STRASBOURG, France -- Children under three will be banned from traveling in the back of cars in the European Union without proper safety seats, following a vote in the EU parliament on Tuesday making baby seats compulsory.
Pending a rubber stamp from EU governments which have already backed the bill in principle, motorists will have three years to ensure their cars have proper child restraints.
"There will be no more toddlers sitting on granny's knee or rolling around with the groceries in the back of the car," said British Labor parliamentarian Mark Watts.
"At just 30 miles per hour (48 kph), an unrestrained child takes on the weight of a 3.5-ton baby elephant," Watts said.
Babies not strapped into special restraints have little chance surviving car crashes as they are propelled forward into the windscreen or the the back of the front seats.
Children older than three will be allowed to use adult seatbelts, but only if they also are using a cushion that makes them the right height for the safety straps to work.
The law will also require children traveling in coaches and mini-buses to use seat-belts which bus companies already have to install, but thus far have not been compulsory to use.