The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

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 http://www.goodeggcarsafety.com/blog/tags/booster-seats.html

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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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What are group 123 car seats

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:

  • ISOFIX or seat belt fitment
  • Harness or Impact Shield
  • Recline

ISOFIX or Seat Belt Fitment

It is more common for group 123 car seats to be fitted with the adult seat belt, however there are some ISOFIX + Top Tether group 123 car seats available. Both methods of fitment are safe, however ISOFIX is considered safer as it reduces the risk of incorrect fitment.


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The hidden projectile in your car - Booster seats

The hidden projectile in your car - Booster seats

 

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.

 

GRACOBRITAX PICS 005

 

This means that unless you buy an ISOFIX booster seat, you need to remember to strap the booster in when not in use.

 

Why?

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!

 

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

 

KIDFIX_II - edited

 

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!

 

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Extended Rear Facing Car Seats

Extended Rear Facing Car Seats

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.

ISOFIX, or seat belt fitted?

Extended rear facing car seats are available with ISOFIX, and there are also seat belt options available. ISOFIX extended rear facing car seats have an 18kg weight limit (i-Size seats may differ), and some belt fitted rear facing seats have an 18kg weight limit. There are also many seat belt fitted seats which have a 25kg weight limit.

The group stages available to rear face:

Group 0+1 – 0-18kg
Group 1 – 9-18kg
Group 1,2 – 9-25kg

Combination, or rear facing only?

Some extended rear facing seats will allow the option of putting your child rear or forward facing, where others can only be fitted rear facing.

Testing

Extended rear facing car seats are currently tested to R44.04. Many iSize child car seats which are approved to R129 will offer longer rear facing, up to approximately 4 years old (105cm). Some rear facing only car seats may also have passed the Swedish Plus Test.

Additional fitment

Leg Room

One of the most common questions asked about keeping children rear facing is "Where will their legs go?" While children are very flexible and comfortable in a rear facing seat, it can look quite odd to adults. There are seats available which have extended leg room options, which is usually achieved by adjusting where the seat is fitted on the vehicle seat.

Three rear-facing children
If children feel the need to stretch out their legs, they can stretch them up the back of the vehicle seat.

What is the best extended rear facing seat to buy?

What is the best seat for you, will depend on your vehicle, your child and your family situation. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Method of fitment – There is no safety difference between a properly fitted belted seat, and ISOFIX seat, however ISOFIX is considered safer as it reduces the risk of incorrect fitment. Belt fitted extended rear facing seats can be more difficult to fit.
    With any method of fitment you choose, be sure to seek professional advice and fitting help, read the manual and practice fitting the seat so you are confident with it.
  • Combination or rear facing only – Do you want to have the option of using the seat forward facing 'just in case', or are you 100% sure that your little one will be rear facing up until the limit of the seat? Take this into account when choosing your seat, if you aren't completely sure you will be rear facing until 4, you may want to opt for a combination seat. Similarly, if you know you definitely will be rear facing to the limit, you may want to consider a rear facing only seat, as these can often be cheaper!
  • Additional fitment – Almost all extended rear facing car seats are classed as semi-universal, and they will have a vehicle compatibility list available online. Before you buy your seat, check that every car the seat will be used in is on the compatibility list.
  • Is your child tall or heavy for their age? – Child seats with an 18kg limit will accommodate most children to around age 4. If your child is likely to reach 18kg long before their 4th birthday, a seat with a 25kg harness limit will give you better longevity.  You may also want to consider a 25kg harness limit seat if you wish to rear face beyond 4 years of age.
  • Where to buy – extended rear facing car seats are becoming increasingly available in major retail stores. However, you are more likely to find them in your local independent nursery retail shop.  Phone up local stores to see what they have in stock, and if they are trained to show you how to safely fit the seat.
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Winter coats and car seats – the winter facts every parent needs to know.

 

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:

 


Winter Jacket sequence

 

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.


Pic6

 

 

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

 

Keep your newborn warm OL

maxi-cosi-pebble-footmuff-confetti

 

 

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.

 

Children 

 

harness toddler

 

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.


Winter_clothes_-_children.png

 

Some parents may place the jacket over both their child and harness, however Good Egg Safety do not recommend doing this as it may delay removing a child from their car seat in an emergency.

