The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

Common car seat fitting errors and the risks

 

The peril of incorrect fitment and why you should get your car seat checked


An incorrectly fitted child car seat will not work to the best of its ability in a collision, if at all.  Here are some of the more common car seat fitting errors we come across, and the potential risk associated:

Loose harness



Loose harness OL

 

A child car seat harness is there to keep your child in their car seat in the event of a collision. It also helps to spread the force of the crash, further protecting your child.  A loose harness will not be able to restrain your child properly, and they are at risk of travelling too far forward in a collision.  This could cause them to impact the interior of the vehicle, or come out of the harness altogether if it is very loose.

To fix: Remove all puffy and thick clothing from your child, and pull the harness tight enough to allow you to slip two fingers flat between your child’s chest and the harness, at collar bone level.



Incorrect harness height



Incorrect harness height OL

 

Child car seat harnesses must be adjusted as your child grows to restrain them properly, and we often find harnesses on group 1 car seats to be too low on children.  On forward facing children, this is particularly a problem as it can cause the harness to sit incorrectly on the child, causing a risk of the harness slipping off their shoulders and not restraining them.  It may encourage them to remove the harness due to discomfort, which is extremely dangerous in a collision.

To fix: The correct harness height is for the straps to be level with a child’s shoulders, at the point they come out of the child seat.  If you cannot get them at the same level as their shoulders, then they may dip below when rear facing, or sit just above the shoulders when front facing.


Slack seat belt



tight seat belt OL

 

On child car seats fitted with the adult belt, it is important that there is no slack on the belt, and that the belt is straight and untwisted.  A slack seat belt will cause the child seat to travel too far forward in a collision, potentially hitting the seat in front or the interior of the vehicle.

To fix: When fitting your seat, push your knee firmly into the seat, whilst you are doing this, pull the adult belt tight and lock off with the appropriate guides.



Incorrect seat belt routing



Incorrect Belt Route OL

 

We often have to demonstrate the correct routing of the adult belt as many people become confused with the fitting instructions.  An incorrect belt route carries a risk of the seat moving too much in a collision, to it not being restrained at all and exiting the vehicle altogether.

To fix: Read your manual carefully, watch manufacturer fitting videos, seek professional help and get your child seat checked.


High back booster adjustment



Incorrect head rest height OL

 

The headrest on high back boosters are often not increased with the child as they grow, which causes the adult belt not to sit across their shoulder safely.  In a collision the chest part of the belt will not be able to restrain their upper body correctly.

We also see younger children being allowed to use older siblings' seats as a ‘treat’ – to use another group stage seat a child must first be a suitable weight and height for the seat.  If the child is not big enough for the seat, they should not use it, and if they fit into their own seat, they are safest using that.  If they are the correct weight and height, then the booster head rest should be adjusted to suit the child’s height.

To fix: Most high back boosters have a squeeze handle at the top of the head rest.  Squeezing this handle will allow you to increase the height of the headrest to suit your child.

Watch our video on common car seat fitting errors.



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The importance of getting your car seat checked

Good Egg Safety car seat checking events


Car seats under £100

 

Good Egg Safety is the leading organisation for in car child safety, and we have checked over 20,500 car seats since 2002.  The child seat events are designed to give parents somewhere to go to have their child’s car seat checked, so they can make sure they are sitting safely.

Over the years the rate of incorrect fitment has risen however, and over the last 5 years the rate of incorrect fitment has increased by 43%.  The 5 year average for car seats being incorrectly fitted, based on over 12,000 checks, now stands at 57%.

The amount of incorrectly fitted seats last year was 64% in Scotland, and 71% in England and Wales.  Our research suggests there are a vast majority of seats being bought online, where a parent receives little advice on choosing the right seat, and no help with fitting safely.  Other issues come from poor advice given by retail staff, and parents and carers accepting hand me downs and second hand seats.

Anybody can have an incorrectly fitted seat, and it is not something to feel guilty or be embarrassed about, it is certainly better to find out any problems with your seat during a checking event, than in a collision!

 

What happens at a child seat checking event?


GE

 

Child seat checking events allow our highly trained experts to be on hand to not only check your car seat for you, but to also answer all questions and queries you may have – no matter how small!  We will also have a height chart available, stickers for the children and our handy Good Egg Guides for mums, dads and carers.

