The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

Road Safety Scotland launches major new campaign in response to potentially fatal child seat fitting errors

Road Safety Scotland, in partnership with leading child seat specialist, Good Egg Safety, has launched a major new campaign over the summer to warn parents about potentially fatal common errors made in fitting child car seats.

Images of incorrectly- fitted child seats will be released via social media and backed up by nine short videos produced in partnership with the Arnold Clark Group, to graphically demonstrate why the child seats, or the children seated within them, are unsafe.

Good Egg has already issued an urgent safety alert on social media for parents in relation to incorrect routing of seatbelts through child seats, which is being found in 1 in 10 of their child seat checks across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Jan James, Good Egg Safety CEO said: 'these routing errors could mean the difference between life or death for a baby or child if they were involved in a collision, and yet, they are very simple to fix.We strongly urge parents, grandparents and all who carry children in a car, to take just two minutes to view our video. This shows why it's dangerous and how easy it is to correct it and make the seat safer."

This coincides with a new programme of 50 free checking events across Scotland where parents, grandparents and carers can go for further reassurance. Previous checks in Scotland have shown that, on average, 54% of child car seats are incorrectly-fitted or incompatible with the child or the vehicle.

All the new videos are set to go online as the annual Good Egg in-car child safety campaign is launched; funded by Road Safety Scotland and supported by The Arnold Clark Group, Britax Romer and Police Scotland.

Michael McDonnell, Director of Road Safety Scotland, said: "Many parents would be horrified to learn their child car seats are not fitted properly and, therefore, not providing the protection their children need.This campaign seeks to highlight that, not only by raising awareness of the issue and providing advice and guidance, but it also has a very practical element in that people can check the website, find the nearest car seat clinic and get the child-seat-car combination checked by an expert. It only takes a few minutes yet could save a child's life."

Superintendent Louise Blakelock of Police Scotland said, "It is absolutely essential that child safety seats are properly fitted, as the consequences of them not being so can be fatal for a young child, even in a relatively slow speed collision.We continue to work with partners to highlight the dangers and encourage parents and carers to ensure their precious passengers are properly and safely secured."

George Baggley of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service stated: "The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service would urge anyone transporting children to go along to a Good Egg car seat checking event. Once there, you can have expert advice and the reassurance that your child is safely and securely seated in the car."

Eddie Hawthorne, Chief Executive & Group Managing Director of Arnold Clark, said: "It's vital that parents and carers know how to keep their little one's safe when travelling by car and we are very proud to support Good Egg and help raise awareness of potentially dangerous issues" 

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Child Car Seat Standards Change

There have been many reports regarding the new stricter rules about booster cushions and this has caused much confusion.

This new amendment to the current regulation 44 is now in effect. This means that parents who currently have booster cushions can legally continue to use them as they have been.

Any new backless booster seats (booster cushion) coming to market from the 9th February 2017 will only be suitable for children above 22kg AND 125cm. Stock that was introduced before this date, will still be eligible for sale.

However, we always recommend that children travel in the high back booster if they are the correct weight and height for it, and fit comfortably within the headrest. A high back booster provides additional head, neck, torso protection and side impact protection that a booster cushion does not.



There are currently two child car seat regulations running alongside each other – R44.04, which are the weight based car seats, and R129, which is a new regulation.

R129 is making seats easier to choose, fit and use. However, R44.04 weight based approved seats will still be sold, legal and safe for some years to come. One of the key features of R44 is that child seats are chosen based on weight:

Group 0+ (infant seats) – 0 to 13kg
Group 1 (toddler seats) – 9kg to 18kg
Group 2,3 (Booster seats) – 15kg to 36kg

Part of the problem with R44, is that children tend to be moved up a stage as soon as they reach the minimum weight limit for the next stage, when it is actually safer for them to stay in each stage seat until they reach the maximum weight limit for their current stage. A step up in group stage is a step down in safety.


R44.04 currently allows boosters, even booster cushions, to be approved from 15kg – this can legally be a child as young as 2 years or less! While the weight limit is the main factor, there are also height considerations to take into account. A child can be 15kg in weight, yet still be far too small to use a booster.