 

Winterclothing 3 reasons

 

 

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My child escapes the harness when I am driving - help!

 

Does your child escape the harness?

Lots of parents have had the moment when you are driving along, glance at your little one and they’re having the time of their life on the back seat – with their arms in the air and out of the straps! So what can you do when your little one develops this habit?


GOODEGG-29.05.14_0380

  

So what can you do when your little one develops this habit?

Be sure to remove any coats or puffy jackets and snowsuits  These thick items of clothing create a gap between your child and the harness, making it super easy for them to wriggle out!

Check the strap height – The straps should be level with your little one’s shoulders, at the point where the straps come out of the seat. If you can’t get the straps quite level, they may dip slightly below when rear facing, and sit just above the shoulders when forward facing.

Make sure the straps are tight enough – Pull the harness tight, and do the ‘dual test’. This is: ensuring you can fit no more than 2 fingers between your child and the harness at collar bone level, then check that you cannot pinch the harness strap together.

 

They still do it!

If you have done the above, and your child still escapes, you may want to try an aftermarket product designed to block the gap they get their arms out of.

 

5-point-plus 

The 5 point plus is a fully crash tested and approved anti escape device, which is also recommended by child seat manufacturers.  It is a long piece of breathable fabric which sits behind your child, and comes under their arms to wrap around the straps.  This then blocks the gap that they are getting their arms through to wriggle free.

 

Chest clips

There is a lot of confusion surrounding chest clips in the UK.  It is currently illegal to sell a child car seat in the UK, with a chest clip as part of the child seat.  This is because our approval requirements state that a child must be released from the child seat in one movement.  However, this does not apply to aftermarket products, and you can legally fit an aftermarket chest clip to your child’s car seat.

If you do choose to use a chest clip it is very important to check the following points:

That the clip safely and securely fits to the harness straps – it must not interfere with the placement of the chest pads on your child’s car seat.

The chest clip MUST sit at your child’s armpit level. It is very dangerous to get this wrong.

Once your child has broken the habit of wriggling their arms out, remove the chest clip.

 

Nothing works…

If nothing else works, you may need to buy your child a different child car seat.  For children very determined to escape the harness, or for those that really dislike it, an impact shield car seat is an alternative. 

 

Cybex Pallas

 

These can be better for children who often escape, as there is no 5 point harness in the seat to restrain them.  Instead they are restrained with an ‘impact shield’, which is placed over them, and the adult belt is placed over the shield to secure the child.

These seats often cover group stage 1,2,3, and will convert to be a high back booster, so it will be the last seat you need to buy your child.

 

Has your child ever escaped the straps?  What did you do to teach them to keep their arms in?

 

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Child Car Seat Safety Infographic

 

Is your child's car seat correctly fitted?

Find out now using Good Egg Safety's handy infographic.

 

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A child car seat is not enough

3 - Having a seat - n#39A33

 

 

1It must be the right stage seat for your child


There are many different group stage child car seats available, and quite often, there is a crossover of the weight categories. Children are safest staying in the lower stage seat for as long as possible – don’t be in a rush to move them up a stage.  Our child car seat selector tool can help you work out what stage seat your child should be in.

We also see a lot of children at checking events using the wrong stage seat because it’s a short journey, or they’re allowed to use an older siblings booster seat for a treat – the wrong stage seat will not be able to protect your child adequately, and could have fatal consequences.

 

2It must be compatible with your car and every car the seat will be used in


Not every child seat fits every car, even ISOFIX seats are not automatically compatible.  It is essential to ensure your child car seat is a perfect fit to your car, and also to other cars it may be fitted into.  If you have an ISOFIX seat, you can visit the manufacturer’s website for an up to date vehicle fitting list.  Some companies, such as Britax and Maxi Cosi have developed fit finders, to help you find what seat fits your car.

Avoid buying your child car seat online, or from stores who fail to offer trained members of staff who can give you fitting advice.  Our store finder tool gives you a list of Good Egg approved retailers.

 

3Your seat must be fitted correctly


Once you have the correct stage child car seat, and know that it is compatible to your vehicle, it is important to fit it correctly.  It isn’t always obvious how your seat fits, particularly when using the adult belt.  Our blogs on fitting the seat with the seat belt, or ISOFIX can give you great tips to help you to fit your seat safely.

