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.



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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A child car seat is not enough

3 - Having a seat - n#39A33

 

 

1It must be the right stage seat for your child


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

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

 

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


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

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

 

3Your seat must be fitted correctly


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

 

4 Use your child seat correctly

 

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

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



1 - Securing Harness

2 - Incorrect-Correct


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What happens at a child car seat checking event?

 

Good Egg Safety is the leading child car seat initiative here in the UK checking more child car seats than any other UK organisation - over 22,000 since our campaign launched in 2001!

We offer free child car seat checking events because we feel that we cannot tell parents their children are in danger from poorly fitted child car seats, yet not offer them a solution!

 

So what happens at a Good Egg child car seat checking event?


Our Good Egg child car seat checking events are always run by a Good Egg Safety Expert.  These are highly trained and dedicated individuals who are able to check a wide range of child car seats.

The checking events normally run 11am - 4pm, although check your local event as times can differ!

The expert arrives early to the event to get set up, and we have a fun height chart for children to measure themselves, as well as a supply of stickers and our FREE Good Egg Guides.  

 

 

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How do we check a car seat?


When we check a car seat, we are checking for 4 things:

 1. That the child seat is compatible with your child

 2. That the child seat is compatible with your car

 3. That the child seat is fitted correctly, either ISOFIX or belt fitment

 4. That the child seat harness or seat belt is used correctly


Finally, we will also give any other useful advice - such as strapping non ISOFIX boosters in when not in use, and the importance of removing puffy clothing.



 

What happens if you've done something wrong?


We strive to ensure that we do not make you feel guilty, or judged if your car seat is incorrectly fitted.  It is very common to see errors on child car seats so it is nothing to feel ashamed about, and you've done the right thing by having your seat checked!

If your car seat is incompatible to your car or child, we clearly explain to you why it is not suitable, and what type of seat is required.  Although this may mean buying a new child car seat, it is not that often that we come across an incompatible seat.

If your child seat is fitted incorrectly, we will explain what the errors are to you, and show you how to put them right.  If your seat needs to be taken out and re-fitted, we will show you how to fit the seat properly, and then ask you to fit it yourself, so you can be fully confident the next time you need to fit your seat.

We also check that your child is strapped in properly, and for this we are ensuring that the harness or seat belt is at the correct height, and that the harness is the correct tension.  If your harness needs adjusting, we are able to show you how to do this.

 

What are the consequences if your seat is found to be incorrectly fitted?


At Good Egg, we always say that it is MUCH better to find an error on your car seat at a checking event, then during a collison.  A car crash would be a very bad time to find that you have an error on your child's car seat!

If you do have an incorrect seat, we will show you how to put it right.

We do not report parents for incorrectly fitted seats - we are more concerned that you are confident to fit the seat correctly in future.

 

 

Having your car seat checked is nothing to worry about, and it may save your child's life.

 

 

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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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What does buckle crunch mean? (Update)

 

When child seats are fitted with the adult seat belt, it must be the webbing of the seat belt holding the seat in place, not the seat belt buckle.  If any part of the plastic seat belt buckle casing is on or over the plastic frame of the seat, it is an unsafe fit, which is called buckle crunch.

Buckle crunch typically happens in vehicle's that have the female buckle on a long stalk, causing it to protrude out of the vehicle seat.

However, buckle crunch can happen on buckles with a shorter stalk, if the wrong car seat is used.



low buckle buckle crunch

 

Why is it dangerous?


Buckle crunch is dangerous, because the plastic casing of the seat belt buckle is bent on or over the plastic of the child seat.  This puts pressure on the casing, and in a collision, the casing could shatter - causing the car seat to not be safely restrained.

  

FF RF buckle crunch avoid

 

The seat on the left is the Maxi Cosi Tobi, which is a forward facing group 1 seat that often avoids buckle crunch. The seat on the right is the Axkid Minikid, which is a rear facing group 1,2 car seat that also often avoids buckle crunch.
 
If your vehicle has ISOFIX, it is useful to use it, as this removes the need for the adult seat belt.  It is important to visit a retailer to buy an ISOFIX seat, as not all ISOFIX seats fit all cars.  ISOFIX child restraints are normally classed as 'Semi Universal', and have a vehicle compatibility list. 


