several car rental firms have a maximum price per car rental. A child car seat is always rented directly from the car rental firm at your destination, but we recommend reserving it in advance when booking the car.

Bringing your child car seat on the flight

Most airlines, e.g. Norwegian, allow you to take both a child car seat and a pram in addition to other checked baggage. SAS, however, considers a child car seat as a piece of luggage (at check-in). If you are travelling with children over 2 years old, you can usually bring the child car seat onboard for the child to use on the flight. Contact your airline to find out more about this. Keep in mind that there may be complications if your child car seat is rear-facing only.

Child car seat regulation in Europe

By EU law, children shorter than 135 cm must use equipment that is adapted to their size and weight. This can mean an infant car seat, child car seat, booster seat or booster cushion.

To increase child car safety within EU there is new legislation that has been updated two times within the last 5 years. Since 2008 approved child car seats have an orange sign for E-marking with the ECE R44-04 or 03 at the end on it.

New guidelines in 2014 for infant car seats and child car seats

In 2014 a new legislation called UN R129 (also known as i-Size) was introduced and this is what you should look for on the approval label when buying a new child car seat today. From 1 september 2017 new child car seas with label R-44 can no longer be approved under the new law. The new legislation demands that the child is rear-facing until 15 months. Today length is also added besides weight for the different car seats. More side collision tests are required to get an approved child car seat as well. The i-size certification is also added to this legislation. This is the child car seats that have and ISO-FIX connected to it. ISO-FIX is a way to attach the child car with metall attachments that are placed inbetween the car seat. The introduction of the i-Size have made the attachment easier and safer.

The next step to increase child car safety

In 2017 the legislation UN R129 went into phase two where focus now is on child car seats for children 100-150 cm in length, covering also the booster seats and booster cushions. Also in this classification there is both length and/or weight restrictions for each child car seat. In this classification there are two categories: i-Size and “Specific vehicle”. The first one menthioned above with the metall attachment in the bottom and Specific Vehicle, that has not. Children that are shorter than 125 cm must be placed in a booster seat. Soon there will be no booster seats without back support on the market for children under 125 cm. Booster cushions are only approved for childen above 125 cm that weights for than 22 kg.

EU child car seat label
Here you see the “old” (but still valid) labelling for R44 and the new one named R129.

Even if the new rules are in force for both child car seats and backless booster seats the rules do not affect existing models – you can continue to use existing models as long as there is a label indicating that they are suitable for your child. But do have in mind that the rules are changing to increase the safety level for children in traffic. Even if your old child car seat is approved, you might consider upgrading it anyway.

The use of a rear-facing child car seat is still illegal in the passenger seat if the airbag is not turned off. Seat belts must be worn by all passengers, and children over 135 cm can use a safety belt for adults.

Child car seat regulation in the U.S.

All U.S. states require the use of child car seats, but the details of the regulation will slightly vary. The most common rule is that children under 1 year must sit in the back seat and be rear-facing. A few states have the same rule for children under 2 years old. Many states require that children under 57 inches (144 cm) must use child car seats. Click here to get more information about each individual state.

Different types of child car seats

The information below is based on an average child car seat market. Some car rental firms and countries may have different variations. The new legislation in EU also have lenght requirements for different child car seats and not only weight and age.

Infant car seats 0 – 13 kg

An infant car seat needs to be placed rear-faced. It is designed for infants up to about 9 months. Children needs to be placed rear-facing until 15 months. Upgrader your infant car seat when your child´s head are in the upper end of the seat. The seats are designed to protect the baby’s extra sensetive spine, ensuring good comfort and safety for neck, head and shoulders. They are usually secured easily by using the car’s 3-point safety belt or the new ISO-FIX installation. They are equipped with a carrying handle.

Child car seats 9 – 25 kg

Child car seats are used from 9 months to 4 years and remember that they should be rear-faced until 15 months. Recommendations are that children up to 4 years old should be placed rear-faced. It is recommended to always use rear-facing child car seats approximately until the age of 4. They are often secured easily with the car’s 3-point safety belt, and have their own 5-point belt for the child. Child car seats have, among other things, high sides for safety during side collissions.

Booster seats 15 – 36 kg

Booster seats are always forward-facing and all children below 125 cm must be placed in a booster seat. They often have thick and high sides around the child’s body and head for maximum safety in case of side collision. If your child falls asleep this is definitely more safe than a booster cusion.

Booster cushions 15-36 kg

A booster cushion is a more simple version of a booster seat and can be used earliest from 4-5 years. Booster seats are considered to be the safer option, but a booster cushion can still be a good choice for holidays. There are recommendations saying children should be in booster seats up until 10 years of age.