The Danish laws on child safety seats are rather clear and logical. Children must be fastened in an authorized child safety seat or booster cushion while riding in a car. The chair or cushion has to fit the age, height and weight of the child.
ECE 44-03 and ECE 44-04
The safety equipment must be authorized with either ECE 44-03 or ECE 44-04. In other words, there has to be an E-mark on the safety seat and the numbers below the E-mark has to start with either 03 or 04. If the safety chair is fixed, the E-mark has to be followed by o5. If your safety seat is not E-marked it is illegal. If the car is equipped with an Isofix-mount, using safety seats compatible with this mount is preferred.
Explaining the ECE-marks:
Universal = Declaration of which category the safety seat has been authorized in.
9 – 18 kg Y = Authorized for weight. Y means that the child safety seat has a 5-step belt with crotch strap.
E1 = European control-mark. The number shows where the chair has been produced.
04301133 = Number of authorization. The first two numbers show after which version in the ECE R44-scale the chair has been approved. In this case, it is the ECE R 44/04 version.
All passengers in the car must be fastened. Until the children are 135 cm tall, they have to use an approved child safety seat or booster cushion. Depending on the child’s age and size, there are different requirements and advice for the safest practices. The driver is responsible; they must make sure all children in the car are fastened appropriately – failing to do so can result in both fines and marks[E1] on the driver’s license.
From 0-15 months or until 13 kg
A new-born child must be transported in a rear-facing child safety chair. (Also known as a baby chair.) The child is protected in the most vulnerable places – the head, the neck and the back. The safety chair can be placed in either the front seat or the back seat. If there is an airbag, the chair must never be placed in the front seat (unless the airbag has been turned off). The baby-chair must be rear-facing.
From 9 months till 4 years or 9-18 kg
The child should sit rear-faced for as long as possible as this is the by far most safe method for the child. This is often possible until around the age of four depending on the child’s growth. The child can still be placed both in either the front-seat or the back-seat. If there is an airbag in the front seat, the child still may be seated here – I do not recommend this, though!
The airbag is meant to save the life of adults but can do more harm than good for a child. If the safety seat is rear-facing, the airbag has to be turned off.
From 4-12 years or until 36 kg (135 cm)
Depending on the child’s height and weight, they will eventually grow out of the 9-18 kg-chair. Here, you’ll have to choose between a booster cushion or a child safety seat. It is very important that the belt does not sit too close to the child’s neck. The safety chair will provide the best security in case of a crash and will also give you the option to mount the belt correctly in order to support the neck the best way possible.
If the booster cushion does not have back support, you can buy and mount an extra loose belt instead. Once the child is taller than 135 cm, they must use the standard safety belt without a child safety seat or a booster cushion.
Besides what is written above, other rules apply in special situations:
Three children in the backseat:
Fitting three safety chairs in a regular car seat is quite a challenge. A rule helps you here – it does not improve your safety, though. Use only in emergencies.
If you need to fit three children in the backseat, it is allowed. You must have one child above three years of age sit with the regular three-point-belt (no booster cushion or chair), if the other two children sit in approved equipment and there is room for no more equipment.
Children in Taxis
Taxies are not required to fasten children with equipment. If the taxi does have the equipment, it must be put to use though. Only children above three years old need to use approved equipment. If you travel with children below the age of three, you’re advised to bring your own chair if the taxi-firm does not have one to use.
This also creates a problem when it comes to insurance. If something happens to a child in a collision, the insurance of the cab-firm does not cover damages, unless the child was fastened in a child safety chair.
If your child is above the age of three and has to travel short distances in cars that do not have safety equipment, the child is not required to sit in a safety chair or with a booster cushion – “short distances” are not defined by law though.
This is not a safe or optimal solution in any way. I recommend the child uses a safety chair and follows all the aforementioned advice; only in emergencies should your child be transported without the proper equipment.