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Do Cars Have to Have Child Locks?

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 4 May 2011 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Safety Locks Child Locks Push-pull

Q.Is there a law about child locks in cars? Do cars have to have them? Do taxis have to have them?

(Mrs adele mcmahon, 12 September 2008)

A.

When choosing a family car, it pays to have child safety locks on the rear doors. There are currently no laws on having child safety locks in your car (which applies to taxis too), but they are advisable if you have children who are likely to try to open doors (or windows) during a journey.

Child safety locks are designed to stop curious children being able to open the doors while the car is in motion. In an unlocked car with the child safety lock engaged, you have to be outside of the car to open the door. This means you are in control of getting your children in and out of the car, without them being able to do so themselves.

Child safety locks are a feature of most modern family cars. Some cars have the traditional push-pull switch (which must be pushed down to activate the child safety lock, and pulled up to cancel it), but there are other variations. Some cars and taxis have automatic locking when the car starts or goes above a certain speed, and will not unlock until the engine is switched off or when a button is pressed. Some cars also have built-in window locking (otherwise known as an isolation switch) too, so that children can't open windows.

In some cases, you may not be able to open the rear doors when the child safety lock is engaged. If your car is controlled by a key fob, you can try again after pressing the unlock button on the key fob twice. If your car is controlled by keys, you can try again after pressing the unlock button on the driver's door. If your car doesn't have this, you can try pulling up the switch in the door in question (the switch must be pushed down to fully engage the child safety lock) before trying again.

Some parents are wary of using child safety locks, as they are afraid that they will prevent children from being able to leave the car quickly if an accident occurs. Because of this, you may be reluctant to buy a car with automatic locking, as it can be difficult or impossible to know how it will be able to unlock itself in an emergency.

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