The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

When should I turn my baby forward facing?

When should I turn my baby forward facing?

 

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

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

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

This chart shows the categories:

Group Stages 2014-01


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

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

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



0+ Car Seat



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

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

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


Elena Car Seats 015



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



Elena Car Seats 022

 

Recap


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

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

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

 

So… when can my baby move forward facing?  


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

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

 

Are forward facing seats dangerous?


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

 

 

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Carry handle or safety feature?

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


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

carry handle edited

 

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

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


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Elena SC

 

What happens if the carry handle is at the back?

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

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


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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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Your baby's first car seat

Welcome and congratulations on your exciting news!


Although choosing a car seat for your baby might be the last thing on your mind early in your pregnancy, it really is the very FIRST thing you need to get right before bringing your precious little bundle home.

We can help. Good Egg Safety is the UK's most trusted in-car safety specialist and, based on our experience of checking over 20,500 child car seats, we've put together this useful guide just for YOU.

It covers the key things you will need to consider when the time comes to buy your baby's first car seat. You can also read further blog posts or visit our main website for all the free advice you will ever need on how to keep your baby safe.



B-SMART

 

Researching your baby’s first car seat


Your baby’s car seat is perhaps one of the most important things you will buy them, it will keep them safe and secure in the car, and should you ever be involved in a collision, it is there to protect them. However, despite the car seat being so important, it can also be one of the most confusing things to buy!

 

There are three stages suitable for new born babies:


Group 0 child car seat – normally lay flat, with a 10kg baby weight limit, these seats often take up two seating positions.

Group 0+ child car seat - rear facing, with a 13kg baby weight limit, these often have a base option and are portable, they often fit on the pram.

Group 0+1 child car seat – rear facing, and may turn forward later on, with an 18kg child weight limit.  These seats tend to remain fitted in the car.

 

Awards


Research what awards the child seat has won – Mum and Baby awards will assure you of comfort and user friendliness, and crash test awards from German Stiftung Warentest and ADAC will assure you of superior crash performance.  Alternatively, an iSize approved seat meets the very latest requirements, including mandatory side impact protection.

 

Fitting options


Child car seats are either fitted with ISOFIX or the adult seat belt, and while both are very secure when correctly fitted, ISOFIX is considered safer as it reduces the risk of misuse.  Group 0+1 car seats which use ISOFIX normally have the ISOFIX attached to the seat.  Group 0 and 0+ car seats may utilise a separate base that remains fitted in the car, not all infant seats have this option so check for this before choosing your seat.

 

Travel systems


Travel systems are very convenient, however it is very important for your baby’s health that they do not spend excessive amounts of time in their infant seat.  The car seat should only be used on the pram for very short, quick trips out of the car and if you are going to be out for any length of time, your baby is safer being moved into their lie flat pram.  The maximum amount of time your baby should be in the infant seat is 90 minutes, and they should then have a break from the seat. However, if you are driving, this may be exceeded as your baby must always use a car seat when in the car, ensure you plan in time for regular breaks on long journeys.

 

Buying your baby’s first seat


When it comes to purchasing your baby’s first car seat, we recommend that you visit a retailer, with properly trained staff, who will spend time with you ensuring you are happy with the seat and how to fit it.

 

Base options


The child car seat base is typically available for group 0+ car seats, and will either be fitted with the seat belt or ISOFIX.  The benefit of the base is that it remains fitted into the car, and you simply click the infant seat on and off the base.  The base will normally have an indicator to tell you that your seat is properly clicked into place.  The benefit of a base is that you do not have to re fit the seat every time and the audible click and indicators will give you peace of mind that your seat is properly fitted on every journey.

 

Compatibility


NOT EVERY CHILD CAR SEAT FITS EVERY CAR, so it is important to ensure the seat is tested in every car it will be used in.

 

Practice


Practice fitting your car seat regularly, so you are completely comfortable with how you secure it in the car, and ensure you know how to loosen and tighten the harness.  Read the fitting instructions as these will give you extra information specific to your child seat.

