Baby car seats in a baby shop
Italy with kids

Using car seats in Italy: all you need to know for safe driving with kids in Italy

All you need to know about using children’s car seats in Italy: Italian car seat usage rules, car seats in taxis, and how to pick the best car seat for Italy.

One of the parents’ biggest decisions, when planning a trip to Italy with kids, is what to do about car seats.

Car seats are essential to keep your child safe on the road and we all want to make sure we have the same safety on the road abroad that we have while back home.

However, car seats are bulky to travel with, they can get damaged during transport and, also, they follow different regulations in different countries.

Therefore, it is not always easy to simply advise to ‘bring your own’.

On top of this, there is the issue of use.

You may only need a car seat for the occasional short hop in a taxi, for your trip between the airport and the city center; or you may need it during your whole vacation if you are planning on driving in Italy.

Clearly, there is not on one-size-fits-all, when it comes o tops for using car seats in Italy.

The use of a child seat in Italy is essential to keep your child safe on the road, and it is also a legal requirement.

So, in this article, we look at all you need to know about the use of car seats n Italy, what to consider if planning on bringing your own and how to get hold of the correct one when renting a car in Italy. 

Please note: This article has tips for car seat use in Italy; while we try our best to keep the information accurate and up to date, only rely on legal, official sources to make decisions about your child’s safety. You can find official legislation and regulations here.

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Car seats in Italy: when do I need them? 

Italian Car seat Rules are regulated by Article 172 of Codice della Strada, the Italian Rules of the Road.

According to this article, all children less than 150 cm tall and/ or weighing less than 36Kg must use an approved car seat suitable for their weight and height. 

It is important to note that the rule makes no reference to the age of the child.

European regulations usually mentioned car seats are necessary for children up to 12 years of age. Italy, however, only mentions age in respect to the parameters mentioned above.

Age alone is not enough to allow stooping using car seats.

My children with their Bubble Bum, our favorite portable car seat for travel (older kids only)

This rule applies to all private vehicles and means you need a car seat for your child when renting a car in Italy for a road trip or whenever you get a lift from friends, grandparents, Airbnb Host etc.

The person responsible for the enforcement of the rule inside the car is the adult legally in charge of the child or, should they not be present, the driver.

Breaking child seat rules results in fines from € 83 a € 332 and, in the case of repeat offenders, suspension of the driving license for 15 days and up to 2 months. 

When do I not need a car seat in Italy?

The rules about car seats for children require the use of private cars and foresee exceptions in the case of taxis and cars rented with drivers (In Italian: Noleggio Con Conducente or NCC

Taxis and private transfer services do not require using a car seat. 

This means that if you are arriving in a new city without a car seat and need to catch a taxi, you can legally just hop in and travel with your child either on your lap or secured with the standard car seatbelts.

Unfortunately, this also means there is no option to request a taxi with a car seat and they do not have one in the car.

Since getting a child in a car without a car seat is extremely dangerous, in this article, we share tips and advice on how to source a car seat in Italy so you don’t have to run unnecessary risks

taxi in Italy

How to get hold of a car seat in Italy

Using a car seat, whether the law requires it or not, is the best way to keep your child safe on the road. 

If traveling to Italy, you can make sure you have one by:

Bring your own

Bringing your own car seat is the least favorite way for parents to slove the car seat in Italy conundrum.

Carrying a bulky car seat on a plane is a pain, and it also comes with a risk of damage to the seat or even of the airline losing git, should the seat not be in use during the flight and sent in the plane hold.

baby car seat

However, carrying your own car seats is a good way to ensure the seat is well kept and the right size for your child.

In the case of babies younger than 2, it is also a great way to keep them safe on the plane, should the seat match both airline and Italy’s standards.

Find here >> a short guide about using car seats on a plane

We recommend you bring your own in case you have a small child who can also use it on the plane or, on the other hand, if you have older kids that can use booster and portable seats. 

Rent a seat with your car

Most car rental companies offer the option of booking which car seat with your car.

The option is usually available for a (high) daily cost, and a choice is given of the type of seat chosen.

Despite this promising start, it is not unusual for car rental companies to say at the last minute that they only have booster seats.

While this is a risk, you cannot always preempt; being very clear about the seat you need, getting confirmation in writing, and ideally, a photo would go a long way to minimize the chances of issues.

car rental sign in airport

Car rentals companies we have successfully used for renting car seats are:

  • Avis – many locations all over Italy, a decent selection of car seats for different ages; daily rates for car seat rental added to your car cost.
  • Hertz – many locations all over Italy, a large selection of car seats; daily rates for car seat rental added to your car cost.