 

4 Use your child seat correctly

 

Once your child car seat is strapped in, it is important that your child is strapped in safely.  Although this sounds obvious, it is the second most common error on child seats.  A properly fitted seat will stay put in the car, but a poorly fitted child will not be restrained or protected correctly.

When securing your child with a harness, the following steps will help you ensure they are safely restrained:



1 - Securing Harness

2 - Incorrect-Correct


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BRITAX’S ‘BIN THE BOOSTER’ CAMPAIGN IS BACK URGING PARENTS TO TRAVEL SAFELY THIS SUMMER

Returning after the success of the previous two years, leading child safety brand Britax has launched its 2015 ‘Bin the Booster’ awareness campaign.


This nationwide campaign, supported with powerful crash test footage, urges parents to get rid of any booster cushion seats they might have and opt for highback boosters with head and side impact protection to ensure children are safe and secure on their travels this summer - and beyond.



 

While the current law requires children to travel in a car seat until they are 135cm tall or 12 years old, Britax believes there is still a lack of understanding around safety in Group 2-3, which protects children from four to around 12 years of age. At this stage many parents opt for a simple booster cushion to help lift their child and ensure the vehicle seat belt sits correctly on the bony parts of their bodies. However, Britax found that approximately half (49%) of seat belts used to secure child seats may be fitted incorrectly*. They are often twisted, too high, or fitted around the seat and not the child. On top of misfittings, these booster cushions also offer no head or side impact protection for children.

To get parents’ full attention and highlight the true danger of booster cushions, Britax has released some alarming footage filmed at their crash test centre in Andover. It captures the safety performance of a booster cushion vs a highback booster seat in the event of a frontal collision. The footage sees the child sized dummy in the booster cushion instantly thrown forward upon impact. Viewers are able to witness from a range of angles that the upper belt is kept in place on the highback booster thanks to the upper belt guide, whereas the dummy on the booster cushion frees itself from the upper belt. Even in this frontal collision, the dummy in the booster cushion is flung towards the side of the car, dangerously hitting its head on the side of the vehicle at speed, as opposed to the highback booster, which sees the dummy stay more supported with head and upper body containment thanks to its side wings and headrest.

Mark Bennett, Britax’s safety expert, comments: “After watching this footage, parents will think twice when choosing a Group 2-3 car seat as it is incredibly haunting and really demonstrates the importance of deep protective side wings, head support and seat belt guides to ensure that seat belts are correctly positioned and fitted. We are calling for all parents using booster cushions to switch to a highback booster option and help us further spread the word about the inadequate protection these cushions provide - it could save precious lives this summer!”

Booster cushions are still sold because it is not required by current EU safety standards to conduct tests for side collisions on Group 2-3 seats. However, Britax only sells and recommends highback boosters and their products far surpass the legal safety requirements. Product developers continue to incorporate the latest, most advanced and industry leading safety innovations; including the energy absorbing seat belt pad, the XP-PAD and adjustable side impact cushion technology (SICT) for superior side impact protection in their highback booster range as can be seen in the popular KIDFIX XP SICT. Britax’s highback booster range includes seats fitted with ISOFIT** that connects the seat directly to the car’s chassis, creating a safe and rigid installation.

 



Britax

 

 

Britax is not alone in its belief that booster cushions are not the safest option for children.

Jan James, CEO of Good Egg Safety, which provides safety advice for families in the UK comments:

“We welcome this powerful footage from Britax which really drives home the dangers of booster cushions.  What makes this so poignant is the fact that when using these, parents are at least trying to protect their children by lifting them up to ensure a better fit of seat belt,  not realising that their child is still in significant danger in the event of an impact.  The nerves in the neck don’t stretch well and a collision which throws the head forward with the force demonstrated here could potentially result in catastrophic injuries to their child. Good Egg Safety thoroughly recommends the use of a high back booster for that extra vital protection. As witnessed here, it will really make the difference.”

The 2015 ‘Bin the Booster’ campaign will run all summer from Monday 13th July, just before the school holiday season. In addition to sharing the powerful video footage far and wide, it will see Britax actively sharing key tips on what to look out for when purchasing a new Group 2-3 seat. It will also include a live Q&A on the Britax Twitter page on 15th July with Britax safety experts Mark Bennett and Cheryl Dunn, who will be on hand to answer any questions parents may have on the topic.


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