 

Accessories


If you buy accessories for your baby’s car seat, ensure toys are securely fastened and soft.  Avoid adding frilly covers, or aftermarket covers to your seat, as these are not crash tested and may alter the safety offered by the seat.

 

How to fit your baby’s car seat


Here are our top tips to follow when fitting your baby’s seat!

 

Seat belt fitment


1. Your new baby must travel in a seat suitable for their weight, which is either lie flat, or rear facing, babies are rear facing. Rear facing car seats have blue seat belt guides to follow


2. Ensure the base of your infant seat, and the edge of the seat sit flush with the vehicle seat and seat back.

3. When fitting the car seat, ensure the seat belt remains flat and untwisted. The buckle of your seat belt should not rest on the frame of the infant seat, or base.

4. Ensure the seat belt is routed through the correct guides, as the belt may not necessarily go through every guide. Be sure to consult the fitting instructions and watch a fitting video if one is available.

5. If you have an infant seat, ensure your carry handle is in the correct position for travelling in the car.

 

ISOFIX fitment


1. Not every ISOFIX car seat is suitable for every car, be sure to check the vehicle compatibility list and make sure your seat is suitable for your vehicle, and every other vehicle it will be used in.

2. Locate the ISOFIX points in your car, and fit the ISOFIX guides if required – these do not have to be fitted if your ISOFIX is accessible, they are simply available to help make fitting easier.


3. Extend the ISOFIX arms fully, and fit these to the ISOFIX points in your car – you will hear an audible click when each arm is connected, and the indicator will turn green.

4. Now lower the support leg to the floor, the leg should sit firmly on the floor so the indicator is green, but the base should not be lifted off the vehicle seat.


5. If you have an infant seat, ensure the carry handle is in the correct position for travelling in the car.

 

How to strap your baby into their car seat safely


Strapping your baby into their car seat sounds like it should be easy, however it is one of the most common errors that we come across – straps are often left too loose or set at the incorrect height.  Here are our 5 tips for ensuring your baby is safely strapped in.

1. Remove any thick, puffy and padded coats, jackets or snowsuits. These create a gap between the harness and the child, which may cause the harness to not work properly. 

2. Ensure the harness is at the correct height – the straps should be level with the tops of your child’s shoulders. However, if you can’t get the straps level with, they may dip just below when rear facing and sit just above when forward facing.

3. Ensure the harness is completely flat against your child, with no rips, tears or twists in the harness.


4. Pull the harness over your child’s shoulders, and clip into the buckle – if your seat has a 5 point harness, now pull the straps from just above the buckle to ensure the straps are tight over your little one’s hips.


5. Finally, pull the harness to tension it, so the straps sit firmly on your child. You should just be able to get two fingers between your child and the harness at collar bone level. 

 

Newborn Checklist

 

Our Top Tips


Here are our top tips for your new baby’s in car safety!

Tip1

Practice fitting and using your car seat


 

Tip2

Pull the straps tight enough so they are snug to your baby, you won’t hurt them by ensuring the straps are fitted properly.


 

Tip3

Do dress your baby in light clothing when in the car seat, and tuck a blanket around them once they’re strapped in if the weather is cold.


 

Tip4

A travel system is a great convenience, but if you’re going to be out for longer than a quick trip, swap your baby over to the lie flat part of the pram.


 

Tip5

If you use your infant seat on the pram, always keep your baby strapped in, if your pram tips, the straps will prevent your baby from falling out.


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Parents take to social media to warn others about potentially dangerous child car seat…

Leading child safety campaigner, Good Egg Safety has been alerted by four separate families warning of a potentially dangerous child car seat - the Kiddu Lane 123 seat - where a child has been injured while being transported in it.