There are two parts to getting your car seat checked – checking the seat fits your car and is fitted correctly, and checking your child fits the seat and is strapped in correctly.  We can check your car seat fitment even if your child is not with you.

Checking the seat fits your car:

    • We check for any fitting concerns, such as buckle crunch, forward anchor point, floor boxes and the fit of the child seat to the vehicle seat

 

    • We then check the seat belt is routed correctly, and we will inform you of any errors we find.



If there are any errors with the seat compatibility or fitment, we will explain these fully to you, and then explain and demonstrate how to correct the issue.  We are almost always able to correct errors and rarely have to recommend a new seat.



Checking the seat fits your child:

    • We will ask for your child’s age, weight and check their height to ensure the seat they are travelling in is suitable for them.

 

    • We will then ask you to fit your child into the seat as you normally would do. We check the harness is at the correct height and tension, and give any advice that may be necessary (such as removing thick clothing).

 

    • If any adjustments are required to your seat we will explain these to you, and then help you make the adjustments.



Finally, if the seat has had to be removed from the vehicle, we will help you put it back in – we always insist that you fit the seat yourself however, so you can be fully confident with the seat fitment the next time you have to take it out!



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Law exception - Short journeys

"It is OK for your child to not use a car seat on short journeys" - FACT or MYTH?


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MYTH!

 

This is perhaps one of the most commonly misunderstood exceptions to the law, and the one most often misused.

 

What does The Law say?


The law states that a child over the age of 3 may travel without a child restraint, on short journeys of unexpected necessity.  The child must use the adult seat belt.

 

What is unexpected necessity?

 

    • An essential trip that you had no prior notice of.

 

    • When the child may be at risk, if they do not travel.

 

    • Emergency, unplanned trips to A&E/Doctors/Out of Hours Surgeries where no car seat is available.

 

What sort of journeys are not acceptable uses of this exception?

 

    • Catching a lift with a friend/relative to save walking.

 

    • A pre-planned appointment.

 

    • Trips that could be reasonably pre-planned (like a school run, or looking after friends/relatives children).

 

    • Long distances.

 

    • Children under 3 years of age.

 

Has this law exception for short journeys ever confused you?


Read our blog on the other car seat law exceptions.


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What is i-Size?

 

Over the past year or so, we have seen lots of advertisement for i-Size car seats.  But what exactly are they, and what is i-Size?



RF harness height

 

i-Size is…

 

    • A new regulation, called R129, within R129 is i-Size.

 

    • It will eventually replace R44.03 and R44.04 child car seats.

 

    • R129 was launched in 2013, and is proposed to be fully implemented by 2018.

 

    • It aims to keep children safer in the car, by making seats easier to choose, fit and use.

 

    • ISOFIX seats are being addressed first, then belt fitted seats will be addressed.

 

What are the key changes?

 

    1. New test dummy – the new crash test dummy, the Q dummy, can measure far more points of force than the old P series dummy. This will give more information as to how a seat can reduce the force a child is subject to in a collision. This information will allow safer seats to be made.

 

                    dummies

 

    1. Mandatory rear facing to 15 months – Under the R44 regulation, children can legally forward face when they weigh 9kg. Young children have very heavy heads and weak necks however, and it is very dangerous for them to face forwards.  The current R44 regulation could allow children to legally face forward before their neck is fully developed. i-Size seats require children to be rear facing to at least 15 months old, a point when a child’s neck is stronger and more able to cope with the forces applied during an impact when facing forward.

 

                15 RF OL




    1. Side impact test – you may be surprised to read that side impact testing isn't already mandatory. The R44 crash test doesn't legally require child car seats to undergo a side impact test, although many manufacturers test their seats to ensure they do protect in a side impact.  i-Size has taken this a step further and now legally requires car seats to provide side impact protection.




    1. Seats selected by height – child car seats are traditionally selected by a child’s weight, then height, with an age guideline. However a child’s weight is often unknown and the age guideline is used instead, which can mean the child may not be big enough to use the seat, even at the right age. i-Size seats change this to make seats selected by height, then age.  Weight limits will still be in place, however these will be specific to the child seat and clearly advertised.

