How to Drive Safely with Kids in the Car

Driving with children in the car can be quite a daunting experience – how do you secure them safely and how do you avoid the dreaded “are we nearly there yet?” Scrap Car Comparison provides you with all the hints, tips, and car seat laws that we’re governed by here in the UK, and what penalty driving without a child seat can land you.

If you’re not sure if your old car is the safest of options for your children to be travelling in, then why not get rid of it and find something newer and safer instead? By using Scrap Car Comparison you can get the very best price for your tired, broken or simply outdated vehicle and boost your budget for your next set of wheels. Just provide our team with your registration plate and postcode and we’ll set you up with the very best quotes in your area. With collection agents all over the country you’re never too far away from our service, so get started today to see just how much you could make from your car.

What are the rules for carrying children in the car?

The law states that children under the age of 12 or below 135cm (whichever comes first) should normally be in a specified child seat. Child car seat rules change slightly depending on the context of the journey. For example, if the child is in a taxi, minibus, coach or van then they do not need to be in a car seat, likewise if the journey is unexpected – such as in an emergency – they can ride on a normal seat. Children under 12 are also allowed to be outside of a car seat if there is no space because of an existing car seat (for an additional child).

Can a learner driver drive with a child in the car

Learner drivers can absolutely have a child in the car with them, so long as they abide by all other car seat rules, as outlined above. As a learner driver is legally required to have a fully qualified supervising driver in their front passenger seat, there is no issue with younger children sitting in the front seat, either, as this will always be occupied when a learner is behind the wheel.

Is it illegal to hold a baby in a car?

Driving with a child on your lap and not fastened into a specified child seat is absolutely illegal. In 2020 a woman in Northumbria was handed a fixed penalty notice after she was found to be holding a baby on her lap while travelling in the front seat of a car. The repercussions of this could be disastrous – as while you may feel like you’re sitting still while in a car, you’re actually moving at whatever speed the car is going. 

This means that if there is a sudden decrease in speed due to, say, an impact, momentum will cause you to continue moving, even if the car has ground to a halt incredibly quickly. That’s where seatbelts save lives, and if you’re holding a young child, you’re going to have to try to hold on to the weight of a small human travelling at 40mph or higher. 

Can a child sit on your lap in a car?

Much like the ruling surrounding babies being held in cars, children can not travel on an adult’s lap while in the car. If the child is travelling in a taxi, minicab or minibus, then they must be in a rear seat and, if they’re older than 3, use an adult seat belt. Under 3s can travel without a seat belt in these circumstances.

Who is responsible for a child in a car?

It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that all children are safely and legally secured within the car at any time. This law extends to cover all passengers up to the age of 14. From that age, it is the passenger’s responsibility to ensure they are belted securely.

Is it illegal to drive with a child in the front?

Children under the age of 12 can be in the front seat, but this is only providing they are in the correct sort of child seat and if there is no space for their seat in the back of the car because of two seats already occupying them.

You may be asking “but what age can a child sit in the front seat without a seat”, in which case the answer is 12, but they must be sitting safely with an adult seat belt securely fastened.

Can you leave a child in the car?

There is no specific rule stating that you cannot leave a child in a car, but this should really be down to the child and how they might react. For example, an older child could probably sit and entertain themselves with TikTok or a Nintendo Switch, whereas a younger child might find the idea of being left in a car while you go and pay for petrol as an incredibly stressful experience.

However, it’s worth noting that it is a crime to leave your child alone in a place where they could be deemed ‘at risk’. This is, naturally, open for interpretation and if possible it’s worth erring on the side of caution whenever you can.

How to keep your child calm while driving

Keeping children calm on long journeys can be harder than driving itself, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to ensure stress-free motoring (apart from leaving the kids at home, of course). Try and remain calm yourself, as children tend to pick up on their parents’ stresses, which can only exacerbate the situation.

Ignore their irritating behaviours and try to find distractions – whether it’s a game, a toy or maybe an in-car video system so they can watch their favourite shows and forget they’re in the car altogether. If you’re doing the latter, try to invest in some kid-friendly headphones too, as playing the show through the car’s stereo system may calm your child down, but it’s sure to drive you crazy after the 17th repeat of the same episode of Peppa Pig.

Get the best price with Scrap Car Comparison

If you’re not sure if your car is the best one to be carrying kids around in – perhaps it’s a bit old and doesn’t feature ISOFIX or technology to keep them entertained on long drives – then why not get rid of it and find something newer and safer? Even if your current car is old enough to be a parent of its own, or is falling apart, we’ll find you the very best price thanks to our nationwide network of scrap and salvage experts. With collection offered as part of our service, and by only using certified Authorised Treatment Facilities, you can be safe in the knowledge that your car will be recycled in line with all legal regulations. Get started today and find out just how much your old car could be worth.

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