The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

What is a car seat newborn insert?

 

Almost all group 0+ infant car seats come with a newborn insert. These are either a 'head hugger' and cushion (which is under the baby to lift them up) or just the head hugger on its own.

 

Newborn Insert 1


The purpose of the car seat newborn insert is to provide additional support and padding to a newborn baby when they are using the seat. The inserts also help ensure that babies fit in the harness, so they can be properly strapped in. The head hugger helps support the baby’s head, and if your seat comes with a cushion, it will lift the baby up to allow them to lie in a more natural position and will help prevent them becoming ‘scrunched over’.

As time goes on and your baby grows, the newborn cushion and head hugger can be removed; this is generally between 5-6 months of age.


Caution

If you take the car seat newborn inserts out too soon, it can cause baby to sit too low in the seat and not fit in the harness (as seen below)


Newborn Insert 2


When you remove the cushion from under the baby, it will ‘drop’ them down in the seat, giving them more room to grow. When you remove the insert, make sure that the harness straps are still level with or just below your baby’s shoulders; you may need to re-adjust the straps to fit your baby properly.

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Some car seat newborn inserts state a weight limit on them, and your child seat instruction booklet may also give guidance on removing the newborn inserts from the seat.


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Floor storage and child car seats

Floor storage compartments – What are the risks?


When it comes to floor storage and child car seats, many owners of people carriers who have gone car seat shopping will have come across “this seat isn’t compatible with your car; you can’t rest the leg on the lid of the floor storage box”.  It is an issue that plagues owners of vehicles with floor storage compartments, as many ISOFIX, and a few seat belt fitted restraints, have a support leg that must be used.

 

FLOOR STORAGE 1

 


But why, exactly, is the support leg and the lid of the floor storage compartment not compatible?

 

Why can’t you rest a support leg on a storage box lid?


The concern is that if a child restraint has a support leg that rests on the lid of the storage box, it could go through the lid from the force of a collision.


FLOOR STORAGE 2

 

So what would that do?


If the support leg did go through the box, it would compromise the stability of the seat, and it would not work how it is supposed to in a collision, potentially not protecting your child adequately.

 

What can you do?


If you have read this blog post and realised that your child’s car seat has a support leg resting on the lid of the storage box, don’t make another trip out in the car until you have confirmed if the seat is a safe fit or not.

If you have these floor boxes and you are looking for a child seat to fit your car,  be aware that there may be some seats that will not be compatible with your vehicle.

If you have three full size vehicle seats with 3 x 3 point seat belts, you could fit the seat with the support leg in the middle seating position to avoid the problem, as the leg will miss both of the boxes.

 

FLOOR STORAGE 3

 

How can you confirm a safe fit?


Child car seats that have a support leg are classed as a “semi-universal” restraint.  As the seat is a semi universal restraint it must have a vehicle fitting list.  If your car is listed, you may use the seat with support leg in your car, if your vehicle is not listed; do not use the child seat.  Some manufacturers will advise you to have the fitment checked by a professional, as fitment may differ between each car – even if they’re the same model!

You can find the fitting lists on the manufactures website, or it will come with the instruction booklet provided with the child seat.

 

What if I fill the floor storage box?


Here at Good Egg, we would only recommend you fill the floor storage box with an official filler from your vehicle manufacturer, rather than use a DIY filler.  Not all manufacturers have a filler available, and a DIY filler has not been tested, so it has no guarantee of doing the job you need it to.

 

Can’t I put the leg in the box as long as it reaches the floor?

 

FLOOR STORAGE 4


If the leg of your seat fits down into the bottom of the box securely, it is often said to be a safe fitment. However, you do need to double check with your child seat manufacturer if they recommend this for their seat.

 

Is it OK if I have a floor box, but the leg misses it?

 

FLOOR STORAGE 5


As with the above situation, this is often said to be safe, but to be sure contact your child seat manufacturer for their advice.

 

Floor Storage and child car seats


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Parent and child parking bays

 

How many parents have experienced not being able to park in a parent and child parking bay due to all the spaces being taken?

It infuriates many parents when they have been unable to park in the spaces, particularly when they have been taken up by people with no children in the car.

The spaces are provided to allow parents to open the car door wide, so they can lift their children in and out of the car seat without risking damage to other vehicles.  They are also positioned close to the trolley bays so parents can collect and replace trolleys quickly. Please note, a child should never be left in the car unattended.

Parent and child parking bays are not regulated, and it is not illegal to park in them without children, they are a courtesy provided by the store.

As the bays are normally on private land, enforcement of misuse of the bays resides with the car park operator or store.  The store may issue a fine to those using the bays that do not have children with them.

 

CHILD PARKING


There are no clear guidelines as to the cut off age for parent and child parking, however the child must be using a child car or booster seat.  Some stores display a sign, detailing the age of children and that they must use a child car or booster seat.