 

                       height OL




    1. Better compatibility - i-Size seats address the problems of R44 ISOFIX seats not being compatible with all vehicles. New vehicles can now have an i-Size approved seating position, which an i-Size child seat will be automatically compatible with – no fitting list will need to be consulted. This is achieved by the vehicle manufacturers making the interior of the vehicle to approved specifications.  For the child seat to be approved for i-Size, its external geometry must fit within a set sized ‘envelope’ and the support leg must meet the specified geometry and adjustment.

 

              isizse




    1. Child seats will be easier to use – The internal dimensions of an i-Size seat will be specified. The seat harness must allow a 95th percentile child to fit within it, the harness must be simple to adjust and the cover easy to remove.  The harness must be made so that it cannot be removed from the child seat to reduce misuse.



FAQ


Are R44 seats still legal?

Yes, R44 seats are still legal to use, and you are not legally required to buy an i-Size seat.  In 2018 i-Size will be fully implemented, however you will be allowed to use R44 seats for some time after 2018 – the two regulations will run alongside each other for some years yet. (*please note, only R44.03, R44.04 and R129 seats are legal)

What about seats that don’t fit within i-Size?

Some seats will not fit within i-Size – such as larger extended rear facing seats.  These seats will still be able to achieve R129 approval, just not the specific i-Size approval.

Will booster cushions become illegal?

It is still unknown if booster cushions will be made illegal.  As R129 includes a side impact test, and booster cushions cannot pass a side impact test, it does look like they will not be able to gain the approval.  However, it may be that booster cushions will be for older children only, with the vehicle providing protection for the child.

Why is it rear facing to 15 months?

Young children are safer rear facing as their head is very heavy, and their neck very weak – this is not a good combination in a collision.  By rear facing for longer, the neck is protected.  The minimum age for rear facing is 15 months, however many i-Size seats currently available allow rear facing to 4 years old – 105cm.  The 15 month limit may increase in the future.

Can i-Size seats be used in cars that aren't suitable?

Yes, i-Size is backwards compatible and can be used on a cars standard ISOFIX.  However you will need to ensure that your vehicle is on the fitting list for the i-Size seat.

Will I need to buy new seats in 2018?

No, R44.04 seats will still be allowed to be used for some time after this point.



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Sharp rise in child deaths linked to incorrectly fitted seats

 

 Seven out of ten car seats for children tested in 2014 in England and Wales do not meet minimum fitting standards, Good Egg Safety announced today. Good Egg, which has tested 20,500 child safety seats in England, Wales and Scotland since 2002, found that 71% of seats tested in England and Wales were unsafe in 2014, and 64% in Scotland. The national average over the last five years has been 57%, but this masks a year on year increase from 47% in 2010 to 67% in 2014. The figures come at the same time as Department for Transport statistics revealing that the number of child deaths or serious injury on Britain's roads has risen for the first time in two decades. This means that two thirds of the children and babies in Britain are now at risk as a result of the seat being improperly fitted, incorrect for the size and weight of the child, or wrong for the make and model of vehicle.


Online purchases, second hand seats and hand-me-downs have also contributed to a sharp 43% growth in incorrect fitting since 2010*. Good Egg online surveys also show that certain retailers are failing to give the necessary basic advice for a safe fitting.

 

Jan James, Chief Executive of Good Egg Safety


"This week's figures on casualties show clearly that we are not, as a nation, taking child car safety seriously enough.

"The saddest thing is most parents and grandparents genuinely want what is best for their children, they just don't know how to choose the right seats nor how to fit them.

"We've put all the advice that you need on our website, www.goodeggcarsafety.com, free of charge. If you're buying in a shop, insist that a trained sales assistant helps you fit the seat, and that you specify your child's height and weight and the car's model before buying. If you're buying online, don't unless you can put this information in. If the seat arrives without clear instructions for fitting and testing, then send it back. If you're offered a second hand seat, just politely decline: there is very little chance that a second hand seat will be right for your car and your child - you wouldn't entrust your child with a stranger yet that's exactly what you are doing if you place them in a seat without knowing its history."