Buy an occasional seat to then donate

If you are planning a multi-day road trip in Italy, or you know you will need the car regularly, buying a car seat locally and donating it at the end of your trip can be a cost-effective way to have a clean, new and suitable car seat during your vacation.

The cost of a new car seat is probably comparable to that of a rented one over the course of a few days, and at least you can be sure the seat is exactly how it should be and suitable for your child.

The best places to buy car seats in Itay are:

  • – you can make arrangements with your hotel/host for the seat to be delivered to them a couple of days before your arrival
  • Chicco – large chain of baby stores for online and in-person shopping; several locations in Italy
  • Prenatal -large chain of baby stores selling different brands of baby equipment, several locations in Italy
  • Local baby stores – the most expensive and least practical option, unless you have a personal recommendation for a good local one from your host.

Good to know! In our Facebook Group ‘Travel Italy with kids’ we often talk about car seats. we have a mix of local parents and visitors with great first-hand experience of many places in Italy. If you’re not part of the group already join us here (it’s free)!

Rely on private transport companies offering car seats

Good transfer companies offer the option of renting car seats.

While cars with drivers are exempt from needing to provide one, companies know having car seats is essential and usually offer the as an add-on to their daily cost.

Using a private transport company with a car seat option can be an excellent way to keep your child safe on occasional journeys such as the trip from the airport to your accommodation or the occasional day trip by car. 

For transfers from the airport/station to your accommodation, a company we use and offers car seats for kids is Welcome Pickups.

Make sure you reserve the correct seat at the time of booking: it will not be automatically added to your booking on the basis of the kids’ age.

child car seat italy

Rent a seat from a baby rental company

Until a couple of years ago, several companies offered the option of renting a car seat for a few days.

Unfortunately, since the pandemic, these companies do not seem to operate any longer, possibly out of concerns about the hygiene of shared baby items. 

The only company I have found to offer rental of car seats in Italy is called Babonbo.

I haven’t tried it and therefore cannot comment on their service.

However, they seem to offer good options; so; I thought I’d share it anyway so you can chat to them directly to see what you think.

Their Facebook page is here:

The best car seats for Italy travel: how to choose them

If you are thinking of bringing or sourcing your own car seat for Italy, then you need to know what the legal and safe car seat requirements are. 

When considering a car seat for your Italy trip, you need the car seat to be:

  • Suitable for the age/height/weight of your child
  • Matching EU standards of safety
  • Equipped with an anti-abandonment kit 
  • Well kept

Type of car seats in Italy by size

The Italian rules about car seats state that children’s car seats must be suitable to the height/weight/ of the child.

Because of this, car seats belong to different groups. 

Like back home, the type of car seat you need on your Italian vacation depends on your child’s age and weight/ height.

Name of Seat/ GroupType Limits
Group 0 (aka Navicella)Rear-facingUp to 10Kh
Group 0+ (aka Ovetto)Rear-facingUp to 13Kg
Group 1Rear or Front-facing9 to 18 Kg
Group 2Front-facing15-25 Kg
Group 3Front-facing22-36 Kg

As well as seats categorized by weight of the child, there are also some that take into account the child’s height. These seats are called i-Size and come in three different dimensions:

  • i-Size 40-105 cm
  • i-Size 100-150 cm
  • i-Size 40-150 cm

How to pick EU-approved car seats

All car seats must meet the safety standards set by EU regulation ECE R44-02 or ECE R44-03.

You will find this info on the sticker on the side of your car seat.

The EU approved sticker on my daughter’s car seat

The sticker has several pieces of information. Those to pay attention to are:

  • ECE R44-03 or ECE R44-04 – this is the EU regulation certifying the suitability of the seat. Take note of the last two digits: these should end in 04 (latest version) or 03.

R44-01 or 02 would indicate older seats, not anymore suitable for use or sale.

  • Weigh in Kg – this refers to the maximum child weight the seat is safe for.

If you also see the letter Y, it means that the child seat features a 5-point harness system with a crotch strap (Our doesn’t have it and secures with the car seat belts).

  • Universal, semi-universal, or vehicle specific – ‘Universal’ means your seat is approved for installation in all cars, semi-universal means you need to check as only suitable on some types of vehicles and vehicle-specific means it is only usable on certain models.

Most good seats are universal and use ISOFIX to secure the seat to the car: make sure you ask about this when renting your car, should your seat rely on IsoFix for safety.

