You must flick a switch in your car when driving with a child seat to avoid a £500 fine or YEARS in prison | The Sun

DRIVERS who put a child seat on the front passenger seat of their car face potential fines or jail time if they fail to flick a certain switch.

The switch will be in different places in different cars, but it is vitally important to the safety of the child.

Although some cars come with the option of an Isofix child seat anchor point on their front seats, it is generally advised that child seats should be placed in the rear.

It isn't illegal to put a child seat on the front passenger seat though, and some people find it means they can transport three children more easily.

However, if your car has airbags, it is essential that you find the switch to turn the front passenger airbag OFF before driving with a child in the front.

You'll find where this is in the car's handbook, or if you don't have that, speak directly to the manufacturer.

When an airbag fires it can travel at up to 160mph in order to cushion an adult correctly in a crash.

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For small children in a rear-facing seat that can push them up and even out of the seat violently, causing injury or even death.

For older children in a forward-facing seat, this could result in bruising or suffocation.

This could result in anything from a £500 fine for not correctly installing a child seat to five years in prison for causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving.

The car seat experts at say: "Do not put a forward-facing child seat in the front, unless there is no other choice.

"If you must do so, make sure the car seat is as far back as possible, the child seat is securely fitted and the child is securely held by the seat belt or child seat harness, keeping the child as far as possible from the dashboard.


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"Ask the vehicle manufacturer how far the airbag comes out as it deploys and whether it is safe to use a child seat."

It also points out that: "Side airbags are usually a curtain airbag which deploys downward to provide protection to the head and are not as powerful as the front ones.

"They should not pose a risk to a child in a child seat in the rear, but provide added protection.

On the subject of switching off airbags, maintains that: "disconnecting or switching off an airbag should be a last resort.

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"It means that the protection offered by the airbag is lost.

"If there is no other option, contact the vehicle manufacturer, and consult your insurance company beforehand.

"Some cars have a cut-off switch which allows an airbag to be switched on or off.

"The disadvantage is that you may forget to switch it back on when a different passenger is in the seat."

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