The first reported incident to Good Egg occurred in April this year where a 22 month old boy was thrown out of his seat when his relative had to make an emergency stop; sustaining serious bruising to his head. Since this was reported on social media a further three families have reported similar incidents to Good Egg Safety where two more children have also sustained injury.



Bruised head

 

Concerned Mum, Stacey Tennant, who reported the original incident said: “When we alerted parents about our concerns, I felt sick to hear that other similar incidents had occurred and been swept under the carpet. If my son had been seriously injured or killed and the manufacturer and retailer concerned knew beforehand that there was a problem and could have prevented it, I would have held them directly responsible. Now my hope is that no other parent has to find out the hard way and we are grateful to Good Egg for bringing this to their attention. My Facebook video has had over a million views so far which is really encouraging”

Good Egg Safety Chief, Jan James said today: "We are deeply concerned about this and have tried to contact the distributor concerned and also the stores who are currently selling this product. We have requested an immediate halt to sales until the issue is further investigated. It should not require the death of an infant for this to be taken seriously and financial considerations should be superseded by the health and safety of child passengers who may currently be at risk."

Paul Hussein bought his Kiddu Lane 123 seat earlier in February. He received an urgent call from his wife to say that their young son had fallen out of his seat on the journey home, after he had been carefully placed into his seat and the straps tightened. He said “this product should be recalled as it is unsafe before it potentially does more harm to a young child.”

Good Egg is issuing regular updates on its campaign facebook page to keep concerned parents and grandparents up-to-date with developments. Any concerned parents can also contact the organisation directly by emailing enquiries@goodeggsafety.com

Good Egg Safety Chief, Jan James, welcomes the news that Kiddu has temporarily withdrawn their seat from sale in Tesco and Asda until further tests are conducted.

This is very encouraging and we are pleased Kiddu has responded in this positive way. The health and safety of children is paramount and parents will understandably want further reassurance that their seat is safe.

 

Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB added:

“The possibility that a child car seat or its harness has failed is alarming. I am pleased that Kiddu have now taken action to remove their seats from sale and to investigate these incidents as a matter of urgency. We are publishing this information to help alert Road Safety Professionals and, through them, anyone who has a Kiddu car seat so that they can contact Kiddu or the retailer from whom they bought the seat for more information and advice. We look forward to hearing the findings of the Kiddu investigations, which we will of course also publicise.”

 

Sarah-Jane Martin, spokesperson from Brake, the road safety charity said:

“Child seats are subject to strict safety standards for a reason, and can save a child’s life in the event of a crash. We’re pleased the Kiddu child seats have been removed from sale, and encourage any parent with concerns to visit a professional to have their seat checked."

 

The full statement from Kiddu follows:

“Product safety is our top priority and we are taking this matter very seriously. We have already conducted our own tests on our car seat buckles, which have indicated no fault to date. However, we have also requested that independent tests are carried out by the premier UK test authority as a matter of urgency. In the meantime, we have made the decision to temporarily withdraw the Kiddu Lane car seat from sale until the tests are complete.

We would like to reassure families with a Kiddu Lane car seat that the seat has been subjected to rigorous testing and has been approved to the current European Child Safety Standard ECE R 44/04 and by the Vehicle Certification Authority (VCA) in the UK. However, should anyone feel concerned they can call our dedicated helpline on 0161-702-5061.”



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65% of leading high street retailers are not giving safe advice when selling child car seats say undercover researchers...

 

53 out of 82 shops run by well-known national chains and independent retailers selling child safety seats did not give the full correct advice to mystery shoppers, according to a report published today.

The new findings, issued by Good Egg Safety, reveal that staff in the majority of stores tested did not ask enough basic information to ensure a safe fit of the child seats they were selling. A child car seat, no matter how well it is manufactured and tested, will not perform as it is designed to do in a collision if it’s not correctly installed or if it doesn’t fit the child or car it is purchased for.

