Driving in France with Children
Driving in France with children has similar rules to driving in the UK but with a few minor, but very important differences!
In France, as in the UK, the driver is always responsible for ensuring that all juvenile passengers within the vehicle are restrained in the appropriate way. Juveniles include all those up to the age of 18.
The main difference between driving in the UK with children and driving in France with children are the rules governing child seats and where children can sit in the car.
Firstly, children 10 years and under are not permitted to travel in the front passenger seat of a vehicle except under certain circumstances. These include if there is no rear seat fitted in that vehicle, there are no rear seat belts in the vehicle (which is more for older vehicles), if the rear seats of the vehicle are already being occupied by other children under the age of 10 and if the child is a baby, is in a suitable rear facing baby seat and the passenger airbag is turned off.
Secondly, children up to the age of 10 Must be using an approved restraint or child seat which is suitable for both their age and also their size. There is no upper height limit as in the UK and it is recommended that children can wear adult seat-belts if, when sat in the car seat the seat-belt sits across their shoulder and not their neck.
Child car seats in France
The type of car seat and the locations where they can be placed in the vehicle for children in France are determined by weight.
Those children weighing under 10kg must be in a rear facing children’s seat or carry cot. If in a carry cot they must be in the rear of the vehicle but in a rear facing seat they can occupy the front passenger seat if the airbag is turned off.
Children under 13kg must follow the same rules as those under 10kg.
Children between the weights of 9 and 18kg must use a suitable car seat and those between 15 and 36kg must be sat on an appropriate booster seat or car seat using an adult belt.
As you can see the rules are very much similar to those in the UK. The main difference is the ruling about no children in the front seat of the vehicle so please make sure you don’t fall foul of these laws.
Seat belt fines in France
If you or your children fail to wear a seat belt or fail to be restrained by the appropriate car seat then you could end up with a fairly hefty fine. The current fine is set at €135 and for drivers there is also a 3 point penalty.
Although at present points are not added to UK licences, European governments are looking to put something is place, possibly as early as 2017!