 

So what can you do?


Many car parking arguments surround the misuse of parent and child parking bays, and the arguments can escalate very quickly. We do not recommend confronting the offending party.

If you have noticed someone who is parked in the bay with no children in the car, or no child seats, take down their number plate and notify the store. They will then normally put out a tannoy announcement and request the customer moves their vehicle, if the space has been misused.

What child age do you think should be the cut off for using parent and child bays?

Do you mind if a 'Mum-to-be' uses them?

 

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Car seats under £100

 

Car seats can be expensive.  But what can you do when you haven’t got hundreds of pounds in the bank?  Or money saved up?  Or relatives who can contribute?  Or even a credit card or overdraft to help cover the cost?

One of our most common questions is "What's a good car seat that won't break my bank?" We put our Good Egg Safety experts on a mission to find 3 good choices for car seats in each child seat group that are under £100!

Now, before you jump for joy that you can get a very safe car seat for under £100 it is vitally important to note that a car seat is only safe when it is compatible with your child, compatible with your car, fitted and used correctly - get one of these wrong and it won’t matter if your baby is in a £400 car seat!  Incorrect use and fitment kills, so take the time to familiarise yourself with your vehicle, fitment issues and what is compatible - not every car seat fits every car!

Group 0+

 

Newborn - 13kg (approximately newborn to 12/15 months)  


Only outgrown at 13kg or when top of child's head is level with top of seat.

Maxi Cosi Cabriofix

 

maxicosi_cabriofix

 

£99.99


The ever popular Maxi Cosi Cabriofix is a seat belt fitted restraint, it comes with a head hugger, newborn cushion and sun canopy.  It also attaches to many travel systems.

Britax Baby Safe


britax baby safe

 

From £74.99


Also very popular is the Britax Baby Safe.  This seat is also seat belt fitted, comes with a newborn insert and head hugger, plus a sun canopy.  It attaches to some travel systems.

Graco Junior Baby


graco-junior-baby-car-seat

From £54.99

 

Graco Junior Baby Base

 

Seat belt fitted base available from £24.99

 

Base and Seat: Comes in at just under £80!


The Graco Junior Baby is a very popular group 0+ infant car seat.  It has a sun canopy, 3 point harness and newborn insert as standard and fits to Graco pushchairs.  This seat also has a seat belt fitted base available, which is a great option if you have short seat belts in your vehicle.

Group 0+1

 

Rear facing newborn - 13kg, then next stage seat 9-18kg. Approx Newborn - 4 years old.


Outgrown when 18kg or when the child’s eyes are level with the top of the seat.  Rear facing to the maximum rear facing limit is strongly encouraged and recommended for maximum safety.

Joie Tilt

 

Joie Tilt

 

From £80+


The Joie tilt offers rear facing from newborn through to 18kg (4 years old).  Rear facing for as long as possible is the safest way for your child to travel.  You can also use it as a forward facing group 1 seat between 9 - 18kg.

Britax First Class


Britax First Class

From £85


The Britax First Class is an extremely popular group 0+1 car seat.  It has a well padded newborn insert and a good recline position.
*SPECIAL FEATURE* When used forward facing, this seat has an alternative routing to avoid buckle crunch, if it is a problem in your car!

Mama’s and Papa’s Mercury 0-1 


M&P Mercury

From £60


The Mama’s and Papa’s Mercury 0-1 car seat has a great recline on it and soft newborn inserts.

Group 1

 

Forward facing 9-18kg (approx 9mo - 4 years, but a 9mo baby should still rear face for maximum safety - look at group 0+1)


Only outgrown at 18kg or when child's eyes are level with the top of the seat.

Maxi Cosi Priori XP


maxi-cosi-priori-xp-phantom

From £99.99


The Maxi Cosi Priori SPS is occasionally on sale cheaper

The extremely popular Maxi Cosi Priori XP seat can often be purchased for just under £100.  It has a clever seat belt tension system to ensure a tight fit, easy adjust harness and good recline positions, as well as side impact protection.

Britax Eclipse


Britax Eclipse

From £70


The also popular Britax Eclipse is a great choice for 3 door cars.  It is very well padded and has 3 recline positions.

Graco Coast


graco_coast

From £60


The Graco Coast is a comfortable, spacious and easy to fit group 1 child car seat.  It has 3 recline positions and deep side impact wings.

Group 1,2,3

 

Group 1 forward facing 9-18kg with harness, then converts to group 2,3 high back booster 15-36kg

 

Graco Nautilus

 

Graco Nautilus 2

 

From £99.99


The Graco Nautilus is a really solid group 1,2,3 seat that is very easy to fit in the car.  It has a steel reinforced frame and great storage pockets for your child to explore.  Forward anchorage point and buckle crunch are potential issues.