Jan James, Chief Executive of Good Egg Safety, said today: “We’ve checked over 21,000 child car seats since 2002, and have found a 43% growth in incorrect fitment or incompatibility in the last five years, which is a major concern. Last year alone we discovered that 67% of seats were incorrectly fitted across the UK. These seats will provide reduced or possibly no protection in the event of a collision. There’s clearly a correlation here between incorrect fitting and substandard retailer fitting advice and this has to be addressed."

“We still encourage parents to buy their seat new from a high street store because second hand seats can’t provide the peace of mind that they will perform well in a crash unless their full history is known and parents can check the seat is easy to fit in their car prior to purchase. To ensure they receive the right advice, however, parents  and grandparents can download our new free checking guide which shows them what  questions they should be asked. The welfare and safety of their children is paramount.”

The findings have prompted the development of our powerful new advert above. Feedback to it from parent focus groups and industry partners has been resoundingly positive.

Honor Byford, Chair of Road Safety GB said: “This is very timely – just as families are taking more day trips and planning their holidays, checking the children’s car seats also needs to be on every parents “to do” list. We know from the many enquiries that we receive from parents that they find the multitude of different car seats and types of fittings very worrying. Parents – and grandparents – are relying on retailers to give them the best advice and service. Car seat retailers should be parent’s safety partners in keeping children safe when they are travelling in cars. This is a big responsibility but it is one that retailers can achieve. They should aim to give parents the confidence that they are providing a top quality service they can trust.”

Kevin Clinton, Head of Road Safety, RoSPA said: “It’s extremely important that child car seats are suitable for the child and correctly fitted in the car. This survey shows that retailers need to improve the help they give parents and make sure that their staff are trained so they can make sure their customers choose the correct seat and know how to fit it properly”

Sarah-Jane Martin, Brake, the road safety charity said: “You can’t put a price on your child’s safety. It’s shocking to think that so many child seats are incorrectly fitted. It is essential that children travelling in cars are protected by using the appropriate restraints. Using a child restraint that’s appropriate for a child’s size and weight and properly fitted reduces the risk of injury, and is effective in preventing the most serious injuries.”

Tanya Robinson, Child Safety Centre Manager at TRL said: “TRL continues to contribute to the development of the safety performance of child car seats. However, this work will not achieve its goals if those using the car seats are not provided with adequate guidance on how to choose an appropriate child seat  and do not understand how to fit and use them correctly. That is why we are working with Good Egg Safety to understand the common errors made by parents, grandparents and carers and to provide training for retailers.”

Sir Arnold Clark, The Arnold Clark Group said: “As latest statistics have shown, it is more important than ever that parents have as much information as possible on car seat safety and know what to look for when purchasing a child seat. That is why Arnold Clark is proud to support the Good Egg In-Car safety scheme and the essential work it does to raise awareness of child car safety. Its latest campaign is thought provoking, engaging and will strike an emotional chord with parents all over the country.”

Bengi Bingol Yalcin, Marketing Manager UK of Britax, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Good Egg Safety and be part of such a powerful consumer campaign. We both share a common goal in working tirelessly to keep families safer, so are excited at what we can achieve together this year. We believe family freedom starts with safety and hope this campaign will help break down the overwhelming amount of information out there about in-car safety and give parents the confidence to make the right car seat choice for their car and their own precious family. Together we truly believe we can help parents enjoy every twist and turn of the amazing journey of parenthood, right from the very beginning! ”

Andrew Radcliffe, Managing Director at Dorel UK Ltd (Maxi-Cosi) said: “These results do reflect the need for retailers to improve training for their staff in delivering better service to consumers looking to buy child car seats. One of the key facets of the newly ratified i-Size regulation is ease-of-use in terms of installing and fitting child car seats, which is why Maxi-Cosi has been so keen to promote i-Size, inform the public about it and introduce car seats that are i-Size compliant. Maxi-Cosi is also committed and active in training retailers staff and these results draw further attention to the challenge caused by high staff turnover and use of temporary staff.”


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Global Road Safety Week Q&A!

