The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

Road Safety Scotland launches major new campaign in response to potentially fatal child seat fitting errors

Road Safety Scotland, in partnership with leading child seat specialist, Good Egg Safety, has launched a major new campaign over the summer to warn parents about potentially fatal common errors made in fitting child car seats.

Images of incorrectly- fitted child seats will be released via social media and backed up by nine short videos produced in partnership with the Arnold Clark Group, to graphically demonstrate why the child seats, or the children seated within them, are unsafe.

Good Egg has already issued an urgent safety alert on social media for parents in relation to incorrect routing of seatbelts through child seats, which is being found in 1 in 10 of their child seat checks across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Jan James, Good Egg Safety CEO said: 'these routing errors could mean the difference between life or death for a baby or child if they were involved in a collision, and yet, they are very simple to fix.We strongly urge parents, grandparents and all who carry children in a car, to take just two minutes to view our video. This shows why it's dangerous and how easy it is to correct it and make the seat safer."

This coincides with a new programme of 50 free checking events across Scotland where parents, grandparents and carers can go for further reassurance. Previous checks in Scotland have shown that, on average, 54% of child car seats are incorrectly-fitted or incompatible with the child or the vehicle.

All the new videos are set to go online as the annual Good Egg in-car child safety campaign is launched; funded by Road Safety Scotland and supported by The Arnold Clark Group, Britax Romer and Police Scotland.

Michael McDonnell, Director of Road Safety Scotland, said: "Many parents would be horrified to learn their child car seats are not fitted properly and, therefore, not providing the protection their children need.This campaign seeks to highlight that, not only by raising awareness of the issue and providing advice and guidance, but it also has a very practical element in that people can check the website, find the nearest car seat clinic and get the child-seat-car combination checked by an expert. It only takes a few minutes yet could save a child's life."

Superintendent Louise Blakelock of Police Scotland said, "It is absolutely essential that child safety seats are properly fitted, as the consequences of them not being so can be fatal for a young child, even in a relatively slow speed collision.We continue to work with partners to highlight the dangers and encourage parents and carers to ensure their precious passengers are properly and safely secured."

George Baggley of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service stated: "The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service would urge anyone transporting children to go along to a Good Egg car seat checking event. Once there, you can have expert advice and the reassurance that your child is safely and securely seated in the car."

Eddie Hawthorne, Chief Executive & Group Managing Director of Arnold Clark, said: "It's vital that parents and carers know how to keep their little one's safe when travelling by car and we are very proud to support Good Egg and help raise awareness of potentially dangerous issues" 

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Child Car Seat Standards Change

There have been many reports regarding the new stricter rules about booster cushions and this has caused much confusion.

This new amendment to the current regulation 44 is now in effect. This means that parents who currently have booster cushions can legally continue to use them as they have been.

Any new backless booster seats (booster cushion) coming to market from the 9th February 2017 will only be suitable for children above 22kg AND 125cm. Stock that was introduced before this date, will still be eligible for sale.

However, we always recommend that children travel in the high back booster if they are the correct weight and height for it, and fit comfortably within the headrest. A high back booster provides additional head, neck, torso protection and side impact protection that a booster cushion does not.



There are currently two child car seat regulations running alongside each other – R44.04, which are the weight based car seats, and R129, which is a new regulation.

R129 is making seats easier to choose, fit and use. However, R44.04 weight based approved seats will still be sold, legal and safe for some years to come. One of the key features of R44 is that child seats are chosen based on weight:

Group 0+ (infant seats) – 0 to 13kg
Group 1 (toddler seats) – 9kg to 18kg
Group 2,3 (Booster seats) – 15kg to 36kg

Part of the problem with R44, is that children tend to be moved up a stage as soon as they reach the minimum weight limit for the next stage, when it is actually safer for them to stay in each stage seat until they reach the maximum weight limit for their current stage. A step up in group stage is a step down in safety.


R44.04 currently allows boosters, even booster cushions, to be approved from 15kg – this can legally be a child as young as 2 years or less! While the weight limit is the main factor, there are also height considerations to take into account. A child can be 15kg in weight, yet still be far too small to use a booster.

Children's bones are very different from adults, and their hips and pelvis are very small and set far back. The hips and pelvis are what helps to keep a seat belt in place, and absorb energy. These bones are not really strong enough for a seat belt until a child is around 4 years of age. There are 25kg harness limit seats for children who reach the 18kg harness weight limit at a young age.