Britax Evolva


Britax Evolva 123

From £89.99


The Britax Evolva is a very popular group 1,2,3 seat.  It has a small recline option, easy adjust harness, good side impact protection and is well padded.  It can be a problem to fit in cars with short seat belts.  This seat is a good option for avoiding buckle crunch.

My Child Jet Stream


mychildjetstream

From £78.99


The My Child Jet Stream is a group 123 car seat which offers 5 'on the move' recline positions, which means you do not need to pre-set the recline on the seat, as has to be done with lots of group 123 car seats.

Group 2,3

 

Child and seat secured with adult seat belt 15kg - 12 yrs old or 1.35m

 

Maxi Cosi Rodi Air Protect


6b1b4deefa26088bef2a7e3b6882dd55

£99.99


The Maxi Cosi Rodi features superior side impact protection due to the air protect cushions in the headrest.  The seat also has a recline option and a fully adjustable headrest.

Graco Assure


Graco Assure

From £53.99


The Graco Assure car seat feature side impact protection and clear seat belt guides to help you make sure your little one is securely strapped in.  It is well padded and easy to adjust.

Britax Adventure


britax adventure

From £29.99


The Britax Adventure is a great high back booster that has an adjustable headrest and is lightweight to move between cars.

Summing it up


All the above car seats have passed the minimum R44.04 crash test, some of the seats have also passed ADAC testing.

All of these child seats are available in retail stores.  To ensure you get the right seat for your car or child, always seek professional advice and seat fitment.  You can get child seats cheaper online, but there is then a very high risk of fitting the seat incorrectly.

When visiting a retailer take a note of the recommended seats for your budget and see if they have the seat online.  If it is cheaper, order the seat online to collect in store - you can then still have your child’s car seat professionally fitted.





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What is ISOFIX?

ISOFIX is an international standard of fitting child car seats.  In most modern cars, and even some older cars, there are ‘D’ shaped hooks in the base of the back seats on either side (some vehicles may have ISOFIX points in the middle or front seat) to find out if you have ISOFIX, either put your hand in the join between the passenger seat base and the back and run your hand along it until you feel them, or check your manual.



Isofix 1



ISOFIX is considered safer than a seat belt fitted child seat as the risk of fitting the seat incorrectly is very small.  An ISOFIX child seat is also quicker to fit, easier to fit and is attached to the chassis of the vehicle.



isofix 2


ISOFIX seats also come with other safety features like an impact leg or a top tether.  These devices must be used, if supplied, as they reduce the rotational and forward movement of the child and the seat in an impact.



Caution

If you have a car with passenger floor storage boxes you cannot use a seat with an impact leg, as the floor isn’t strong enough to support it in an impact


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Can I have my child's car seat in the front seat?

Rear facing restraints


It is illegal to have a rear facing child car seat in the front seat if the air bag is active.  This is because when the airbag is deployed it comes out at a very high speed; if that were to hit the back of your child’s car seat the consequences would be devastating.  If you want your child to be in the front with you then make sure the air bag is turned off, some cars have to go to the manufacturer; on others you can do it yourself.  You should also push the front seat back as far away from the dash board as possible, as when in the front seat the child is being put closer to the force of the impact.



airbag caution

 

Forward facing restraints


There is no law regarding deactivation of the airbag when a child is forward facing in the front of a vehicle, however you must check your vehicle manual to see if the airbag must be switched off and positioning of the front seat.  Some vehicles do not allow a child under 12 years or less than 135cm in the front of the car - so it is very important to check the car manual.  The information will be in the child seat section.

 

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Flying with young children (Part 3)

Top 8 tip when bringing a child car seat onto a plane

 

TUV approved child restraints


As of the 21st May 2014, below are the TUV airline approved child car seats.  This list may be updated and if you are in any doubt, phone the manufacturer of your child car seat.

    • Maxi Cosi Pebble

 

    • Maxi Cosi Citi

 

    • Britax Baby Safe

 

    • Britax Baby Safe Plus

 

    • Britax Baby Safe Plus SHR

 

    • Guardian Pro

 

    • Guardian Pro 2

 

    • Concord Ion

 

    • Kiddy:

 

    • Comfort Pro

 

    • Discovery Pro

 

    • Cruiserfix Pro

 

    • Energy Pro

 

    • Phoenix Pro

 

    • Phoenix fix Pro

 

    • Phoenix fix Pro 2

 

    • Guardian fix Pro

 

    • Guardian fix Pro 2

 

    • Britax Eclipse.



Remember:  the final decision to allow a child restraint to be used lies with the airline.

If you have any questions about flying with young children that our blog didn't address, please ask us and we will do the best we can to answer :)

Blog Jargon buster

TUV approved means that the seat has been tested and approved by TUV Rheinland to be suitable for use on an aircraft.

