The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

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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Child car seat features

Buying a new car seat can be very confusing, it can be difficult to figure out which stage seat your child needs, particularly when there may be several suitable stages to choose from.  Not only that, but you also have to make sure the seat fits the cars it will be used in, as well as your child.


Group Stages 2014-01

Once you have figured out what stage seat you require, the choice can still be confusing, with large differences in price and different child car seat features.

This blog looks at those features of a car seat, what they do and why they’re useful.

 

Child car seat features

 

Seat belt or ISOFIX


ISOfixbelt fit

Child seats can come as either belt fitted, or ISOFIX – sometimes they have both options!  While both ISOFIX and seat belt fitment is safe when the seat is correctly fitted, ISOFIX is considered easier to fit and it reduces the risk of incorrect fitment.

 

Seat belt tensioner

 


TOBI tensioner

 

Seat belt restrained seats may have a seat belt tensioner, which will help you to achieve a tight fit.  A slack seat belt is a very common error, so a tensioner is a useful tool to help you ensure the seat is firmly fitted.

 

Support leg or top tether


supportlegtoptether

ISOFIX seats tend to have a third point of anchorage, the first being the ISOFIX attachment itself.  The third point of anchorage can come in the form of a support leg or a top tether.  A support leg is more commonly found, however these generally cannot be used on top of a floor storage box lid.  A top tether attaches to an approved top tether point behind the vehicle seat.

The purpose of the third point of anchorage is to reduce the pivotal movement of the seat and absorb energy in a collision.

 

Head support


head support

 

Some child seats will come with a headrest within the seat and this helps to support the child’s head and neck when they are asleep.

 

Easy adjust or re-thread harness

  

easy adjust

 

An 'easy adjust' car seat harness

 

re thread harness

 

A 're-thread' car seat harness



Seats with an integrated headrest also tend to have the harness attached via the headrest, so to adjust the harness, you simply ‘click’ the headrest up or down to gain the correct height.  Other seats may have a re-thread harness, which requires you to take the harness out of the seat and re-thread it at the desired height, which can be quite time consuming, and also carries the risk of the harness being re-attached incorrectly.

 

Are these features essential?


The features described above are present on many car seats, and  car seats without them are certainly not unsafe or dangerous.  The features are designed to make the child seat simpler to use, so if you are not confident fitting a seat, or changing the harness, they are certainly worth looking at!

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