Children under 125cm in height and 22kg weight will not be allowed to use a newly type approved (R44.04 supplement 11) booster cushion, but can still use booster cushions that were approved prior to the implementation date.  Otherwise, they will have to use a high back booster.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly at enquiries@goodeggsafety.com

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When should I turn my baby forward facing?

When should I turn my baby forward facing?

 

It can be very confusing to know when you should move your baby forward facing, but this blog will help you know what the safest course of action is!

Child car seat groups can seem complicated at first as they go by weight and height, yet there is a crossover between each stage on the weight limit, and then there are age recommendations to top it off!  What do you do with a baby who is the 9 months forward facing age but only 18 lbs?  Do you have to turn forward?  Is the rear facing seat not safe to use after 9 months then?

The best thing to do when researching car seats is to ignore age recommendations and choose a seat solely on your child’s weight and height.  This helps to remove some of the ‘smoke’ and it makes the seat stages a little easier to understand.  The seat stages have a crossover on the weight categories, and this is due to the chance that a child can outgrow a seat by height before they hit the maximum weight and so they will have to move up a stage.

This chart shows the categories:

Group Stages 2014-01


*For maximum safety time you should keep your child in their rear facing car seat until it is fully outgrown

**Some seats may specify a different height limit - check instructions and follow carefully

If they are in a group 0+ infant seat this is at either 13kg, or when the top of their head is level with the top of the seat.  Their feet are not in danger of being hurt if they are touching the vehicle seat back, and they will not be uncomfortable if they are ‘filling’ the seat.  Child car seats are not unlike a crash helmet - a tight fit will provide better protection than having lots of room!



0+ Car Seat



The 9 month age given on a group 1 forward facing car seats is an approximate recommendation.  The 9kg minimum weight limit is just that, a minimum.  The best advice states to keep your child in each seat to the maximum limit, and then move them up.

Babies can legally move to a front facing seat at the 9kg minimum weight, but they must fit in the harness and also be able to sit unaided for a minimum of 30 minutes - no less.  Moving your child forward facing at 9kg is not just as safe as having them rear facing.

If your child has outgrown their baby seat by height or you want to move them up to the next stage before they have outgrown their seat, you do have the option of a combination 0+1 car seat.  This will let you have them in a full size group 1 car seat, but it is rear facing.  These seats can either rear face to 13kg or 18kg, and offer your baby the best safety of rear facing before you make the switch to front facing.


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If your baby is 9kg and outgrowing their baby seat by height you can also use a rear facing group 1 or 1,2 seat as well as the option of a 0+1 seat.



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Recap


Group 0+1: newborn - 18kg (newborn - approx 4 yrs)

Group 1: 9 - 18kg (mainly front facing, but rear facing seats available) (up to approx 4 years)

Group 1,2: 9-25kg (mainly rear facing) (Up to approx 6 years)

 

So… when can my baby move forward facing?  


Legally you can currently turn your baby forward facing once they weigh 20lb/9kg and they must also be sitting completely unaided for a minimum of 30 minutes.  If you are using an i-Size car seat, you must legally rear face until a minimum of 15 months.  Eventually, all children will be rear facing to at least 15 months by law.

However, ideally you would not move forward facing until they are at least 18kg/4 years old.  A rear facing group 1 (or group 1,2 seat) will provide much better protection for your child from the most dangerous and most common type of impact - a frontal impact.  The younger a child moves forward facing, the less protection they have in a crash - it could be the difference between life and death.  This doesn’t mean that you should ignore maximum outgrown limits on your seats however!  If your baby has outgrown the rear facing limit of their seat, they will need to move up to the next stage, be that rear or forward facing.

 

Are forward facing seats dangerous?


No, forward facing seats are not dangerous, but rear facing seats are much safer.  Since child seats were introduced, car seats have gone a long way in helping to reduce death and injury in children.  Forward facing car seats are designed to  restrain a child in a collision, which when they are correctly fitted and used - they do very well.  New technology and data does however show that children are much better protected by facing backwards when in the car.

 

 

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What to consider when choosing the next stage car seat?

What to consider when choosing the next stage car seat?

Life as a new parent comes with lots of challenges, including choosing car seats! Before you know it, your little one is starting to look a little big for his/her first stage seat. So, is it time to move up to a bigger seat? Should you choose a forward or rear-facing seat? What do you need to consider?