 

  Go to part 1                                                                Go to part 2


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5 point harness

Child car seats normally come with a 5 point harness to secure the child into their seat.  Some rear facing infant seats come with a 3 point harness. The job of the harness is restrain the child in an impact.



5 point harness



When forward facing, the harness spreads the force of an impact in 5 directions - across the shoulders, past the hips and through the crotch strap.  It is very important that a child rear faces for as long as possible, as when they are forward facing they are restrained by the harness, but their head continues with the forward momentum.  This puts stress and pressure on the neck that can result in serious injury or death.



5 point harness - close



By being rear facing, the 5 point harness still restrains the child, and in an impact they are pushed back into the child restraint, which spreads the force of an impact through the back of the child car seat and supports the child's head, neck and spine.  This is the reason it is so important to keep your child in their rear facing child seat until they have reached the weight limit, or the height limit.  Rear facing offers maximum protection and safety for your little one.  If you are unsure what the rear facing limit is on your seat, check the child seat manual or ask the child seat manufacturer.  The below chart also provides some guidelines:



Fitting chart

An alternative to the 5 point harness is an impact shield style child restraint, which we will explore in a future post.

 

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What is a group 0+1 car seat?

 

Group 0+1 car seats are a combination of group 0 or 0+ and group 1. They backward face until 10kg for group 0 or until 13kg for group 0+, they then either remain rear facing to 18kg, or can be used forward facing 9-18kg, depending on the seat.  It is vitally important that you read your car seat manual so you are fully aware of how long your seat can backward face.

 

 

How are group 0+1 car seats different to group 0+ car seats?


Group 0+1 car seats are different in several ways.  Firstly, they are not portable like the infant carrier seats and generally stay fitted in the car at all times.  When a baby is asleep it would be difficult to remove the group 0+1 seat from the car without disturbing little one, so you’d have to take them out of the seat.  Unlike group 0+ car seats, group 0+1 seats are not used as part of a travel system.  They do however accommodate little ones from newborn right up to 18kg, which is approximately 4 years old.  They are generally well padded with a soft newborn insert and 5 point harness.



Group 0+1 car seat

 

Why use one?


There are several plus points for choosing a group 0+1 car seat.  They are generally around the same price as an infant carrier, but last much longer – making better value for money!  As they stay put in the car, you also have complete peace of mind that the car seat is fitted correctly on every journey.  Group 0+1 seats are particularly good for grandparent’s cars that may not take the baby out so often.  They can leave the seat fitted into the car so they don’t have to worry about fitting the seat themselves.  They are also a great choice for carers of children who need to use the seat for children of varying ages. As group 0+1 seats are a full sized group 1, it is very unlikely the baby will outgrow the seat by height when used backward facing.  This means that baby can stay in the safest rear facing position right up until they hit the rear facing weight limit for the seat!



Group 0+1 Blackboard

 

 

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Flying with young children (Part 2)

 

When flying with young children, what do you need to know to help you decide if you are going to take a car seat with you for the plane? That is what we are going to explore in this 3 part ‘Flying with young children’ mini blog series.

 

Using UK seats abroad


All child car seats within the European Union (EU) are tested to ECE  R44.04 or R129 i-Size.  Child seats carrying the ECE approval R44.03, R44.04 or R129 (i-Size) may be used within the European Union.

If you wish to use your child car seat when you reach your destination, it is worth noting that an EU approved child restraint cannot normally be used in countries outside of the EU.  This is because different countries have different laws and testing that European Union seats may not meet.  The same is true for any seat outside of the EU that is brought over to Europe.

As an example, a parent flying to the USA may be allowed to use their child restraint on the aircraft, but once they land, their seat cannot then be used in a car or taxi.

If you are from the UK and flying to a destination within the EU, then you can use your UK car seat when you are on holiday.

If you are unsure check with your holiday provider, the local road safety department or the British embassy in that country.

 

Using a child car seat at your destination

 

If you hire a car when you get to your destination many hire companies will also hire out child car seats at an additional cost. If you decide to do this ensure that you are completely happy with the child car seat’s quality and that you have fitted it correctly.

 

If you are not happy with the seat you can also choose to purchase one whilst on holiday. This could potentially work out cost effective if you were using the hire car for the whole duration of the holiday.

Even if you are not hiring a car, some countries require children to travel in a suitable child restraint in taxis. Some taxi firm’s will have specific vehicles with restraints fitted, however it is wise to check with the taxi firm or transport company you will be using to reach your hotel.

Travelling by coach transfer also needs to be confirmed, firstly to see if you need a child restraint, and also if your child restraint can be used, should you want to use it - even if you don’t have to.

As always, when you are fitting the car seat in the car or on the coach, make sure that it is a compatible fit and correctly fitted.

 

Go to part 1                                                                  Go to part 3


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