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.


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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.



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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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Winter coats and car seats – the winter facts every parent needs to know.

 

The danger you may be putting your child in when travelling in the car this winter.


The temperature is beginning to drop outside, and children are being bundled up in thick winter coats and snowsuits to keep them snug and warm in the cold weather.  But did you know that you are supposed to remove your child’s coat before you strap them into their car seat, and not doing so may put them in danger?

This video demonstrates why winter coats and car seats don't mix:

 


Winter Jacket sequence

 

Leaving your child’s coat on in the car is a problem because it creates a gap between your child and their safety harness. In a collision, the harness isn’t as close to your child’s body as it needs to be to allow it to properly restrain them.

To keep your children safe in the car this winter, remove their coats and jackets and pull the harness tight enough that you can just get two fingers between your child and the straps.


Pic6

 

 

How to keep your child warm:

Despite puffy and thick coats being dangerous, children will still feel a chill when they first get in the car!

There are several ways you can safely keep your child warm.

 

Babies

 

Keep your newborn warm OL

maxi-cosi-pebble-footmuff-confetti

 

 

Babies should be dressed in thin layers when in the car seat, and thick or puffy snowsuits will cause the harness to fit incorrectly.  Instead, use  a cosy toes approved by the child seat manufacturer, or fold a thin blanket in half and tuck it tightly around your baby over the harness, once they are strapped in correctly.  Make sure any blankets do not come up higher than arm pit level.

 

Children 

 

harness toddler

 

Remove children's coats and jackets, and strap them into their car seat properly - then tuck a blanket around them.  Your child will be able to remove the blanket if they get too hot, which they cannot do when they have their coat on, this can lead to them overheating.


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

 

Winterclothing 3 reasons

 

 

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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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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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Do child car seats expire?

The question of 'do child car seats expire' can be a confusing matter. There are many differing timescales given, and car seats in the UK do not come with a stamped expiry date.  It is not always clear when a car seat becomes unsafe to use, and there are car seats on the market designed to last 11 years.

 

Crash test expiry


Child car seats in the UK are tested to regulation 44, of which there have been several amendments.  These are shown as R44.01, R44.02, R44.03 and R44.04.  Child car seats may alternatively be tested to the new car seat regulation R129 (iSize).  Car seats tested to R44.01 or R44.02, are now illegal to sell and use, and car seats which have been tested to R44.03 are likely to be quite old.

R44.03 was introduced in 1995, so seats carrying this approval could be up to 20 years old!


Both of these car seats carry R44.03 approval labels!

 

Both of these car seats carry R44.03 approval labels!

Manufacturer advice


Many manufacturers recommend that you replace or upgrade your child car seats after 5 years, because child car seats are constantly being improved and upgraded, and a new car seat will be able to provide better protection and comfort than an older car seat. A good example of this is the increased availability of Swedish extended rear facing car seats in the UK, or new iSize seats.

 

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Swedish rear facing car seats, which prolong the excellent safety offered by rear facing.


 

 

 

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New iSize car seats pass more stringent testing such as side impact testing, and also require children to rear face for longer.


 

What about the 10 year limit?


Child car seats should not be used for more than 6-10 years, which was a recommendation from America that has been adopted throughout Europe.  Over time, the materials of a car seat will begin to degrade, so an old car seat may not perform as it should do in a collision.

It does not mean that car seats which are more than 10 years old are dangerous to use, provided they meet the correct regulation, are in good condition, with the harness intact and they are fitted and used correctly (and suitable for the child).  However, there have been large advances in child car seat safety and a newer seat will provide the very best protection.


Years

 

Child seats have become much safer over the years


Caution

We do not recommend using a second hand car seat, visit our second hand car seat series to find out why.


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5 steps to strap your child into their car seat correctly

Although strapping your baby in might sound like an easy task, the truth is, it is one of the most common misuses on child car seats.

The harness on a child’s car seat is there to restrain your child, and to absorb the energy from a collision – this blog looks at what you need to do to get it right in five easy steps:



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Step 1:


SNOWSUIT NANIA

 

Remove any thick, puffy or bulky clothing.  Puffy jackets or padded snowsuits – even very frilly tutus or dresses can interfere with the way the harness sits on your child.  The harness needs to sit close to your child’s body to work to the best of its ability, so ensure you remove anything that gets in the way.  To keep your child warm, tightly tuck a blanket around them once they are strapped in or dress them in thin, warm layers.

 

Step 2:


Too low

 

Ensure your harness is at the correct height for your child, an incorrectly adjusted harness will not only be uncomfortable for your child, but potentially dangerous too.  The straps must be as level with their shoulders as possible.