When is the infant carrier outgrown? 


Firstly, check the approval sticker on your car seat (often found underneath.)This will tell you the regulation your seat is approved to and its weight and/or height limit.



Most infant carriers are approved to R44/04 and classed as a group 0+. These seats have a weight limit of 13kg/29lbs. They are also outgrown when the top of your baby's head is level with the top of the seat.

If you have an infant carrier approved to R129 (i-Size) then it will have a height limit, e.g. 75cm, and possibly a weight limit too. These limits are clearly marked on the seat.

The infant carrier is outgrown once your child reaches the height or weight limit, whichever comes first. Don't worry about long legs over the edge, they are perfectly safe; or that your baby looks "squashed" – think of the car seat as a crash helmet, a tight fit is good.



Should I choose a forward or rear-facing seat?


It is safest to rear-face your child for as long as possible. This is due to their anatomy and the physics of an accident.Young children have relatively larger heads with less developed neck bones and muscles.In a frontal impact the head is thrown forwards, putting stress on the neck and spinal cord. The less developed the spine is, the greater the risk of serious injury. When rear-facing, the child's head, neck and spine are kept in alignment and the force is spread out over a greater area.


Does this mean forward facing seats are dangerous?


Simple answer is no. Since car seat regulations were introduced in the 1980's the number of fatally and seriously injured children has reduced. Forward facing seats do offer adequate protection as long as they are fitted and used correctly. However, rear-facing provides even better protection for your little one. If you do decide to buy a forward facing seat it is advised to keep your child in the infant carrier until it is completely outgrown.


What does the law say?


If you have a seat approved under R44/04 then it is legal to put your child into a forward facing car seat at 9kg.However, they should be able to sit unaided for at least 30 minutes and fit the seat they are going into.

If you have an i-Size seat, then legally your child must stay rear-facing until 15 months.Each i-Size seat also has a minimum height limit for forward facing.

Bear in mind that the law is a minimum standard: experts recommend rear-facing up to 4 years.


What else do I need to consider?


If your child doesn't like the infant carrier, or you would prefer to move them into a bigger seat, then you could look at Group 0+1 as these are rear-facing from birth initially, then turn forward facing at 9kg. Some can even rear-face up to 18kg. Or if your little one is 9kg and you would like a rear-facing seat then a Group 1,2 may suit you. Have a look at our car seat selector tool as it can help when choosing a seat:


Follow these points:


1. Check your child's height and weight

2. Keep your child in the infant carrier until it is completely outgrown

3. Choose a seat that is suitable for your child

4. Choose a seat that is suitable for vehicle/s that the seat will be fitted into

5. Visit a retailer to try a few seats in your car

6. Consider rear-facing for optimum safety

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Top 10 tips for travelling with children this summer

Top 10 tips for travelling with children this summer

As school breaks approach many families will be planning holidays away which require a car journey in order to reach their destination of choice. Here are our top 10 tips to make that journey as comfortable and hassle free as possible!


1. It is always important to remember the safety of older children when making a car journey. Children are legally required to use a suitable restraint up until they are 135cm in height, or 12 years old – whatever comes first.


2. Older children are safest travelling in a high-back booster seat which provides side impact protection, head, neck and torso support, as well as a safe place to rest their head to sleep, which can help prevent them falling out of the seat belt during the car journey.



3. Many car seats have additional safety features, such as protective seat belt pads, side impact protection technology and abdominal protection to provide both a safer and more comfortable fit for your older child.


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Carry handle or safety feature?

The handle on your baby’s car seat is more than just a convenience, it is also a very important safety device!


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While it makes it easy to lift your infant seat in and out of the car, it is really important to check the instructions on your child seat.  Not all carry handles are placed in the same position in the car.

carry handle edited

 

The instructions on the side of your seat will show the correct handle position.

The handle is often required to be upright, or forward towards the baby’s feet when driving.  This is because your child’s seat can rebound in a collision, and having the handle in the correct position prevents this from happening.


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Elena SC

 

What happens if the carry handle is at the back?

If you were to have a collision, with the carry handle back by the baby's head, the seat may not protect your child adequately.  The seat may flip up and make contact with the vehicle seat back, which would be avoided with the handle in the correct position.