Today our expert Kat took part in a live Q&A session over at Road Safety GB for Global Road Safety Week!

The session was very busy, with lots of questions answered - the hottest topics were iSize and booster cushions.

Do you have a burning question that isn't asked?  You can ask our experts at any time!

 

Ask an expert

 

1. Is an extended rear facing seat really safer than a forward facing Group 2/3 car seat? Why?


Child car seats which are tested under R44, are broken down into ‘group’ stages. The main stages are:
Group 0+ (infant seat)
Group 1 (toddler seat)
Group 2,3 (booster seat)

It is possible to have combinations of these seats, such as group 0+1, or group 123. Your question asks about group 2,3 car seats which are for children weighing 15kg, however, extended rear facing car seats are another option to group 1 toddler seats.

Rear facing children, after the infant seat stage, has been found to be safer. It is safer because a young child’s neck and spine are still developing, and their head is very heavy in proportion to this. In a frontal collision, which is the most dangerous and most common type of collision, a child’s neck is put under great amounts of strain. This is because the forward facing car seat secures their torso, but their head continues with the forward momentum. When rear facing, a child’s head, neck and spine remain fully aligned in a collision, which hugely reduces the force they are subjected to.

Countries which have their children rear facing until the age of 4 years have very low numbers of serious injuries and fatalities, and evidence does show that up to age 4, children are safest rear facing. Forward facing car seats have hugely reduced the numbers of children being killed or seriously injured, and we do not know how the misuse level affects the number of children getting hurt.

The risk of misuse is something to consider as well, as extended rear facing car seats can often be more difficult to fit – they are improving however and becoming easier to fit.

So in a nutshell, yes, rear facing is undoubtedly safer for children up to the age of 4, but it is important to ensure you fit and use the seat correctly.

 

2. Booster cushions (which I believe are a seat pad with no back) according to the .Gov website:  "should only be used for children over 22kgs." However they are being sold in high street stores as suitable for Group 2 with a 15kgs minimum weight limit on them.  Does this mean they are legal to use from 15kgs, or is the .gov website the law? Or does a child from 15kgs up to 22kgs have to have a "Rear or forward-facing child seat (booster seat)" as the .gov website says? Could you be prosecuted for having a child under 22kgs on a booster cushion?


Booster cushions are approved from 15kg, and may be used once a child reaches this weight, provided the adult seat belt fits across them safely (lap belt low on hips, and the shoulder belt running from their hip and across their shoulder). However, children are safest using a high back booster, over a booster cushion – although you won’t be prosecuted if you do use a cushion. Both high back boosters and booster cushions may be used from 15kg, up to 36kg/12 years old/135cm – whichever comes first.


3. I'd love to see some more evidence that impact shields aren't as safe as harnesses as there's a lot of confusion caused by how those seats perform in tests where dummies can't record the internal injuries, but apparently loads on the necks are lower than in forward facing harnessed seats?


Impact shield car seats spread the force of a collision over a wider surface area, which reduces the forces a child’s neck is subject to – these forces are lower than when a child is using a 5 point harness. The test dummies do not currently measure abdominal forces and there is currently no evidence available to show if impact shields are less safe due to abdominal loading.


4. Are high backed boosters with Isofix any safer than ones without? Thanks.


There is little safety difference in performance between ISOFIX and non ISOFIX high back boosters – both will protect a child well in a collision. ISOFIX is beneficial however, as it keeps the booster locked into place when the child is not in the car. A loose booster is a very dangerous projectile if you were to be involved in a collision, and the ISOFIX removes this risk as the seat is attached to the car.


5. I have heard it is unsafe for newborn babies to be in an infant car seat for extended periods of time. However some reports quote for as little as 20 minutes whereas others quote 2 hours. What is the recommended length of time for a baby to be safely in a car seat and if it is unsafe why are infant seats still being sold with pushchairs as a viable option for a newborn?


