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  • Hari Krishnan

Driving in Germany With Children: Rules, Guidelines, and Tips

Updated: Jan 2

Driving with children in Germany can be a safe and enjoyable experience if you follow some basic rules and tips. Germany has strict laws and regulations regarding child car seats, seat belts, and alcohol consumption for drivers and passengers including children.


rules for driving with children in Germany


The legal requirements for child seats and seat belts

The most important thing to consider when driving with children in Germany is their safety. According to the German Road Traffic Act, children under 12 years old or shorter than 150 cm must use a suitable child restraint system. This means that they must sit in a child car seat or a booster seat that is appropriate for their age, weight, and height. The child restraint system must be approved by the European Union and have a label with the letter E and a number.


There are different types of child car seats and booster seats, depending on the size and age of the child. The German Automobile Club (ADAC) recommends the following categories:

  • Group 0/0+: These are rear-facing infant carriers for babies up to 13 kg or 15 months old. They should be installed in the back seat of the car, preferably in the middle. If they are installed in the front seat, the airbag must be deactivated.

  • Group I: These are forward-facing child seats for children between 9 and 18 kg or 9 months and 4 years old. They have a harness or a shield to secure the child. They should be installed in the back seat of the car, preferably in the middle. If they are installed in the front seat, the airbag must be deactivated.

  • Group II/III: These are booster seats or cushions for children between 15 and 36 kg or 3 and 12 years old. They raise the child’s position so that the seat belt fits correctly over their shoulder and chest. They should be installed in the back seat of the car, preferably in the middle. If they are installed in the front seat, the airbag must be activated.


The child car seat or booster seat must be properly installed and secured with the car’s seat belt or the ISOFIX system, which is a standard attachment point for child restraint systems in most cars. The child must be fastened with the harness or the shield of the child seat, or with the seat belt of the car if using a booster seat or cushion. The child restraint system must not be damaged or expired, and it must be replaced after an accident.


Below are some of my suggestions if you're considering buying child seats. These are the seats I purchased for my son when he was born.


0 - 15 Months

15 Months - 4 Years

What to do if you don’t have a child seat

If you don’t have a child seat or a booster seat for your child, you should not drive with children in the car. In addition, you are no allowed to take a child under 3 years old in any moving vehicle without proper child restraint system (German Road Traffic Regulations (StVO) under section 21, paragraph 3).


Driving without a suitable child restraint system is not only dangerous, but also illegal in Germany. You can face a fine of 60 euros and one point on your driving record. If you are involved in an accident, you can also be held liable for the injuries or damages caused to your child or others.


Therefore, it is advisable to always have a child seat or a booster seat for your child when driving in Germany. You can buy one from a specialised store or online, or you can rent one from a car rental company or a child seat service. Some car rental companies offer child seats for free or for a small fee, but you should check the availability and the condition of the child seat before renting it. Some child seat services offer child seats for rent or for loan, but you should make a reservation in advance and follow their terms and conditions.



Driving with children under the influence of alcohol

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence in Germany, especially when driving with children. The legal blood alcohol limit for drivers in Germany is 0.05%, which means that you are not allowed to drive if you have more than 0.05 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliter of blood or 0.25 milligrams of alcohol per liter of breath. However, if you are a novice driver (under 21 years old or less than two years of driving experience) or a professional driver (such as a taxi driver or a bus driver), the legal blood alcohol limit is 0%, which means that you are not allowed to drink any alcohol before driving.


If you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol, you can face severe penalties, such as a fine, a driving ban, a loss of points, or even a prison sentence, depending on the level of alcohol and the severity of the offence. If you are driving with children under the influence of alcohol, you can also be charged with endangering the welfare of a child, which is a criminal offence in Germany. You can face a fine or a prison sentence of up to 10 years, depending on the circumstances and the consequences of your actions.


Therefore, it is advisable to avoid drinking alcohol if you are driving with children in Germany. You should also avoid driving if you have taken any drugs or medications that can impair your driving ability. If you have consumed alcohol, you should wait until the alcohol has completely left your system before driving. You can use a breathalyser or an online calculator to estimate your blood alcohol level and the time needed to sober up. You can also use public transportation, a taxi, or a designated driver to get to your destination safely.



Other important things to consider while driving in Germany with children

Besides the child car seat laws and the alcohol rules, there are some other important things to consider while driving in Germany with children. Here are some tips to make your driving experience more comfortable and enjoyable for you and your children:


  • Plan your route and your breaks. You should plan your route in advance and check the traffic conditions and the weather forecast. You should also plan your breaks and stop every two hours or 200 kilometers to rest, stretch, and refresh yourself and your children. You can use the rest areas (Raststätten) or the service areas (Autohöfe) along the highways, which offer facilities such as toilets, restaurants, playgrounds, and gas stations.

  • Pack your essentials and your entertainment. You should pack your essentials, such as your documents, your money, your phone, your charger, your first-aid kit, and your emergency kit. You should also pack your entertainment, such as your music, your books, your games, and your snacks. You can also bring some toys, pillows, and blankets for your children to make them more comfortable and entertained.

  • Follow the road rules and the speed limits. You should follow the road rules and the speed limits in Germany, which may differ from your home country. You should drive on the right side of the road and overtake on the left side. You should use your indicators and your headlights when necessary. You should also respect the speed limits, which are 50 km/h in urban areas, 100 km/h in rural areas, and variable in highways. Some highways have no speed limit, but the recommended speed is 130 km/h. You should adjust your speed according to the traffic, the weather, and the road conditions.

  • Be prepared for emergencies and accidents. You should be prepared for emergencies and accidents while driving in Germany with children. You should have a valid insurance and a European accident report form in your car. You should also have a warning triangle, a reflective vest, and a fire extinguisher in your car. If you have an emergency or an accident, you should call the emergency number 112 or the police number 110. You should also place the warning triangle 100 meters behind your car and wear the reflective vest. You should also exchange your information and fill out the accident report form with the other party.


Conclusion

Driving with children in Germany can be a safe and enjoyable experience if you follow some basic rules and tips. You should use a suitable child restraint system for your child, avoid drinking alcohol before driving, plan your route and your breaks, pack your essentials and your entertainment, follow the road rules and the speed limits, and be prepared for emergencies and accidents. By doing so, you can ensure the car safety for kids in Germany and have a pleasant journey.


Frequently asked questions

Are there specific rules in Germany regarding child car seats and restraints?

Yes, in Germany, children under 12 years old or under 150 cm in height must use a suitable child safety seat or booster seat appropriate for their age, weight, and height.

What type of child car seat should I use for my child in Germany?

Can children sit in the front seat of a car in Germany?

Are there penalties for not using proper child restraints in Germany?

Can I rent a car seat or booster seat when renting a car in Germany for my child?

Are there specific road safety tips for driving in Germany with children?

What documents should I carry while driving in Germany with my child?

Are there any particular traffic laws or road signs in Germany I should explain to my child while traveling?

Can I use a child car seat from another country when driving in Germany?

Where can I find more information about driving regulations and child safety in Germany?



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