Classic Car Seatbelts

UK Law on Children and Seat belts

by John Bannister

The SVW Range of pre-war MG’s all have 4 seats. This means that owners may well find themselves being asked to take young children in their cars It is inadvisable to retro-fit seat belt anchorage points as these will not have been fully crash-tested and are unlikely to meet the latest approved legislative or insurance requirements.

Full details are covered on the Government Website.

This says:

  • A child over 14 is personally responsible for wearing a seat belt. They can sit in either the back or the front of an open or closed vehicle and “must wear a seat belt, but only if one is available.”
  • If a child is either 12 or 13 years old (or is over 135cm tall = 4ft-5ins), the same rule applies, but the driver becomes responsible.
  • Children from their 3rd birthday onwards are permitted to travel un-restrained in a vehicle which was originally designed without seat belts, but only in the rear seat. (dispensation in Gov. Website Section 13).
  • No child under 3 years old can be carried in a vehicle which is not fitted with seat belts.
  • In two-seater vehicles, all passengers must be restrained by a fully approved seat-belt system, if available. So this means that only 14 year olds (and older) may be legally carried in cars not fitted with seat belts (or 12/13 year olds who are over 135cm in height).

Note: These rules also apply when cars are being used for events such as weddings or family celebrations. It may therefore not be possible to legally carry Bridesmaids or younger/small family members on the day.

I hope this advice helps owners of pre and post-war cars (up to the mid 1960’s) where approved seat belts and seat belt anchorage points were not fitted as original equipment. (Best also to fully check the website yourselves, to be absolutely sure of all the on-going Legislation).

Quickfit Safety Belt Services advertise that they can design and install seat belts to any old cars which were not originally fitted with Seat Belt anchorage points.

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