The research to show the safe amount of time a baby can be in a car seat has shown that the car seat can cause a baby’s oxygen saturation levels to drop. When tests have been carried out, the oxygen saturation levels have been shown to drop within 30 minutes. The ‘2 hour rule’ is generally thought to be the maximum amount of time a baby should be in their seat at any one time, although some organisations cite 90 minutes. There are other risks associated with infants spending too much time in their car seat, such as the development of ‘flat head syndrome’. Your baby must always use their car seat when in the car, but parents and carers should ensure they plan time for regular breaks of at least 20 minutes. If a car seat is going to be used on a pram chassis, it should only be used for quick trips, and the baby is safest being transferred to the lie flat pram if you will be out for any length of time.

 

6. Why are backless booster seats still available to buy if they offer no body protection for children?


Booster cushions are tested under R44.04 which tests for a frontal impact, rear impact and roll over - there is currently no side impact test required under R44. A booster cushion is designed to lift a child up enough so that the adult seat belt fits safely across their hips and upper body, it does not offer any protection for the torso, head or neck. A child is safer using a high back booster over a booster cushion whenever possible.

 

7. BeSafe say that their ERF seats are 5x safer. I know it relates to the load on the child's neck in the event of an accident. However, 5 x safer than what? 5 times safer than ANY forward facing seat, or 5 times safer than a harnessed seat? If this is true, why do seats with impact shields top the Which? Best Buy charts, and the first ERF seat is 11th in the chart, and only scores 4 stars for overall safety rear facing (not 5 stars.) What is the truth behind the marketing? Are ERF really safer? Are impact shields safer for the child as the Which results imply?


The 5x safer rule comes from a report which was undertaken in Sweden, which found that children were 5 times safer rear facing, than if they were forward facing in a booster seat. In Sweden, children are either rear facing up to age 4, or they are put into a booster seat – forward facing harnessed car seats are not available there, and so there is no evidence relating directly to them. What we have seen, however, is that Sweden has a very low casualty rate, whereas the UK rate is still too high. There is no doubt that forward facing car seats do a very good job and protect children in our cars, however, rear facing car seats do offer the best protection, particularly for younger children.

WHICH? take into account many things, as well as crash performance. One of the things which can bring a score down is ‘ease of fitting and use’ – extended rear facing car seats are considered to be difficult to fit and use, which is why they score more poorly. Impact shield seats score highly because they slightly reduce the force to a child’s neck and are considered easier to fit and use, and are quick to transfer between vehicles. However, based solely on crash performance, rear facing car seats are safer.

 

8. Is it true that although i-Size keeps children rear facing until 15 months old, this also means that the smallest 15 month olds - the lower 25% of 15 month olds will legally be able to forward face even if they weigh just 6, 7 or 8kgs? Will any minimum weight or height limit be added to an infant carrier to protect these children or will they really be fine forward facing at 15 months old?


i-Size does require children to rear face to 15 months old, and they are allowed to turn forward once they are 15 months, as there is no lower weight limit. However, i-Size child seats do have a lower height limit, so a child will not be allowed to use a seat they are not tall enough for, even if they are 15 months. A child may use the infant seat past 15 months, if they are within the height limit of the seat –the height on i-Size infant seats is 83cm.


9. I'm having trouble with my ERF, ISOFIX, swivel seat. I am speaking to the company but it looks as though I'm going to have to have a different seat. I'm not going to be able to have rear-facing (she's 18 months) so my choice will be between forward facing static ISOFIX seat or forward-facing swivel non-ISOFIX. Having a swivel seat makes my life easier, and I feel I can pull the straps tighter, but I want the one which is safest for my child. If fitted correctly, do you think a non-ISOFIX seat can be as safe as ISOFIX?


A non ISOFIX child car seat will perform just as well in a collision as an ISOFIX seat if they are both correctly fitted, however ISOFIX is considered safer as it is easier to fit.