 

Ben Willshire Group Manager at TRL


"TRL is committed to providing parents and retailers with a full understanding of the potential consequences of an incorrectly fitted child seat. Working with Good Egg Safety, TRL offers training courses to those advising parents on the correct fitment of seats to reduce the risk of incorrect usage. TRL is also developing a new star rating system which will help consumers make an informed choice when buying a child seat, and will include an assessment of the usability of the seat."

 

Honor Byford, Chair of Road Safety GB 


"There are so many different makes, styles and versions of child car seats that it isn't surprising that so often the seat parents (or grandparents) have bought is either not the best one for that car or is proving difficult to fit securely every time you make a journey. We strongly recommend that parents check if their car has  ISOFIX child seat securing points  - most new cars have had these for some years now. Using an ISOFIX seat means that the seat is bolted into the frame of the car and is not entirely dependent on the tightness of the adult seatbelt around it. It usually also needs a single tether to be tightened as well but is more user friendly for parents. We welcome the latest  report from the Good Egg team. We are pleased to support Good Egg with their clear and helpful guides for parents and appreciate the work they do in supporting local road safety officers to help parents  provide the best protection they can for their children."

 

Eddie Hawthorne, Arnold Clark Managing Director


"Having supported Good Egg Safety for over 12 years, I can only repeat and emphasise its message on the importance of correctly fitted seats for children. As a company we sell in excess of 200,000 vehicles per year and have a duty of care to ensure that our customers are safe on the road. I would encourage those travelling with children in their car, to ensure they have the correct seat for their child and that it is fitted correctly, if in doubt have it checked by a professional or consult the advice on the Good Egg Safety website."

 

Adrian Walsh, Director of RoadSafe


"It is always a challenge to belt little children into their seats and when we change the seats from one car to another fixing them is even more difficult, but for me advice from an expert made all the difference. My advice to all grandparents is to seek that advice and do a practice run under expert supervision."

 

Andrew Ratcliffe, Managing Director, Maxi-Cosi UK


"We know that ease of use and intuitive installation are vital factors in the correct installation of child car seats, which is why we ensure Maxi-Cosi seats are as easy for parents to fit as possible.

"Many of our car seats are fitted with light and sound sensors that let parents know when the seat has been properly installed. This ease of use and installation - in combination with leading car seat safety innovation - results in Maxi-Cosi doing so well in ratings tests."

 

Sarah Rowley, MD for Drive A Child


"In-car safety for little ones is about two things: maximising their protection by fitting the right car seat properly and minimizing their risk by avoiding being in a collision in the first place. It's clear from these new figures that this vital information needs to be made more readily available to the public. Drive A Child is working with Good Egg Safety to make this happen.  Our easy-to-use, online information and e-learning programme is the new go-to place for in-car safety. The aim is to make every journey you take safer and ensure seats all over the UK are fitted correctly."

 

Amanda Scacchetti, Product Development Manager for Mamas & Papas


"Being Product Development Director at Mamas & Papas is a big responsibility and so is being a parent. I need to know my little ones are as safe as possible every minute of the day and I want to know our range is as safe as possible too.  After all, the statistics are truly frightening.

"That's why we've completely redesigned our car seats collection, handpicking the very safest products from brands all over the world to find the best innovations.  We've also made sure you have crystal clear installation instructions that makes sure its fitted perfectly every time."

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Forward facing children and front airbag use

 

Can my child sit in the front seat once they are forward facing?


This is possibly one of the most commonly asked questions that we get here at Good Egg HQ, and we are unable to give a straight yes or no answer.

When it comes to children sitting in the front when forward facing, the airbag requirements are different with each vehicle.  The only way you can find the answer to keep your child safe is to check your vehicle manual.

Not all vehicles allow children to sit in the front.

If your car does allow you to sit a child forward facing in the front, the manual may state to push the front vehicle seat as far back as possible.  There are two things to take into account when doing this:

1) Children in the back - make sure they have plenty of room for their legs, if the front seat is too close, they will be at increased risk of leg and head injuries.



Sitting up front 1



2) When pushing the seat back, make sure the fit of the restraint is not compromised.  The seat belt needs to be pulling the seat back, not situated forward of the seat belt routing point.

