The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

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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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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What is a car seat base?

 

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

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

What are the options?


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

This base may only be fitted with the seat belt.

 

This base may only be fitted with the seat belt.

This base may only be fitted with ISOFix.

 

This base may only be fitted with ISOFIX.

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

 

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

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

 

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


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

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

 

Fitting issues


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

 

Should you buy one?


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

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


Elena SC

 

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


0+ Car Seat

 

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

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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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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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Second hand car seats case study 1 - Mamas and Papas Traveller G-Matic

Welcome to case study 1!

Throughout November we are focusing on the dangers second hand seats pose to children and their families.

We are running four case studies on seats that our expert has bought from eBay – this installment is going to look at the first seat our expert found, it is a Mama's and Papa's Traveller G-Matic.

The seller on eBay stated:

"The seat has never been involved in an accident, is in good condition and suitable from 0-6 months.

What are the problems with this seat?

First of all, this seat is old, which we can see from the design of the covers and the frame of the seat. A seat this old will not offer the protection current seats can, and it is unlikely to pass higher impact testing or side impact testing.

This seat is a group 0 rear facing infant seat, these are rarely made in rear facing mode now. This means a child could only rear face to 10kg in this seat, where most modern seats allow rear facing to 13kg – up to about 12/15 months old.

Is it legal?

The seat has an ECE sticker on the rear, which shows it to be an R44.03 approved seat. This means that the seat can still legally be used, despite it's age. However, R44.03 was released in 1995 – so this seat could be anywhere up to 19 years old!

Is it easy to fit?

The fitment of the seat is what we are used to seeing on infant seats nowadays, with the lap belt over the baby's lap and the chest belt around the back of the seat. The handle also has to be back on this seat, rather than upright. On most modern infant seats, the handle is upright or forward to allow it to act as a roll cage in a collision.

This seat has no newborn inserts or head huggers, and the side impact protection is lacking. Under R44.03 and R44.04 crash testing, side impact protection is not currently a legal requirement, however many modern R44.04 infant seats will provide side impact protection.

This harness must be adjusted individually from the back of the seat. This means that the harness is even less likely to be used correctly, as it is very difficult and fiddly to alter the straps as your child grows/to suit their clothing. Also note that there is only one harness position.

The primary concern with this seat – and it should be with any seat you do not know the history of – is that it is second hand. A stranger is telling us that this is going to protect our child's life – is the word of a stranger good enough?

Our expert paid £5.99 for this seat, plus postage – worth the bargain?

No. This seat is now too old to be sure of it's safety and effectiveness, even if it wasn't second hand. We have no idea of the history of the seat and the way in which the seat is fitted and used means it most likely won't be adjusted correctly.

The seat did not fit safely in our expert's vehicle either – can you spot what is wrong with the fitment of this seat in this vehicle?

So, is this seat safe?

No.

This seat is not a safe or suitable child restraint to use. It is unlikely to be able to pass crash testing, it has a small seat shell meaning it won't last very long and the seat provides no side impact protection.

Second hand car seats pose a huge threat to children's safety – don't let a child you know be put in danger! – raise awareness!

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Second hand car seats case study 1 - Mama's and Papa's Traveller G-Matic

Welcome to case study 1!


Throughout November we are focusing on the dangers second hand seats pose to children and their families.

We are running four case studies on seats that our expert has bought from an auction wesbite - this installment is going to look at the first seat our expert found, it is a Mama’s and Papa’s Traveller G-Matic.

 

The seller online stated:


"The seat has never been involved in an accident, is in good condition and suitable from 0-6 months."

 

close up OL

 

What are the problems with this seat?



First of all, this seat is old, which we can see from the design of the covers and the frame of the seat.  A seat this old will not offer the protection current seats can, and it is unlikely to pass higher impact testing or side impact testing.

This seat is a group 0 rear facing infant seat, these are rarely made in rear facing mode now.  This means a child could only rear face to 10kg in this seat, where most modern seats allow rear facing to 13kg – up to about 12/15 months old.

 

Is it legal?


The seat has an ECE sticker on the rear, which shows it to be an R44.03 approved seat. This means that the seat can still legally be used, despite it’s age.



ECE R44.03 OL

 

However, R44.03 was released in 1995 - so this seat could be anywhere up to 19 years old!

 

Is it easy to fit?


