New Rules on Child Seats in Spain

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Posted and filed under Motoring in Spain.

What is i-Size?

There has been a new European law on Child Seats, which affects all of Europe. It is called i-Size and is aimed to improve the safety of child seats.

If the car seat you are not using is not i-sized, you do not need to rush out to buy a new one, as the existing regulation on car seats will run in tandem with this one for a while.

So current car seats can be used as long as they meet the current legal standards of the R44/04 law. The N332 Group of Guardia Civil have written a good article about this – please see this article here on i-size car seats:

http://n332.es/2018/04/03/new-i-size-chart-for-child-seats/

The labelling on child seats has changed across Europe, making it theoretically easier for children to be secured in a more appropriate seat, thus making them safer.

The New Rules on Child Seats in Spain:

a. i-Size requires children to sit rear-facing until they are at least 15 months old, which is longer than before.
b. Rather than weight, car seats in future will be judged suitable for the child by height not weight.
c. i-Size now requires car seats to have additional testing and protection on the sides of the seats
d. i-Size requires ISOFIX fitting. There is a big problem about car seats being fitted correctly, thus in the future, seat belts will not fix car seats, but with ISOFIX.  ISOFIX car seats have two connecting parts on the back of the seat that hook onto small metal bars
fixed to the frame of some vehicles.  You’ll find this in newer cars where the back seat meets the seat cushion.

By pushing the seat back onto these points, the seat locks directly. But as not all cars have them, even if yours does, it can be tricky swapping car seats between vehicles. You will know if a car seat is i-Size as they have a special logo:

Many of the car seat models also have the letter i in their name or include the word i-Size too. i-Size seats are designed to keep children rearward-facing until they are at least 15 months old, as it is felt it is safer.

As the N332 group say height is deemed now very important, more important than weight, and in Spain, a child cannot sit in the front seat if they are under 135cm. Until they are 135 cm, they must sit in the back.

A booster seat from 135cm to 150 cm is advisable and the child can then sit where you want.

The main message with regard to i-size seats whether you use them yet or not is that babies should remain in a rear-facing seat until they are at least 15 months.

If we can help you with any motoring issues, please contact Gema

If you require the hire of ISOFIX or other seats in Spain please contact John at https://www.costablancanurseryhire.com/

Are you struggling to find genuine, honest, English- speaking legal help in Pilar de la Horadada, Mil Palmeras, Los Alcazares, Torre Pacheco or similar areas?  If so we can help!  Don’t sign anything before talking to us and give you our legal advice. We come to you in an hour!

Nicola works closely with the expat community here in the Orihuela Costa and surrounding areas, her areas of work are NIEs, Residencia, Wills and any Traffic matters.

 

16 Comments

  • Barrie

    Query. What about child booster seats in minibuses and taxis? What age does this apply if relevant

    • Amanda Thomas

      Hi, This is a bit of a grey area as the law is that they are not required to use them if in an urban area, but sometimes when you are driving from an airport to a location it is no longer in an urban area, but the police would have to be particularly difficult. If there is any way of getting one supplied I would, but it does not need to prevent your journey.

  • Harjeet Kaur

    Can we use Booster instead of Car Seat for a child aged 2 years, height 102cm and weight 11-12kg?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Afternoon Harjeet,

      Here in Spain, a booster seat would only be used for a child from 135cm to 150 cm, the seat depends on the height and not the weight. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Jess

    Hello! Can you clarify for me if it is height or age (or both!) that allows a child to sit in the front seat. E.g., if my child is (well) over 135cm but under 12, can they legally travel in the front? I have previously read that is isn’t legal to be in the front under 12.
    Thank you!

    • Nicola Ryan

      Afternoon Jess,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      If your child is less than 5 foot tall, they must sit in the back. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Tejal

    Hi want to ask u can my child sit in a front seat he is above 135 cm and age is 8yrs old
    Can he sit with a car seat in a front seat

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Tejal,

      Children under the age of 12, or older children which stand less than 5 feet in height, are legally required to sit in the back seat while you are driving in Spain. Booster seats and child seats are mandatory for children riding in the back up to age 12, granted height and weight restrictions do apply. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Hazel Sinden

    If I have 3 children in the back of a rental car, ages 9, 4 and 1, does the 9 year old sitting in the middle seat need a high backed booster? Or any booster? Many thanks

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon Hazel,

      Children under the age of 12, or older children which stand less than 5 feet in height, are legally required to sit in the back seat while you are driving in Spain. Booster seats and child seats are mandatory for children riding in the back up to age 12, granted height and weight restrictions do apply. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Bonnie

    Hello, if travelling in a van with no back seats can a child sit in front in their car seat?

    • Ian C.

      Hello Bonnie,

      Like so many other driving rules in Spain, this one is a little grey.
      To the best of my knowledge, the current law in Spain states that a child over the height of 4 feet 9 inches can sit in the front seat, facing forward. No issues there.
      Small children should be seated in rear-facing car seats “for as long as possible”. This usually means until they are at least two years old or weigh 40 pounds. We had a conversation with a Guardia civil member last year and he said that if there is no other option, e.g. three smaller children taking up the seats in the back, or your example here, then if the bigger child is in the front in a safe seat, then they will have no problems with that.
      Not exactly black and white, I know!!

      Ian

  • Capt. Gary Traylor

    Thank you for all the comments this was very helpful.

    • Tracie Miles

      Your Welcome

  • Erika

    I am traveling to Spain and both my girls are 54 inches tall. Will they need a backless booster seat in the backseat of our rental car?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Thank you for your enquiry Erika,

      According to the new changes approved by Royal Decree 667/2015, of July 17, which came into force on October 1, 2015, children must travel in cars as follows:

      In vehicles with up to nine seats, including the driver, minor occupants with a height less than or equal to 135 cm must travel in the rear seats, using an approved restraint system adapted to their size and weight. The hire company should be able to help you with the car seats. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

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