When the front seat is in its forward position, it provides a good fit for a child restraint:



seat forward



The seat belt pulls the child restraint back into the vehicle seat at all points:



seat forward close up



When the front seat is pushed back as far as it can go, it causes the seat belt to sit forward of the restraint.  This causes an unstable fitment and is not safe:



seat back close up

 

Stay in the back


Lots of parents allow their children to sit up front as a treat - however children are in much more danger when in the front.  There is not only danger from the airbag, but also from side airbags and anything penetrating the car in an impact.  Children are also then closer to the force of a frontal impact, which is the most dangerous type.



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Booster cushions - Are they safe?

Mythbuster:  Booster cushions do not offer side impact protection – Fact or Myth?

 

FACT!


Booster cushions are unable to offer any side impact protection to children.

 

Why don't they offer side impact protection?


The current child seat approval standard, Regulation 44 (R44) does not include side impact testing.  This means that seats can be sold that do not offer any side impact protection to children.  Car seats undergo many component safety tests, and the crash test consists of one frontal impact at 32mph, a rear impact at 18mph, and a roll over test.*

There are additional crash tests that seats may undergo, such as the ADAC test, WHICH and the German Stiftung Warentest.  These all test to 40mph frontal impact, and they do include a side impact test. Booster cushions do not pass the side impact test.

Side impact testing has become mandatory under the new child seat approval standard R129 iSize.  R129 iSize began in 2013, and will not be fully implemented until 2018.  Both R44 and R129 approvals are running alongside each other, and will do some for some time after 2018.

*please note, R44.01 and R44.02 approved seats are illegal to use.  Only seats that carry a R44.03, R44.04 or R129 label are legal.

 

Why don’t booster cushions pass a side impact test?


Booster cushions are a belt positioning device, they are simply designed to lift your child up enough so that the adult seat belt restrains them correctly.  They do not offer any additional protection.

They don’t pass a side impact test because they do not have a back and side wings to cushion a child from the force of a collision, and they do not place a child near the vehicles side impact protection – children do not benefit from the vehicle’s side and curtain airbags.

Side Impact Test - Booster Cushion v High Back Booster

 

Why is side impact protection so important to have in your child's car seat?


Side impacts account for 1 in 4 collisions, and they account for 20% of all child road traffic collision fatalities.  When you also take into account that a vehicle's side impact protection is designed for adults, and not children, the best way to protect them is with a seat that has passed side impact testing.

Children do not benefit from a vehicle's side impact protection system, so no matter how much tech your car has, a highly tested car seat is essential.

 

Do Good Egg Safety recommend booster cushions?


No, we do not recommend booster cushions.  They do not offer the same protection for children as high back boosters.  We encourage parents and carers to use high back boosters when their children have outgrown their group 1, or group 1,2 harnessed car seats.

 

What about for short trips/friends' cars/emergencies?


A collision can happen at any time, and it doesn’t make allowances for your child being in a friend’s car, or it being a short trip.  Your child should use the correct seat for their weight and height on every journey.  However, as an absolute last resort, a booster cushion is better than nothing at all.  If your child is going to use a cushion, they must be the correct weight and height for it.

 

Any other concerns?


Booster cushions are very open to misuse, and as they often don’t route the chest belt comfortably for children, they are more likely to put the belt under their arm or behind them.  This is extremely dangerous and puts a child at significantly increased risk of serious injury, or worse.



wrong booster OL

 

Another problem with booster cushions is the lack of torso support, children are far more likely to lean out of the seat belt when they fall asleep, hugely reducing their protection in a collision.

 

Why are booster cushions allowed to be sold?


Booster cushions are allowed to be sold because they pass the R44 test.  They allow the adult seat belt to hold the child in place during a frontal collision - they do not have to go through a side impact test.

 

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Group 1,2 rear facing car seats

 

What is a group 1, 2 extended rear facing car seat?


A group 1, 2 car seat is a combination group seat which can accommodate a child from 9kg through to 25kg.  They are called extended rear facing as they typically keep children rear facing to 25kg, around 6 years old.  This stage seat can be used after the group 0+ infant seat has been outgrown, it is an alternative option to forward facing group 1 car seats.

The seat is normally outgrown when the child’s eyes are level with the top of the car seat, although it is important to check the manual for the seat.

