Almost every child goes through this stage of adolescence when they dream of being “grown up” and doing “adult” things. Kids then refuse to wear a hat and Velcro shoes, want to go to bed later and categorically refuse to continue riding in the car seat. While there are some compromises when it comes to the wardrobe or the time of falling asleep, the issue of the seat is beyond dispute. The time when a child can start to ride without it is precisely defined by regulations – and specialists recommend extending it anyway.
According to the Polish law, a child should be transported in a seat until he/she reaches the height of 150 cm – regardless of the age. Currently, the age criterion no longer applies, only height is taken into account.
However, the regulations allow for two exceptions. First: if your kid is more than 135 cm tall and does not fit into the car seat due to weight, he/she can travel in the back seat of the car. And the second one: if you are transporting three children, but the car does not fit three car seats, a child over three years old can sit in the middle of the backseat without a car seat, fastened only with seatbelts.
As it tends to be sometimes, the regulations do not keep up with reality. Modern car seats solve both of these issues. It is possible to choose three so that they fit easily in the car and ensure the safety of all three children. In the category of the last seats (weight range 15–36 kg and height 100–150 cm) you can easily find models that will ensure comfort and safety of driving also for larger and heavier children. Of course, such a seat must be properly selected. It is important not only to choose the seat to the the weight and height of the child, but also age – due to the strength of the skeleton, children under 3.5 years of age cannot use seats intended for older kids.
Why is it a very bad idea to carry a 135 cm child without a car seat, even if the law allows it? The car seat serves, among other things, for the correct positioning of the seatbelt. If the child is sitting directly in the car’s backseat, the seatbelt is not placed correctly – along the neck, along the side of the ribs, and across the abdomen. In the event of an accident or collision, it may have serious consequences: injury of the cervical spine, chest and abdominal internal organs.
For the safety of the child, do not follow the regulations blindly this time – do not stop using the seat if the child is not 150 cm tall. There are some things you shouldn’t rush.