Most legislation in Europe regarding the carrying of child passengers in cars prohibits them from travelling in the front seats, whether restrained or not. The UK Parliament decided that from 31 January 1983 the compulsory restraint use legislation should permit children in the front seat of cars if restrained. This paper reviews both accident experience from overseas and impact tests with child dummies restrained by adult seat belts and child restraints. Both sets of information provided background to the parliamentary decision. The effect that the legislation has had on restraint usage by children is also described and a comparison is made between interim accident data available since the introduction of the legislation and those from previous years.