This is exactly what happened to one Mum, when her husband was involved in a collision - thankfully he was OK and her little one wasn't in the car at the time.


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Child seat group stages

For child car seats to legally be sold in the UK, they must pass various tests and gain recognised approval. To be sold, they can be approved to R44.04, which is a regulation that has been running for some years, or they can be tested under the new R129 (i-Size) standard, which was established in summer 2013.

This blog looks at the different group stages for R44.04 child car seats, along with the weight and the height limits that you should take into consideration. There are three main group stages and also combination group stages to create multi stage, longer lasting seats.


Group 0+


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New booster seats ban explained

New booster seats ban explained

There have been many reports regarding the new stricter rules which may be coming out about booster cushions and this has caused much confusion.

This proposed change is a new amendment to the current regulation R44 and will only apply to new approved products. This means that parents who currently have booster cushions can legally continue to use them as they have been.

However, if the proposed amendment goes through, this would potentially mean that parents buying new backless booster seats (booster cushions) in 2017 would only be able to use them for children above 125cm in height and 22kg in weight.

It has not actually been confirmed that a new addition to the child car seat regulations will be coming into effect in December 2016.

Currently, it is in discussions and yet to be voted on. However, there is only one more stage of approval to go through and is unlikely to get rejected at that stage.



There are currently two child car seat regulations running alongside each other – R44.04, which are the weight based car seats, and R129, which is a new regulation.

R129 is making seats easier to choose, fit and use. However, R44.04 weight based approved seats will still be sold, legal and safe for some years to come. One of the key features of R44 is that child seats are chosen based on weight:

Group 0+ (infant seats) – 0 to 13kg
Group 1 (toddler seats) – 9kg to 18kg
Group 2,3 (Booster seats) – 15kg to 36kg

Part of the problem with R44, is that children tend to be moved up a stage as soon as they reach the minimum weight limit for the next stage, when it is actually safer for them to stay in each stage seat until they reach the maximum weight limit for their current stage. A step up in group stage is a step down in safety.

R44.04 currently allows boosters, even booster cushions, to be approved from 15kg – this can legally be a child as young as 2 years or less! While the weight limit is the main factor, there are also height considerations to take into account. A child can be 15kg in weight, yet still be far too small to use a booster.

Children's bones are very different from adults, and their hips and pelvis are very small and set far back. The hips and pelvis are what helps to keep a seat belt in place, and absorb energy. These bones are not really strong enough for a seat belt until a child is around 4 years of age. There are 25kg harness limit seats for children who reach the 18kg harness weight limit at a young age.


Children under 125cm in height and 22kg weight will not be allowed to use a newly type approved (R44.04 supplement 11) booster cushion, but can still use booster cushions that were approved prior to this change after December 2016, if the proposed amendment is approved. They will have to use a high back booster.

We always recommend that children travel in the high back booster if they are the correct weight and height for it, and fit comfortably within the headrest. A high back booster provides additional head, neck and torso protection.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly at enquiries@goodeggsafety.com



**​UPDATE** Legislation review has been postponed to 2017, Good Egg Safety is awaiting an official response from DFT.

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One third of 8 to 11 year olds not using the mandatory booster seat, says new report

One third of 8 to 11 year olds not using the mandatory booster seat, says new report

A shocking 34 per cent of 8 to 11-year olds in the UK are not using a booster seat on car journeys when one is required, according to a new report by Good Egg Safety.

Current UK law requires all children under 12 or less than 135cm in height to use a booster seat.

Using a booster seat provides older children with crucial protection. Parents have been advised to invest in a high-back booster seat for extra protection for older children, rather than a booster cushion.

Sarah-Jane Martin, spokesperson for Brake, the road safety charity said: "These figures are very worrying and show that we're not taking child car seat safety seriously enough. It's vital that all parents understand that it's not just toddlers who need protecting. We're supporting Good Egg Safety with this important awareness raising campaign and ask all parents to ensure that their child has the appropriate safety seat fitted."

Honor Byford, Chair of Road Safety GB, the charity that supports road safety professionals, said: "We know that every parent's strongest instinct is to protect their children. The legislation on booster seats changed to ensure that booster seats provide the level of protection that children's smaller bodies need in the event of a crash. This keeps them on a booster seat for longer than used to be the case. We urge parents to check out the legal requirements and keep their children on the right booster seat for as long as their child needs that extra protection – which is until they are tall enough for an adult seatbelt to fit their body.

