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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Flying with young children

 

There are lots of blogs and advice guides out there giving fantastic hints and tips for parents travelling or flying with young children. Many of them mention to take a child car seat, but it isn’t always as easy and straightforward as that.

What do you need to know to help you decide if you are going to take a car seat with you for the plane? That is what we are going to explore in this 'Flying with young children' blog.

For a long time while in planes young children have travelled on their parents lap and babies in bassinets.  Yet more and more parents are concerned and want their child in a proper restraint. Using a car seat on the plane gives you a safe place to secure your baby should you hit turbulence.

 

Flying with young children 1 

 

Read the full story here!


Car seats also give little ones a properly secured place for take off and landing - the most dangerous parts of the flight.  They can also protect the child in an emergency landing, as this story shows:


Flying with young children 2

Blog Quick tip

Slings and carriers are not deemed safe for take off or landing and you will be requested to remove your little one and hold them on your lap.

 

What you need to know about taking a car seat on board!

 

1. You will have to buy your baby/child their own seat on the plane


Some airlines will allow you to take a seat on board without having booked the child their own seat - yet this is not guaranteed to keep the family together and there may not be any spare seats left when it comes to boarding.  The airline may also refuse even if there is space. It is advisable to start off with paying for the plane seat for the child.

Blog Quick tip

Before paying out for a separate seat for your child (unless you were opting to regardless of using a child seat!) make sure your airline will allow the use of the child seat.

 

2. It must be a TUV approved child car seat


There are some UK child seats that are TUV approved for use on aircraft.  Having a TUV approved seat does not guarantee that you will be allowed to use it - the decision resides with the airline.  It also does not mean that you can’t use a different seat that is not TUV approved.  If the seat is not TUV approved you must remember that airplanes only have lap belts and the child restraint must be certified to be fitted with a lap belt.

Blog Jargon buster

TUV approved means that the seat has been tested and approved by TUV Rheinland to be suitable for use on an aircraft.

 

3. Confirm that the make and model of your seat is allowed


When you confirm with the airline that you can take your own child seat on the plane, also confirm with them if the make and model of your seat is allowed, and what child seats they accept, you need to ensure this whether your seat is approved or not. You don’t want to get to check-in to be told that you cannot take your seat on board.  If you can, get confirmation from the airline that you can use the child seat in writing and take this with you to show the airline staff if needed.  If the child seat that your child normally uses is not approved or allowed then you will need to buy a new one.

Blog Quick tip

Children over the age of 2 must have their own plane seat purchased - always check your airline’s policy.


Flying with young children 3


It is also worth checking to see if your airline supplies child seats. Virgin Atlantic states that it can supply child restraints on international flights, so long as they are pre-booked.

Using UK seats abroad


All child car seats within the European Union (EU) are tested to ECE  R44.04 or R129 i-Size.  Child seats carrying the ECE approval R44.03, R44.04 or R129 (i-Size) may be used within the European Union.

If you wish to use your child car seat when you reach your destination, it is worth noting that an EU approved child restraint cannot normally be used in countries outside of the EU. This is because different countries have different laws and testing that European Union seats may not meet.  The same is true for any seat outside of the EU that is brought over to Europe.

As an example, a parent flying to the USA may be allowed to use their child restraint on the aircraft, but once they land, their seat cannot then be used in a car or taxi.

If you are from the UK and flying to a destination within the EU, then you can use your UK car seat when you are on holiday.

If you are unsure check with your holiday provider, the local road safety department or the British embassy in that country.

 

Using a child car seat at your destination


If you hire a car when you get to your destination many hire companies will also hire out child car seats at an additional cost. If you decide to do this ensure that you are completely happy with the child car seat’s quality and that you have fitted it correctly.

If you are not happy with the seat you can also choose to purchase one whilst on holiday. This could potentially work out cost effective if you were using the hire car for the whole duration of the holiday.

Even if you are not hiring a car, some countries require children to travel in a suitable child restraint in taxis. Some taxi firms will have specific vehicles with restraints fitted, however it is wise to check with the taxi firm or transport company you will be using to reach your hotel.

Travelling by coach transfer also needs to be confirmed, firstly to see if you need a child restraint, and also if your child restraint can be used, should you want to use it - even if you don’t have to.

As always, when you are fitting the car seat in the car or on the coach, make sure that it is a compatible fit and correctly fitted.



Top 8 tip when bringing a child car seat onto a plane

 

TUV approved child restraints


As of the 21st May 2014, below are the TUV airline approved child car seats.

This list may be updated and if you are in any doubt, phone the manufacturer of your child car seat.

    • Maxi Cosi Pebble

 

    • Maxi Cosi Citi

 

    • Britax Baby Safe

 

    • Britax Baby Safe Plus

 

    • Britax Baby Safe Plus SHR

 

    • Concord Ion




    • Kiddy Guardian Pro

 

    • Kiddy Guardian Pro 2

 

    • Kiddy Comfort Pro

 

    • Kiddy Discovery Pro

 

    • Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro

 

    • Kiddy Energy Pro

 

    • Kiddy Phoenix Pro

 

    • Kiddy Phoenix fix Pro

 

    • Kiddy Phoenix fix Pro 2

 

    • Kiddy Guardian fix Pro

 

    • Kiddy Guardian fix Pro 2

 

    • Britax Eclipse.



Remember:  the final decision to allow a child restraint to be used lies with the airline.

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