Before you begin your ride in Germany, there are certain rules you need to know before driving or taking a taxi with the children.
When expats or tourists arrive in Germany, they may not be well informed about the rules. Especially when it comes to children or babies.
What to consider when driving with children in Germany
The German law specifies children up to 12 years of age and are less than 1.5 meters in height must only ride in an approved car seat or booster seat whether in a personal car or in a taxi.
The child may ride in the back seat with a seat belt on if all other restraints are being used by other children.
Children under three years of age must not be in a moving vehicle without an appropriate car seat.
German law also states that rearward facing infant seats are not allowed in the front seat of a vehicle which has an airbag.
What to do if I don’t have a child seat?
Both personal vehicles as well as taxis are subject to the child seat regulations.
Generally, Germany's taxis have child seats that are suitable for your child; however, airport taxis might not have infant car seats. Therefore, you may either bring your own car seat or rent one if you are here for a vacation.
There are a number of websites that offer the rental of children's products, such as toddgo or mami-poppins. With toddgo, you can place orders online and receive the items on arrival in the airport. When you leave Germany, you can leave the items at the airport with a toddgo personal free of charge.
Other important things to consider while driving in Germany
Child car seats: German law requires children under 12 years of age or under 150 cm in height to use a child car seat or booster seat appropriate for their age and weight. Make sure to choose a suitable car seat and install it properly according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Seat belts: All passengers, including children, must wear a seat belt at all times while the vehicle is in motion.
Speed limits: Germany has specific speed limits in place for different types of roads, so make sure to obey them. In urban areas, the speed limit is usually 50 km/h, on rural roads it's usually 100 km/h, and on the autobahn it's often unrestricted.
Rest breaks: It's important to take regular rest breaks when driving long distances with children. In Germany, drivers are required to take a break of at least 45 minutes after four and a half hours of driving.
Child-friendly stops: Plan your route to include child-friendly stops along the way. Many rest areas in Germany have playgrounds and other facilities for children.
Entertainment: To keep children occupied during long drives, bring books, toys, and electronic devices such as tablets or portable DVD players.
Snacks and drinks: Bring plenty of snacks and drinks to keep children hydrated and fed during the trip.
Weather conditions: Be aware of the weather conditions and adjust your driving accordingly. In winter, for example, snow and ice can make driving more challenging, so make sure to have appropriate tires and drive more cautiously.
Emergency kit: Bring an emergency kit that includes a first-aid kit, a warning triangle, and a reflective vest in case of an emergency.
Rules of the road: Make sure to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road in Germany, including traffic signs, signals, and right-of-way laws.
Some Frequently Asked Questions about Driving in Germany
Are child seats mandatory when driving with children in Germany?
Yes, child seats are mandatory for children up to 12 years of age or under 150 cm in height. The type of seat required depends on the child's age, weight, and height.
What are the different types of child seats required in Germany?
Germany follows the European child seat regulations. The main types of child seats include rear-facing seats for infants, forward-facing seats for toddlers, and booster seats for older children. The appropriate seat will depend on the child's age and size.
What is the legal age for children to sit in the front seat of a car in Germany?
Children under 12 years of age and less than 150 cm tall are generally not allowed to sit in the front seat. However, there are exceptions if the back seat is not available or if the car does not have rear seat belts.
Can I use an international child seat in Germany if it meets safety standards?
Yes, you can use an international child seat in Germany if it complies with the European safety standards (ECE R44/04 or ECE R129) and is appropriate for the child's age and size.
What are the consequences of not using proper child seats in Germany?
Not using proper child seats can result in fines and penalty points on your driving license. Additionally, insurance claims may be affected if there's an accident and children are not properly restrained.
Are there any specific rules for transporting infants in Germany?
Infants must always be placed in rear-facing child seats until they reach a certain weight and age, as specified by the manufacturer of the seat. It's recommended to follow these guidelines for maximum safety.
Can I rent a car seat in Germany when traveling with children?
Yes, many car rental companies in Germany offer the option to rent child seats along with the rental car. It's advisable to book these seats in advance to ensure availability.
Are there any recommended safety tips for driving with children in Germany?
Absolutely. Always ensure that child seats are properly installed and that children are securely strapped in. Plan for regular breaks during long trips, and never leave children unattended in the car, especially during hot weather.