Extended rear facing BeSafe iZi Plus, which has a 0 - 25kg weight limit, approx 6 months to 6 years.

 

Extended rear facing BeSafe iZi Plus, which has a 0 - 25kg weight limit, approx 6 months to 6 years.

Why would you keep a child rear facing after the infant seat?


Traditionally, children in the UK are moved up to a forward facing seat once they hit 20lbs or 9kg, yet they are much safer travelling rear facing. In Sweden, children have travelled rear facing until they are 4 years old since the 1960’s, and they have extremely low numbers of children getting killed or injured in road traffic collisions.

Rear facing car seats after the infant seat allow children to be better protected from the forces of a collision.

In an impact, a forward facing child is restrained by the 5 point harness or impact shield.  The harness or shield stops their body travelling forward when the vehicle crashes, restraining them in their child seat. However, their head is not restrained and continues travelling forward.  A young child’s head is 25% of his or her body weight, and in a collision this puts large amounts of force and pressure on their fragile neck and spine.

 

A 9kg child in a forward facing car seat.  Although this is legal, it is not as safe as rear facing.

 

When a child is rear facing, they are pushed back into their child seat, which keeps their head, neck and spine aligned.  This greatly reduces the force their body is subject to, as it is spread through the back of the child seat.

 

Elena Car Seats 022

 

Extended rear facing child seats also carry other benefits, such as view, comfort and a reduction in driver distraction.

 

The view


Many parents and carers are concerned a child will have an obstructed view when travelling in an extended rear facing car seat.  This is understandable, as we are so used to seeing babies in little infant seats facing the vehicle seat.  However extended rear facing seats are higher up and set further back than infant seats, giving a child a fantastic view out of the back and side windows.

 

charlie-view

 

Comfort


Rear facing car seats offer just as much comfort as forward facing car seats, and have all the same features such as great recline options, head support and softly padded covers.  They offer the same comfort and support for younger babies, and for older children, rear facing car seats can be more comfortable as their legs are fully supported, rather than hanging off the end of the seat.  Many extended rear facing car seats leave a gap for leg room.



three asleep

 

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Driver distraction


This is an important safety benefit of rear facing car seats, in that they can reduce driver distraction.  A recent study has shown that children are up to 12 TIMES more distracting in a car than a mobile phone!  The study found that on the average 16 minute journey with kids in the car, drivers took their eyes off the road for a total of 3 minutes.  A rear facing child presents less of a distraction, and a rear facing mirror can help you check that they are OK (when it’s safe to do so, of course!)

 

Are forward facing car seats dangerous?


No, forward facing car seats don’t put children in danger – they have hugely reduced the number of children who are killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions in the UK.  However, they are not as safe as rear facing car seats, due to the physics involved in a collision.  It is important to rear face your child for as long as possible, at least until the maximum weight and height limit of their group 0+ car seat – this is when they weigh 13kg, or when the top of their head is level with the top of the seat, approximately 12-18 months.  If your child is outgrowing their infant seat by height, but has not yet reached 13kg, a group 0+1 combination seat can be a good option to allow you to continue the benefits of rear facing.

 

R129 i-Size


R129 is the newest legislation for child seats, and it is different from standard R44 seats in several ways:

1)    The crash dummy has been updated – the crash dummy can now measure more points of force on a child’s body than the dummy used in R44 testing.  This now includes being able to measure neck loading, which R44 dummies cannot do.  This data has shown that a child who weighs 9kg and is 9 months old is not protected in a forward facing seat, and that they are far safer rear facing.

2)    Children must rear face to 15 months by law in an i-Size car seat – this will eventually apply across all seats.  Even if you don’t have an i-Size car seat, you can still rear face your child for longer in a group 0+1, or group 1, 2 car seat.

3)    A new mandatory side impact test has been introduced.  This is not tested under R44.04.

4)    The seats are selected by height, over weight.

5)    The harness must be easy to adjust, and the covers simple to remove – this will be music to the ears of anyone who has spent a Saturday afternoon fighting the car seat cover!

 

Are they more difficult to fit? 