Rear facing : just below the shoulders

Front facing: just above the shoulders

 

Step 3:


twisted harness

 

Ensure your harness is straight and untwisted.  A twisted harness may not absorb the energy from a collision as well as it should do, so it is important to keep an eye on the straps and untwist them as soon as you notice they are not straight.  To untwist your harness, follow this guide:



untwist harness

 

Step 4:


chest pads

 

Pull the straps over your child’s shoulders, and ensure the chest pads are level.

 

Step 5:


tension

 

Pull the harness snug to your child’s body – the straps should be tight enough that you can just slip two fingers flat between your child’s body and their collar bones.

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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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Tips for fitting a child car seat with a seat belt

Fitting a child car seat can be notoriously tricky, so we have put together our top tips to help you along the way!


The key thing to remember with child car seats, is that not every seat fits every car.  It’s easy to think that a belt fitted seat will fit with any seat belt, but there are many potential problems that can undo all your hard work and cause your seat to be fitted dangerously.  Our blogs can help you learn about the dangers of buckle crunch, floor storage boxes and the most common fitting errors.

It is important to seek help when choosing your child car seat, to ensure it is compatible with your car, and every car that the seat will be used in.

Don't forget!  It also has to be suitable for your child!

 

Top 10 tips when fitting a child car seat with an adult seat belt


 

Tip1


Rear facing seats have blue guides, and forward facing seats have red guides.

 

Rear facing seats have blue guides, and forward facing seats have red guides.


If your seat is able to fit rear facing, you will need to follow the BLUE guides.  If your seat is able to fit forward facing, you need to follow the RED guides.

 

Tip2


 

The child seat manual is in many languages.

 

The child seat manual is in many languages.


Read the manual – Although the manual looks very thick and daunting, it is actually in many languages.  The section you need to read is in fact very small, and contains lots of life saving information to help you keep your child safe.   Also, familiarise yourself with the child safety section of your car manual, here you will find lots of information about how to best keep your child safe in your car.  The car manual is also where you need to look for advice about putting your child in the front.

 

Tip3

Watch a fitting video a couple of times before you attempt to fit your child car seat – a majority of manufacturers have fitting videos for their products on their website.

 

Tip4


 

Some vehicles have very sculpted seats, which can cause fitting issues.

 

Some vehicles have very sculpted seats, which can cause fitting issues.


When you place the child car seat in the car, the shell and base of the child seat must be in contact with as much of the vehicle seat as possible. It is possible for the shape of the vehicle seat to cause your child seat to be incompatible!

 


Caution

Resist tipping your baby’s infant carrier seat further back to give a better recline, as it leaves a big gap underneath the seat – this negatively impacts the performance of the seat in a collision.


 

Tip5



Lap Belt OL

A vast majority of child car seats must be fitted with the 3 point adult seat belt. Pull out a length of belt, and pass the lap belt through the lap belt guides, then click the belt in.  Once you have clicked the belt in, firmly pull the shoulder part of the belt, so that it tightens the lap belt.

 

Tip6


Shoulder belt OL

Now pass the adult shoulder belt through the shoulder belt guides, but beware! The belt may not necessarily go through every guide!

 

Tip7



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Take a moment to check the whole seat belt, at every point – ensure it is flat and untwisted.

 

Tip8



Knee in seat OL


Now push the child seat firmly into the vehicle seat, whilst you are doing this, pull the shoulder part of the belt again to make sure there is no slack in the seat belt (as demonstrated in picture above) - both the lap part of the belt and the shoulder belt should be tightly fitted over the child seat.

 

Tip9


Lock off clips hold the seat belt tight, and tension systems help the seat belt to fit more tightly.

 

Lock off clips hold the seat belt tight, and tension systems help the seat belt to fit more tightly.


Activate any lock off clips or tension systems on your seat.

 

Tip10

 

Ensure the seat moves no more than 1 inch in any direction - if your child seat wobbles, seek professional help!

Essential knowledge!



  • When fitting an infant seat, check the position of the carry handle. It is rarely pushed back behind the baby’s head, and is often upright or towards the baby’s feet.

 

  • Silver Cross OL

 

    • If you have an extended rear facing seat, fit the tether straps before you begin fitting the seat




    • When fitting a forward facing group 1 seat, it can make fitting the seat easier to put it in full recline. It gives you more room to pass the belt through the guides on lots of seats.




    • If the vehicle headrest causes a gap between the child seat and vehicle seat, or impairs the fit of the child seat, remove it.

 

head rest removal OL



Stay tuned for our upcoming blog on how to fit ISOfix seats!

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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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