Do you transport children by car? For instance because you run a childcare centre or transport company? In the Netherlands, you must use approved child car seats. Child seats are obligatory for children smaller than 1.35m. Depending on the size and weight of the child you use a baby seat, a child seat, or a booster seat.
The maximum weight or size of the child the seat is suited for is found on a sticker, usually found on the side of the seat.
You should use child seats in the following types of vehicles:
- private cars
- company cars
- three-wheeler cars with closed sides
- quadricycles / microcars
Approved child seats
You have to use seats that meet European safety demands. These have to be approved according to:
- previous safety regulations (R44), these car seats are not being manufactured since 2019 but you may still use these
- new regulations (R129/i-Size)
Approved child car seats have a label showing among others the category, weight group the seat is meant for and a capital 'E' in a circle. You can find an example of what an approval label looks like here (in Dutch).
Using car seats
Do you want to transport a child in the front seat, facing backwards? Then you must switch off the airbag. Is the child seated facing the front? Then check the seat’s manual how to deal with the airbag. If there is nothing in the manual, the advice is to switch off the airbag as airbags are not set for children. If you cannot switch off the airbag, you should move the front seat as far back as possible.
If you use seats that comply with the i-Size norms, you must transport children up to 15 months facing backwards.
The Dutch Centre of Expertise for Preventing Harm (VeiligheidNL) has published an instruction video (in Dutch) showing how to safely secure a car seat. You can also find information in Dutch on the i-Size norms on their website.
When can you use a booster seat
Children may be in a booster seat when they weigh at least 22 kilograms and are at least 1.25 metres in height. This applies to booster seats with a backrest as well as those without a backrest. Children that are smaller must be in a suitable child car seat. For children up to 1.35 metres a booster seat is mandatory.
When not to use car seats
There are certain situations in which you do not have to use a child seat:
- If you already have two seats in your car and there is no space for another one. In this case, children aged 3 and older can be transported on the backseat. The child should wear a seatbelt.
- In taxis without child seats you are allowed to transport children with a height of 1.35 or taller on the back seat. Children aged 3 and over wear a seatbelt. Children under the age of 3 can sit on their parents' lap.
- In buses and coaches that operate on a timetable and that have standing spaces as well as seats. In this case, seatbelts are not obligatory either.
- If you transport children that cannot be put in a child seat for medical reasons. You can apply for an exemption with the Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (CBR, in Dutch).
- If you transport children in a wheelchair
Children taller than 1.35 metres must use a seatbelt. If the belt passes over the neck rather than over the chest, the child must use a booster seat. Find out more about safety and child car seats (in Dutch).
Rules for child seats abroad
In all EU countries safety regulations R44 or R129/i-Size apply. This means you need to use a car seat with an approval label or sticker for the child's weight and length. Sometimes in other countries other rules apply as well for the safe transportation of children. You should check which rules apply in the country of your destination.