The fitment of the seat is what we are used to seeing on infant seats nowadays, with the lap belt over the baby’s lap and the chest belt around the back of the seat.



Fitted OL

 

The handle also has to be back on this seat, rather than upright. On most modern infant seats, the handle is upright or forward to allow it to act as a roll cage in a collision.

This seat has no newborn inserts or head huggers, and the side impact protection is lacking. Under R44.03 and R44.04 crash testing, side impact protection is not currently a legal requirement,  however many modern R44.04 infant seats will provide side impact protection.

Under R129 iSize side impact protection is a legal requirement which is crash tested.

The harness on this seat is also different to what we see on modern seats.



Harness old OL

 

This harness must be adjusted individually from the back of the seat. This means that the harness is even less likely to be used correctly, as it is very difficult and fiddly to alter the straps as your child grows/to suit their clothing. Also note that there is only one harness position.

The primary concern with this seat – and it should be with any seat you do not know the history of – is that it is second hand. A stranger is telling us that this is going to protect our child’s life – is the word of a stranger good enough?

 

Our expert paid £5.99 for this seat, plus postage – worth the bargain?


No. This seat is now too old to be sure of it’s safety and effectiveness, even if it wasn’t second hand. We have no idea of the history of the seat and the way in which the seat is fitted and used means it most likely won’t be adjusted correctly.

The seat did not fit safely in our expert’s vehicle either – can you spot what is wrong with the fitment of this seat in this vehicle?

 


Mamas and Papa's in car 002

 

So, is this seat safe?

 

No.


This seat is not a safe or suitable child restraint to use.  It is unlikely to be able to pass crash testing,  it has a small seat shell meaning it won't last very long and the seat provides no side impact protection.

Second hand car seats pose a huge threat to children's safety - don't let a child you know be put in danger! Raise awareness!


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VAT on child car seats

What do you think the VAT rate is for child car seats?


0%?

jodiekidd1



Child car seats carry a VAT rate of 5% on them – according to Halfords that costs parents £31 million a year.  That’s an extra addition for parents to pay for an essential piece of baby equipment – one that is a legal requirement.

 

The Law


The law states that all children under the age of 12 years or 135cm in height must legally use a child restraint suitable for their size and weight when travelling in a car, van or goods vehicle.  There are very few exceptions to this law – to read more on the exceptions click here.

 

Why should parents pay extra?

 


jodiekidd2

 

You can’t put a price on your child’s life.  Ask any parent and they will do everything they can to keep their child safe in the car, however the cost of child car seats can seem prohibitive to many parents, which is why so many are buying online or second hand.

Good Egg Safety has checked more child car seats than any other organisation and from 10,000 car seat checks, we have found an average incorrect fitment rate of 54%.  This has risen over the last 3 years - along with the increased trend of buying online, but also second hand.  Increasing numbers of parents are accepting hand me downs and buying from auction sites, as they want to get their child a good quality seat, but at an affordable price.

 

What would it mean to parents and carers?


Not having to pay VAT on car seats essentially means more money in your pocket – but it also means that parents and carers may be able to afford to get a better seat, or two seats so they don’t have to swap between cars, which carries a risk of incorrectly fitting the seat.  It may mean parents and carers will be able to afford to visit a store for advice, rather than having to purchase online to get an affordable seat, which in turn will help keep their children safer.

When you think of how much you spend on seats through your child’s car seat years, 5% off each purchase would soon add up!

 

What’s happened so far?


Halfords have launched a campaign to have VAT removed from child car seats, and have written to the Treasury to raise this issue.  The Treasury responded to inform them that the 5% VAT rate on child restraints is not an option to remove, as VAT changes are dictated by the agreement of all EU member states.

Yet this tax costs parents in the UK £31 million a year.  That doesn’t include grandparents and other carers who may also purchase seats for children they look after.  Halfords have responded to the letter with the following statement:

“We understand that the EU has a deliberately complex process to prevent the introduction of any new zero rates, however we believe it’s unfair that families are being charged VAT for essential safety equipment and we’re standing up for all families currently paying more than they need to” – Emma Fox, Commercial Director, Halfords.

 

What can you do?


Halfords are running a Zero VAT campaign, they have a petition set up here.  You can sign the petition link to join the call for the 5% VAT rate on a legally required piece of baby equipment to be removed.

 

 

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