Checklist: The Laws About Baby Car Seat Safety

She’s back! And this time lovelorn journalist, Bridget Jones is faced with a challenge that many of us can identify with - preparing for the arrival of a newborn.

From nappies to pushchairs, sleepless nights to baby car seat safety, there’s a lot to take in.

And despite the fact that she’s seemingly enjoying her life as a singleton, we know that the odds are likely to be stacked against her in the new film, Bridget Jones’s Baby.  After all, Bridget herself admits: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.”

Knowing Bridget and her scatty nature, Swansway Group thought that we’d give her an idea of some of the things she’ll have to bear in mind when it comes to baby car seat safety.

Features that the former girl-about-town will have to consider as she looks forward to her new arrival include:

  • Forward or backward facing seats
  • Seats from Group 0, 1, 2 or Boosters
  • ISOFIX fittings

But does she really need any or all of these things? Or are they just nice-to-have?


In Bridget’s own words: “I already feel like an idiot most of the time anyway - with or without the fireman's pole.” So, we’ll have to spell out the legal obligations of baby car seats to save Mark Darcy from bailing her out of jail again because she can’t afford her £100 fixed penalty fine (which rises to £500 if the case is taken to court).

UK law states that:

  • ​Children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm (4’ 6”) tall, whichever comes first.
  • ​Only EU-approved child car seats (with a label showing the symbol ) should be used in the UK.
  • ​The driver is responsible for ensuring that any child under 14 is using the correct seatbelt or child seat whilst in their car.
  • Children under 3 MUST travel using a baby car seat.
  • Backward-facing baby car seats must not be used in a front passenger seat unless the airbag has been turned off.
  • If there is room in the rear passenger seat for only 2 child seats, a 3rd child (over the age of 3) may travel in the rear of the car using a seat belt alone.
  • Taxis and buses are exempt from these rules but will allow parents to install their own baby car seats for the safety of their own child.

  • The only exceptions to these rules is if the journey is unexpected AND necessary AND over a short distance.

    So, Which Seat To Choose

    When she does get chance to use a baby car seat, Bridget will have to consider which one.

    Car seats are based on the weight, age and height of the child, the entire range of which are catered for by most reputable car seat manufacturers. A Group 0 backward-facing seat should be her first choice, progressing to a Group 1 at 9 months or 10kg (22lbs).

    If Jones Junior is a long baby who outgrows his/her first car seat, Bridget could look at an i-size seat that might suffice up to 15 months, progressing to a forward-facing Group 2 seat (from 4-6 years) and a Group 3 seat (from 6-11 years) which is a high-backed booster seat with head rest.

    Whatever brand she chooses, Bridget will have to stay on the ball regarding legislation. Swansway Group has learned that laws regarding booster seats, for example are currently under review with the likelihood that they will soon only be approved for use by children taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg or 48lbs.

    Where baby car seat fitting is concerned, Bridget could no doubt make a whole new film about her attempts, with a recent survey by Sheila’s Wheels claiming that up to 32% of car seats are wrongly fitted. Thank goodness Bridget has two potential fathers to help her out as she struggles to fix the baby seat to the car’s seat belt.


    Alternatively, (and because we know that Bridget’s relationships are notoriously unstable and she might not always have a helping hand) ISOFIX is an option.

    Tucked away in the rear seat of most cars, at the base of the seat back, ISOFIX points allow the child seat to be directly connected to the car without the use of seat belts. Compatible baby car seats can even be instantly clicked into a base that is permanently fixed into the car using these ingenious points.

    We hope that Bridget gets chance to read this guide in between making blue soup and jumping out of planes. As a new mum, she’ll have to stick to the baby car seat rules, just like the rest of us...enormous knickers or not!

    If, like Bridget, you’re also awaiting the arrival of a new baby and want to trade in your old car or get it checked over for safe running before the happy event, you’ll be more than welcome at any Swansway Group garage. Our team of advisors and qualified technicians are on standby to help.