GOODEGG-29.05.14_0076

 

What if your current child car seat has buckle crunch?

 

Buckle Crunch Example 4

 

If you have checked your child’s car seat and found it has buckle crunch (example above), try fitting it in a different seating position in the car. Occasionally the seat belt buckle length differs, and moving the seat to a different position solves the problem.

You can also check your model of child seat, on some seats there may be several ways to secure it, with one of those methods avoiding buckle crunch.

As an example, the Britax First Class has an alternative buckle routing:



Buckle crunch collage
If your child car seat and car are incompatible due to buckle crunch, you will have to replace the child seat with one that fits safely.

 

Do all types car seats suffer with buckle crunch?


No, only seats which use harness to restrain the child, and occasionally an impact shield, can have buckle crunch.  It is dangerous because the seat belt is holding the child seat in place, and the child seat is restraining the child with a harness.  In a collision, this puts a lot of pressure and force on the child seat, seat belt and buckle.

High back boosters and booster cushions do not get buckle crunch, because the booster is simply a 'belt positioning' device, which lifts the child up so the adult belt can fit them safely.

It is not dangerous for the buckle to sit over the frame of a high back booster - although you do need to make sure the buckle doesn't sit under and behind the frame of the seat, as this gives an unnatural belt route.

 

Examples of 'buckle crunch'


buckle crunch example 2

Buckle Crunch example 3
Maxi Cosi Buckle Crunch

Buckle Crunch Quick tip

Check with your vehicle manufacturer dealership, they may be able to fit shorter buckles into your car.


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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



007

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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The importance of getting your car seat checked

Good Egg Safety car seat checking events


Car seats under £100

 

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

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

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

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

 

What happens at a child seat checking event?


GE

 

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

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

Checking the seat fits your car:

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

 

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



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



Checking the seat fits your child:

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

 

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

 

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



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



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What should you do if you breakdown this winter?

Breaking down is inconvenient, potentially dangerous and expensive. It’s the last thing you need to happen on a cold winter trip, but breakdowns do still happen. They’re also more likely to occur in winter – so what should you do if you do break down?  Below are our top tips for dealing with a break down!



Tip1



Have a break down kit in the car! This should contain:


Breaking down kit

Tip2



When you begin having difficulties: pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. On motorways, try and drive your car off the motorway, but if this is not possible, pull as far over to the left on the hard shoulder as possible and turn your wheels to the left. On other roads, try and get your car off the road, if you can’t, pull as far over to the left as possible.



Tip3



Let other road users know you are having difficulties: put your hazard lights on, and when you have pulled over, apply your side lights. On motorways, you should not attempt to put a warning triangle out. On other roads, place a warning triangle 45 meters behind your car on the same side of the road, if it is safe to do so.



Tip4



Exit the vehicle from the left: On motorways it is extremely dangerous to exit on the side of the car nearest to the carriageway.

Take your children out of the car, but leave any pets in the car unless they are in danger - excited or scared pets on a motorway can be an extreme hazard to themselves and other road users.  Even if you have to climb over or find it difficult to get the children out of the car, it is vital you do so from passenger side.

On other roads, exit your car if you have any fear it may be hit by other vehicles.  You may exit your car normally if you are off the road, or it is safe to do so.

Keep the warm and waterproof clothing available, you may have a wait before the breakdown service arrives.



Tip5



Staying safe: Move away from your vehicle, and if you’re on the motorway stand behind the barrier. Put your hi visibility jacket on and  ensure your passengers wear theirs too.  Do not stand between oncoming traffic and your vehicle.

If you are on the motorway do not attempt roadside repairs.

On other roads, only make repairs if it is safe to do so.



Tip6



Phone for help: Use your mobile to call your breakdown cover provider.  If you don't have breakdown cover, most providers will provide cover on the spot (for an additional fee).  There are also breakdown companies who will collect on a one off basis, however this normally works out to be very expensive.

If you’re on the motorway, look out for the driver location sign which will help you pinpoint your location to the operator.


driver-location-sign

 

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