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The law on children and seatbelts

(UK Only, but still valid elsewhere)

 I would definitely advise against children in the back of a Roadster even if the factory did offer an optional rear bench cushion.

From http://www.childcarseats.org.uk/law/index.htm

  Front seat Rear seat Who is responsible?
Driver Seat belt MUST be worn if available.   Driver
Child up to 3 years Correct child restraint MUST be used. Correct child restraint MUST be used

If one is not available in a taxi, then the child may travel unrestrained in the rear
Driver
Child from 3rd birthday up to EITHER 1.35m in height, OR 12 years old Correct child restraint MUST be used Where seat belts fitted, correct child restraint MUST be used

MUST use adult belt if the correct child restraint is not available in three scenarios:

- in a in a licensed taxi or private hire vehicle ;
- for a short distance for reason of unexpected necessity;
- two occupied child restraints prevent fitment of a third.

In addition, a child 3 and over may travel unrestrained in the rear seat of a vehicle if seat belts are not available
Driver
Child over 1.35 metres, or 12 to 13 years Seat belt MUST be worn if available Seat belt MUST be worn if available Driver
Adult passengers (ie 14 years and over) Seat belt MUST be worn if available Seat belt MUST be worn if available Passenger

 

It would appear from the excerpt above that children should not need to be restrained as seatbelts in the rear were not a factory fit at the time of production.  However, as sensible parents, we'd want our nearest and dearest strapped down if only to stop them climbing into the boot, so for those of you with children, who, like me, tend to take them out of their mother's hair for a few hours in the BGT to earn extra MG credits, then the following is a guide to fitting rear seat belts.  Let's face it, it's only children that can fit in the rear, but they do love the ability to look out the side windows - something that they can't do in normal cars!

For my youngest, now in the terrible twos, I use his forward facing seat in the front seat.  This seems to me the safest bet, given the secure fixing the belt offers.  More to the point, his seat is too tall to go in the rear, and would not be as secure at the top, so would pivot forward in the event of a sudden head-on impact.  In the front seat, the belt tends to hold it more securely at the top of the car seat.  However, I gather that you can remove the cushion and buy a full car seat with a back low enough to go on the rear seat.  My suggestion, if you were to do this, is ensure a seatbelt mount high enough to hold the seat correctly.

For my daughter, I initially fitted a rear lap strap, but this is really a waste of time.  I have fitted a 3 point belt now but it shares the anchor with the front belt, so consequently doesn't really go over her shoulder properly.  It needs an anchor or bracket higher up the C-post.  The ideal would be a 4-pt harness, and Dave Wellings did make up a head-rest support for his daughters with this arrangement which makes the most sense as my daughter finds it uncomfortable with the rear seat back being so low.  At the minute, I think Iain Cameron took this on so when I get the chance I will take photographs of it.

The later BGTs from the early 70s, I think, have a plate in the front of the boot which has two threaded holes with welded nuts.  These are intended as seatbelt mounts.  They make an ideal location for the seatbelt catch stalks.  However, in the photograph below, although these two holes are partially visible at the bottom of the photo, you can see a more secure bracket made up by Stuart Longstaff (MGOC Member).

On the sides of the wheel arches there are more unused mounting points with threaded bases.  I would suggest that before you use these as an anchor you check the metal around this area as it is part of the inner arch that succumbs to the rust.  For a lap strap and three point belt these are useful mounts.  However, the mounts are slightly forward so again Stuart has made a beefier arrangement for his units.

For a very secure arrangement with a high mounted strap going over the child's shoulder properly, I would think a C-post mounted bracket or anchor would be better.  

The main thing, though is ensure your headrest is secured at the correct height because the child's head will undoubtedly fly forward and you need the headrest them and your own skull.

Hence, in the interests of the children's safety, I'd suggest the 4-point harness as mentioned above, using a set of old headrests as a higher seatback, with the lap-strap and over the shoulder straps mounted from secure bases such as Stuart has made above.

Thanks to Chris Goodchild for the photos below where he removed the rear seat squab to allow a taller child seat to be used.

 

Seatbelts in MGBs

MGBs and children

If, like me, you have been forced to keep the children but managed to hang onto your BGT, then the following section is for those wanting carry small children in the back of the BGT.