In the examples above, this seat is EU Approved under regulation ECE R44-04, it is suitable for children 18-36 Kg and is suited to all types of cars. Specifically, we use this with IsoFix.

Other numbers you find on the sticker are about regulating body, country of construction and car seat production individual seat which, for the purpose of a trip, you can ignore.

Need to know! US car seats and EU car seats abide by different rules.

Therefore, it is of paramount importance that you check the suitability of your seat for a European trip before you leave home.

One of the main differences is in the closing mechanism.

European car seats require a one-click release system that must be easy enough for an adult to operate but hard enough for a child not to be able to click it open.

Seats with an additional chest strap are not approved by EU standards at, ar present, child safety vests are not approved for EU use either.

The only way to know for sure your car seat meets EU safety standards is by checking the sticker that comes with it.

Anti abandonment kit

Sine 2020, all car seats for children under four years of age must be equipped with anti-abandonment technology.

The anti abandonment kit is a small device operating as an alarm to avoid children being left in the car alone, intentionally, for instance when going to the shop, or by mistake.

If you are traveling by an older car seat, you can buy the device separately in baby stores.

Well kept

A well-kept seat is not only more hygienic for your child but also safer as it has all the padding in the right places and safe closures.

Unfortunately, aside from observing the car seat, there is no way for you to know if a rented one has been in an accident.

This is one more reason why, especially for young kids who need a seat and not just a small booster, it is advisable to source your own.

What happens if I use the wrong type of car seat in Italy?

Using the wrong car seat, by size or by regulations, can put your child in danger and make you incur into fines or problems with the law.

In legal terms, the main risks are:

  • An administrative fine of up to 332 Euro
  • Lack of insurance coverage: in the event of an accident, the use of the wrong type of car seat will make your insurance claim void

Car seat brands in Italy

The most common and the best brands for car seats in Italy are:

  • Chicco
  • Maxi Cosi
  • Cybex
  • Peg Perego
  • Bebe Comfort
  • Britax
  • Foppa Pederetti
  • Kinder Kraft
  • Recaro

Where to buy car seats in Italy

The best places to buy car seats in Italy are:

The best places to buy car seats in Itay are:

  • – you can make arrangements with your hotel/host for the seat to be delivered to them a couple of days before your arrival
  • Chicco – large chain of baby stores for online and in-person shopping; several locations in Italy
  • Prenatal -large chain of baby stores selling different brands of baby equipment, several locations in Italy
  • Local baby stores – the most expensive and least practical option, unless you have a personal recommendation for a good local one from your host.

How to say car seat in Italian

If you need to buy or rent a car seat in Italy, knowing what they are called in Italian can be useful.

In Italian:

Seggiolino auto = car seat

Navicella = baby car seat, Group 0 seat, with the baby usually lying down, usually only suitable up to 6 months at most

Ovetto = baby car seat, Group 0 | 0+ | 1 Standard car seat for small children, usually part of a travel system

Alzatina = child car seat without high back, suitable for older kids.

Our favorite car seats for Italy travel

During our travels, we have used different types of car seats, depending on the age of our kids.

Maxi Cosi Infant Car Seat – this was our first car seat and we found it excellent both in Italy and abroad

Britax – this is the brand we used for my son’s Group 1 and 2 seats and high back booster seat

Maxi Cosi Booster Seat – this is the high-back seat brand we used for our daughter high back booster seat

Bubble Bum Inflatable Booster Seat– this is our favorite travel car seat now that the kids are older

Using ride safe vests for kids in Italy

Please note: at present, RideSafe vests are not approved for use in the EU and therefore in Italy. Legislation on this tops topic has not yet been established.

I hope you found this introduction to using car seats in Italy useful and that it helped you plan your family trip to Italy. Safe travels!

See Also:

Tips for traveling to Italy with a baby or toddler

101 travel tips for your first trip to Italy

Travelers’ Italian: useful Italian words and expressions for visitors

Using baby car seats in Italy tips and info – pin this!

Photo of children car seats with text: Using car seats in Italy: all you need to know

Some of the photos on this page are stock photos purchased, with license, from Depositphotos

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Marta Correale is an Italian mama of two. Born and raised in Rome, Marta has a passion for travel and especially enjoys showing off Italy to her kids, who are growing up to love it as much as she does! A classics graduate, teacher of Italian as a second language and family travel blogger, Marta launched Mama Loves Italy as a way to inspire, support and help curious visitors to make the most of a trip to Italy and learn about Italian culture on the way.