Good Egg provides excellent, clear information and advice to help parents, grandparents and carers to provide the best protection for their children when they are travelling by car.

Your local road safety team will also be pleased to help and advise you on this or any road safety matter. You can find their contact details through the Road Safety GB website"

Kat Furlong Good Egg Safety Manager and Training Expert added: "A high-back booster is far more preferable to a booster cushion, to provide children with adequate head, neck and torso protection from side impacts, which booster cushions do not offer. We implore parents to buy these instead and ensure they are the right seat for their child and car"

The Good Egg Safety checks also showed that a high number of booster seats – both high-back models and cushions – were being used unsafely. In many instances, the seat belt was not routed properly around the child and seat, which would drastically reduce the seat's effectiveness in a collision.

Mark Bennett, Senior Technical and Training Manager Europe, Britax said

"It's imperative that older children do use the correct restraint system when travelling in a car until they no longer need so – when they're 135cm tall or 12 years old whichever comes sooner. High-back booster seats will not only guide and control the position of the adult seat belt correctly over the child's pelvis and shoulder but it will also give the much needed side and head protection in a road accident. As Britax we will continue campaigning on the safety benefits of high-back boosters and help save lives."

The National Police Chiefs' Council lead for roads policing Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said;

"The use of seatbelts and booster seats is an essential, effective method of reducing child fatalities and serious injuries in motor vehicle collisions. That's why their correct use is not a matter of choice, it is the law."

"I have no doubt that correctly used seat restraints for children have helped protect the most vulnerable from needless death and serious injury. So don't take any chances. "

For more information on booster seats, visit www.goodeggcarsafety.com/blog/goodmorningbritain

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What is a top tether?

​When you buy or use an ISOFIX child car seat, it will have the two ISOFIX bars on the back of the seat, and almost all ISOFIX seats will then have a third point of anchorage. This third point of anchorage is very important, as it prevents the ISOFIX child seat from moving too much in a collision. The third point of anchorage will either be a support leg, which is a very popular option, or a top tether. This article is focusing on the top tether – how to use it, what it does and the benefits.

What is a top tether?

The top tether is the third point of anchorage on an ISOFIX child car seat. It is a length of webbing which is attached to the back of the child seat, with a hook on the end. The top tether strap must have a green indicator on it to show when it has been pulled tightly enough.

How do you use a top tether?

​The top tether will pass over the top of the vehicle seat, and hook onto the top tether point. The top tether point will either be in the boot, on the back of the vehicle seat, or it may be in the roof of the car.

Top tether points are normally indicated with the anchor logo, or your car handbook will tell you where your point is.

What does it do?

As we have already mentioned, ISOFIX seats tend to have a third point of anchorage, which reduces dangerous movement of the seat in a collision. The top tether hooks behind the child seat onto the bracket in the car holding it in place, along with the ISOFIX arms.

In a collision, a child seat will move forward, and the seat can pivot on the ISOFIX arms. To prevent this from happening, and to also absorb energy from a collision, the top tether point is able to then reduce movement in the seat along with the ISOFIX, and absorb crash forces.

It is very important to ensure the top tether is used, if it is supplied.

What are the benefits?

Many ISOFIX seats have the support leg which reaches into the floor well, and this leg does the same job as the top tether point. However, the support leg is not compatible with every vehicle, and cannot be used in conjunction with floor storage compartments.

For ISOFIX seats with a top tether, there are not so many constraints. Providing the ISOFIX seat with top tether is classed as universal, and your cars' ISOFIX and top tether point are approved as universal, you are able to fit the seat in the car.

Top tether seats also tend to take up less room in the car, as there is no support leg in the cab – this can make it much easier for other passengers to get in and out, particularly older siblings who may sit in the middle.

ISOFIX seats with tethers may also be lighter, and therefore quicker and easier to move from car to car, as there is no heavy leg attached to the base.

Finally, ISOFIX + Top tether seats have all the same features and benefits that you would expect, such as easy adjust harnessing, some seats offer longer rear facing, and some even swivel!

Anything to consider?

As with any seat you buy, it is very important to ensure the seat fits every car it will be going into. Not all cars have top tether points, so be sure to check each car. Many ISOFIX + Top tether seats are ISOFIX only, very few have an option belt the seat in the car.

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