As in the rest of Europe, in Spain we have some strict laws about carrying children in vehicles. Let’s learn about Spain car seat laws and rules in 2022.
The safety of younger passengers travelling in any of our rental cars is very important to us, even though as the driver of the vehicle, it will be your legal responsibility to ensure ALL passengers are wearing appropriate safety restraints. So for your convenience, here’s a summary of the laws governing child safety in cars, and what your responsibilities are as a driver.
Driving Laws in Spain and Child Safety
The first thing to bear in mind is the current regulations. In Spain, children under 135 cm must use an approved child restraint system that is adapted to their weight and height. This device must be installed in the back seat of the vehicle, and must be correctly anchored to the vehicle by means of the seat belt or the Isofix system.
It is important that child restraint systems are adapted to the age, weight and height of the child. Infants should travel in rear-facing car seats, while older children can use forward-facing seats. Children over 135 cm tall can use the vehicle’s seat belt directly, but only if it fits correctly.
Car seat laws in Spain
All passengers must be wearing functional safety devices appropriate to their age group. These are as follows:
1.) Rear facing car seats – Groups 0 and 0+
2.) Forward facing car seats – Groups 1 and 2
3.) Booster seats – Group 3
4.) Seat belts – All passengers above Group 3
The definitions for each group are as follows:
Babies up to 18 months – approx weight: up to 13 kg
Children in this group should be in a rear facing car seat i.e. facing away from the direction of travel. This is to ensure maximum protection and safety in the event of an accident, with straps running securely over each shoulder and fastening between the legs. These are sometime known as “Group 0” or “Group 0+”.
Children from 18 months to 4 years – approx weight: between 9 – 18 kg
Known as “Group 1”, these seats feature similar fastenings to the smaller group below, however face the direction of travel. These seats should fit directly behind one of the front seats, and not in the center seat.
Children from 3 to 12 Years – approx weight: between 15 – 36 kg
“Group 2” seats are essentially a booster seat with a supporting back and head rest, which uses the fitted seat belt. These are ideal for children who have outgrown the smaller groups but aren’t ready to sit unsupported on a standard “Group 3” booster seat. These “Group 2” seats can often be converted into “Group 3” seats, which simply lift the child up enough to safely use the car’s fitted seat belt. “Group 3” should only be used once the child reaches 22kg.
Children over 12 years and over 135 cms tall
Children should remain on a Group 3 booster cushion until they are over 12 years old AND over 135cms tall. The child should only ever use the car’s fitted seatbelt alone when it can comfortably pass over the shoulder without touching the neck. Please be aware that no child under the age of 12 can sit in the front passenger seat.
Tips for driving with children
Travelling by car with children can be a very rewarding experience, but it can also be exhausting if the necessary precautions are not taken to ensure that children are safe and entertained during the journey. Here are some tips to make your trip as enjoyable and safe as possible:
Planning your journey
Before you set off, make sure your car is in good condition and that you have enough fuel. It is also important to plan your route, taking into account necessary stops to rest, stretch your legs and use the toilet.
Safety is the most important thing when travelling with children in a car. Make sure that children’s car seats are installed correctly and that seat belts are fastened securely. In addition, it is important that children are seated in the back seat of the car and not in the front seat, as this can be dangerous in the event of an accident. Rear seats are much safer for children as they are further away from the impact in the event of an accident and are not exposed to the danger of airbags.
It is important to bring food and drinks for children to eat and drink during the journey. It is advisable to carry healthy snacks such as fruit, biscuits or cereal bars to avoid hunger and unnecessary stops along the way.
Travelling by car can be boring for children, especially on long journeys and if they are strapped into their child seats. It is therefore important to bring games and toys to keep children entertained during the journey. You can also bring colouring books, music, films or series to watch on a tablet or portable player.
Plan stops to rest and stretch your legs. If the trip is a long one, it is advisable to rest and continue the journey the next day. It is also important to get enough sleep beforehand to be alert at the wheel.
Final thoughs about Child Safety while driving
Failure to comply with these laws can result in a significant on-the-spot fine and, in extreme cases, arrest. In addition, it is important that drivers correctly fit child restraint systems before each journey. This includes checking that belts are correctly tensioned, that anchorages are correctly engaged and that restraint systems are properly installed.
Finally, it is important that drivers drive safely and responsibly at all times. This includes respecting speed limits, maintaining an adequate safe distance and avoiding distractions while driving.
Spain seat laws with a car rental
As you cannot drive your vehicle without ensuring your passengers are secure, for car hire malaga airport we can rent you an appropriate car seat for your child along with your car from as little as 2€ a day. Simply make a note of your request on your booking application, and we’ll do the rest.
For further details about our booking terms and conditions covering additional items such as car seats and GPS, please check our terms and conditions page.
More official information in the BOE in Spanish: https://www.boe.es/buscar/doc.php?id=DOUE-L-2016-81708
Travelling by car with children can be an enriching experience. With good planning, games and toys, food and drink, rest and safety in the car, the journey can be an adventure for the whole family.