With any child restraint that you buy, it is vitally important to visit a retailer who can give you advice and ensure the seat is compatible with your child and vehicle, as well as show you how to fit and use the child seat.

There are a number of swivel seats coming to market, many of which also do forward facing and are ISOFIX.


10. I'm confused with ISIZE as a lot of websites say it's the new regulation but then others say it's just a part of a new regulation. Which is it?


i-Size is both – it is a new regulation, but it is also part of an ‘overall’ regulation – which can become a little confusing!

The new regulation is R129, which i-Size is part of. i-Size covers phase 1 of the new regulation 129, and phase 2 which is looking at the safety of booster seats, is currently underway with completion aimed for 2016. Finally, phase 3 will be looked at, which includes all belt fitted only seats, the aim for completion on this is 2018.

So i-Size is a new regulation, but it is part of a larger regulation – R129.

The older regulation R44 is still valid and will be for some time yet, you do not have to replace your current car seat if it is not i-Size.

 

11. I was recently at a road safety conference in Dublin. In a survey the Irish Road Safety Authority found that 3 out of 4 child seats were incorrectly fitted and would therefore not meet required performance in the event of a collision. They have initiated "Check it fits" roadshows visiting supermarkets, etc. Are any similar initiatives planned in the UK?


Good Egg Safety runs a national child car seat awareness campaign and we conduct child car seat checking events across the UK. We are just about to launch a Child Seat Checking Roadshow throughout Scotland. You can find a list of checking events on the website: www.goodeggcarsafety.com

We have checked over 21,000 child car seats nationally since 2001 and data from our most recent 5 year average (12500 checks) indicates that 57% of child car seats are incorrectly fitted or used – last year alone 71% of seats in England and Wales were incorrect and 64% in Scotland.

It has prompted the development of a powerful new advert which will be screened here on Road Safety GB’s GRSW site on Monday 11th May so stay tuned and keep checking goodeggcarsafety.com for all the new child seat checking events clinics being booked throughout this year.


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How to fit an ISOFIX car seat

ISOFIX car seats are considered safer than seat belt fitted child seats, because the risk of them being incorrectly fitted is reduced.  However, not all ISOFIX seats fit all vehicles, and mistakes can still be made.



fitting ISOfix

 

Here are some tips to help you fit your child’s ISOFIX car seat


 

Tip1

You must check the vehicle compatibility list to ensure your ISOFIX car seat is compatible to your vehicle.  Not every ISOFIX seat fits every car, so it is important that the child seat manufacturer confirms that it is a safe fit. You can find the fitting list on the child seat manufacturer’s website.

Don’t forget!  The seat must also be suitable for your child!


 

Tip2

Once you have bought your seat, read the manual thoroughly.  This will not only give you specific instructions on how to fit your seat safely, but you will also find information which is essential to your child’s continued safety.

 

Tip3

To begin fitting your seat in the car, locate the ISOFIX points in your vehicle and attach the ISOFIX guides if required.  Once you have done this, release the ISOFIX arms, so they are extended, and ensure the support leg is away from the seat base.

 

Tip4

Attach the ISOFIX arms to the ISOFIX points in your vehicle, you should hear an audible ‘click’ and the indicators will turn green.  You may now have to push the child seat firmly into the vehicle seat back to secure the fit.

 

Tip5

Now lower the support leg to the floor, so that it fits firmly, but is not pushing the base of the seat upwards.  If your seat uses a top tether strap instead, pass this over the back of the vehicle seat as instructed by your manual, attach to the tether point, and pull firmly – there should be no slack in the tether strap.

*please ensure you attach your tether strap to a top tether point, indicated in your manual – and not onto a luggage hook.

 


fitting isofix seat

 

If your child seat fits using a separate ISOFIX base, you can now click the seat into place.  Remember to follow your manuals instructions - some combination ISOFIX seats require you to fit it in full recline!  Once you have clicked the seat unit into place, check that all of the indicators have turned green.



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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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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.


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