Yes, extended rear facing car seats can be more difficult to fit, although it does depend on what seat you get.  A majority of extended rear facing car seats have additional tether straps which must be fitted.  Once your tether straps are fitted into your car however, they simply click to the attachments on the child seat.  If you will be moving the seat between vehicles, we recommend buying a spare set of tether straps to leave fitted in the second car to reduce fitting time to that of a 'regular' car seat.



TWE tethers OL

Axkid tethers OL

 

Where can you buy them?


Although there is a good choice of rear facing group 1, 2 car seats available, you are unlikely to find them in major retail stores.  Extended rear facing car seats are typically available from independent retail stores.

You will find extended rear facing car seats available online, however Good Egg Safety discourages online buying as you will not have a member of staff to show you how to fit your seat in the car.



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What is a car seat base?

 

A car seat base normally is used with group 0+ infant car seats.  It is sold separately from the infant seat, and normally remains permanently fitted in the vehicle - it then allows you to simply click the infant seat on and off the base.

Some group 0+1 and group 1 car seats have a separate base, however at the next stage, seats are normally sold in one unit.

What are the options?


There are two options available for fitting bases - seat belt fitment, or ISOFIX.  Some seats will have only ISOFIX or seat belt fitment, but others have both options.

This base may only be fitted with the seat belt.

 

This base may only be fitted with the seat belt.

This base may only be fitted with ISOFix.

 

This base may only be fitted with ISOFIX.

This base may be fitted with ISOfix or the seat belt.

 

This base may be fitted with ISOFIX or the seat belt.

ISOFIX is considered safer than seat belt fitment, as there are indicators to show you that the base is fitted correctly, when you have a newborn baby this gives you much needed peace of mind!

 

Is it safer to use an infant car seat with a base?


Infant seats are safe whether they are on a base or not, provided they are compatible to both the car and child; as well as fitted correctly on every journey.

Bases are considered safer as these generally remain fitted in the car, either with the seat belt or using ISOFIX.  Your infant seat will click on and off the base, with indicators to show it is fitted properly, which reduces the risk of incorrect fitment and misuse.

 

Fitting issues


Car seat bases experience fitting issues the same as any other car seat, and it is important that you check your base is compatible with your vehicle before you use it.  ISOFIX bases will be listed on a compatibility list, but it is also advantageous to visit a retail store in person that has properly trained staff members to check your base and seat fitment.

 

Should you buy one?


If your budget allows it, and there is a base available to suit your child seat and your car then it is a good choice to buy a base for the car seat.  Not only does it give you peace of mind and makes your life easier with not having to fiddle with seat belts, but it has the added bonus of keeping the seat belt away from the little one's knees as they get older.

Seat belt fitted infant seats normally route the lap belt over the baby's lap, through two blue guides and the chest belt routes around the back of the seat.  Whilst this gives a secure fit, it does mean an older baby or toddler may experience the seat belt pressing on their lap.


Elena SC

 

This is not unsafe or dangerous, however it doesn't look very comfortable and it can be a trigger to move the baby up a seat stage too early.


0+ Car Seat

 

Both little ones are 100% safe whether they use a base or just the seat belt.

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2 Comments

Is it dangerous for a child's legs to hang over the car seat?

It's dangerous for a child's legs to hang over the end of the car seat... FACT or MYTH?

 


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MYTH!


A common belief is that once your child's legs start to hang over their group 0+ car seat, it is outgrown and their legs may get hurt in a collision. This is not true however!  A baby's or toddler's legs are safe to hang over the end of the car seat, and are in very little danger of getting hurt in a collision. This is because in a collision, your baby is pushed back into the car seat, which protects their head, neck and spine.  Their legs fold up to their chest, away from the back of the vehicle seat.  Babies and toddlers are also very comfortable when seated rear facing, and it is important for adults to remember that children are far more flexible than us!  Whilst it certainly would be cramped for us to sit with our legs crossed on a long car journey, children are far more comfortable.  The seat gives continued support to the child's legs, and they are able to move them into suitable positions. It is important to keep your baby and toddler rear facing for as long as possible - a young child's head, neck and spine is very well protected when rear facing, and this protection is reduced when they progress to a forward facing group 1 car seat.  Rear facing group 1 car seats are available to prolong the protection to the head, neck and spine.


Elena SCSubscribe image



 

0 Comments

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