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.
The infant car seat is normally the first car seat you use for your baby. It is suitable from newborn and has extra padding to keep little one’s safe and comfortable. These seats fit your baby until 13kg in weight is reached, or until the top of their head is level with the top of the seat.
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.
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 Continue reading →
A group 123 car seat is a combination seat that is approved for children weighing 9kg, and it will last them right through, until they no longer need a child seat. They are often an economical solution, as they last a long time.
Group 123 car seats are generally forward facing, although there are some which now allow your child to be rear facing to 13kg or 18kg. Your little one is safest rear facing for as long as possible.
There are different options to consider when choosing a group 123:
When children are younger, they use a child car seat that contains a harness to restrain them. This seat is fitted into the car, where it normally stays strapped in, so even when your little one is not in the car, their seat remains restrained.
The next stage seat – boosters
When it comes to your child moving up to a booster seat, both the seat and the child are restrained with the adult seat belt.
This means that unless you buy an ISOFIX booster seat, you need to remember to strap the booster in when not in use.
An unrestrained booster will multiply its weight by the force of a collision, so if you have a crash when your child is not in the car, but their booster is sat on the back seat – you have a very heavy projectile waiting to hit someone!
Spot the Error!
Take the above child seat, the Britax Adventure. This seat is known for being lightweight and portable, so it is easy to move between vehicle’s.
This child seat weighs just 3.9kg. In a 30mph collision, the seats weight will be multiplied, and when the seat flies forward, it will hit whatever it impacts with a weight of 117kg – or 18.4 stone!
If you have a little one sat next to the seat that is flying around, or a passenger in the front, or even if the seat is behind you as a driver – 18 stone hitting the back of the seat, or a person is not good news!
So for the safety of all, remember to strap in your non ISOFIX booster seat!
ISOFIX boosters don’t need to be strapped in when your little one is not in the car, because the ISOFIX provides a rigid attachment to the vehicle. Just one of the great benefits of ISOFIX!
Both ISOFIX and non-ISOFIX booster seats offer great protection for a child, but remember to strap in the non-ISOFIX booster when your child isn’t out and about with you!
Good Egg Safety and Cosatto have teamed up to offer parents the opportunity to attend a child seat workshop, free of charge! The workshops are all about fitting seats safely, to help parents and carers keep their little one safe on the move.
What happens at the workshop?
The workshop is delivered by the Good Egg’s lead car seat expert, Kat, who has years of experience in helping parents fit seats safely!
The workshop will go through:
Staying on the right side of the law
Choosing the right stage seat
Is the seat compatible?
Fitting seats safely – Top Tips!
Using seats safely – things to look out for to keep the seat comfortable and safe for your growing little one!
During 2015, Good Egg Safety checked 3353 child car seats, and found just 29% of them correctly fitted and used.
Even a small, innocently made error can drastically reduce the protection a Continue reading →
An extended rear facing child car seat, is a seat which allows a child to travel rear facing for longer, usually up to 4 years of age. These seats have been used in Sweden since the 1960’s, and over the past few years, they have become increasingly popular in the UK due to their excellent safety offering.
There is now a lot of choice for extended rear facing car seats on the UK market, however, as with choosing any car seat, they can be quite confusing!
The danger you may be putting your child in when travelling in the car this winter.
The temperature is beginning to drop outside, and children are being bundled up in thick winter coats and snowsuits to keep them snug and warm in the cold weather. But did you know that you are supposed to remove your child’s coat before you strap them into their car seat, and not doing so may put them in danger?
This video demonstrates why winter coats and car seats don’t mix:
Leaving your child’s coat on in the car is a problem because it creates a gap between your child and their safety harness. In a collision, the harness isn’t as close to your child’s body as it needs to be to allow it to properly restrain them.
To keep your children safe in the car this winter, remove their coats and jackets and pull the harness tight enough that you can just get two fingers between your child and the straps.
How to keep your child warm:
Despite puffy and thick coats being dangerous, children will still feel a chill when they first get in the car!
There are several ways you can safely keep your child warm.
Babies should be dressed in thin layers when in the car seat, and thick or puffy snowsuits will cause the harness to fit incorrectly. Instead, use a cosy toes approved by the child seat manufacturer, or fold a thin blanket in half and tuck it tightly around your baby over the harness, once they are strapped in correctly. Make sure any blankets do not come up higher than arm pit level.
Remove children’s coats and jackets, and strap them into their car seat properly – then tuck a blanket around them. Your child will be able to remove the blanket if they get too hot, which they cannot do when they have their coat on, this can lead to them overheating.
Another option is to place the jacket over both your child and their harness, however Good Egg Safety do not recommend doing this as it may delay removing a child from their car seat in an emergency.
Safety advice for families. Expert advice on seat and stage selection for your child.