Children's bones are very different from adults, and their hips and pelvis are very small and set far back. The hips and pelvis are what helps to keep a seat belt in place, and absorb energy. These bones are not really strong enough for a seat belt until a child is around 4 years of age. There are 25kg harness limit seats for children who reach the 18kg harness weight limit at a young age.

Children under 125cm in height and 22kg weight will not be allowed to use a newly type approved (R44.04 supplement 11) booster cushion, but can still use booster cushions that were approved prior to the implementation date.  Otherwise, they will have to use a high back booster.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly at enquiries@goodeggsafety.com

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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 for R44 seats:

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 R44 forward facing car seat 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. If you have an i-Size R129 seat then the minimum age to keep rear facing until is 15 months.

Babies can legally move to a front facing seat at the 9kg minimum weight, but they must fit in the harness correctly.  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.


Elena Car Seats 015



If your baby is 9kg and outgrowing their baby seat by height you can also use a rear facing group 1 or 1,2 seat as well as the option of a 0+1 seat.



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Recap


Group 0+1: newborn - 18kg (newborn - approx 4 yrs)

Group 1: 9 - 18kg (mainly front facing, but rear facing seats available) (up to approx 4 years)

Group 1,2: 9-25kg (mainly rear facing) (Up to approx 6 years)

 

So… when can my baby move forward facing?  


Legally you can currently turn your baby forward facing once they weigh 20lb/9kg and they must also be sitting completely unaided for a minimum of 30 minutes.  If you are using an i-Size car seat, you must legally rear face until a minimum of 15 months.  Eventually, all children will be rear facing to at least 15 months by law.

However, ideally you would not move forward facing until they are at least 18kg/4 years old.  A rear facing group 1 (or group 1,2 seat) will provide much better protection for your child from the most dangerous and most common type of impact - a frontal impact.  The younger a child moves forward facing, the less protection they have in a crash - it could be the difference between life and death.  This doesn’t mean that you should ignore maximum outgrown limits on your seats however!  If your baby has outgrown the rear facing limit of their seat, they will need to move up to the next stage, be that rear or forward facing.

 

Are forward facing seats dangerous?

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.

 

Forward facing when carrying your child
Momlovesbest

All you need to know about carrying your child from our friends at Mom Loves Best

 

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What to consider when choosing the next stage car seat?

What to consider when choosing the next stage car seat?

Life as a new parent comes with lots of challenges, including choosing car seats! Before you know it, your little one is starting to look a little big for his/her first stage seat. So, is it time to move up to a bigger seat? Should you choose a forward or rear-facing seat? What do you need to consider?


When is the infant carrier outgrown? 


Firstly, check the approval sticker on your car seat (often found underneath.)This will tell you the regulation your seat is approved to and its weight and/or height limit.



Most infant carriers are approved to R44/04 and classed as a group 0+. These seats have a weight limit of 13kg/29lbs. They are also outgrown when the top of your baby's head is level with the top of the seat.

If you have an infant carrier approved to R129 (i-Size) then it will have a height limit, e.g. 75cm, and possibly a weight limit too. These limits are clearly marked on the seat.

The infant carrier is outgrown once your child reaches the height or weight limit, whichever comes first. Don't worry about long legs over the edge, they are perfectly safe; or that your baby looks "squashed" – think of the car seat as a crash helmet, a tight fit is good.



Should I choose a forward or rear-facing seat?


It is safest to rear-face your child for as long as possible. This is due to their anatomy and the physics of an accident.Young children have relatively larger heads with less developed neck bones and muscles.In a frontal impact the head is thrown forwards, putting stress on the neck and spinal cord. The less developed the spine is, the greater the risk of serious injury. When rear-facing, the child's head, neck and spine are kept in alignment and the force is spread out over a greater area.


Does this mean forward facing seats are dangerous?


Simple answer is no. Since car seat regulations were introduced in the 1980's the number of fatally and seriously injured children has reduced. Forward facing seats do offer adequate protection as long as they are fitted and used correctly. However, rear-facing provides even better protection for your little one. If you do decide to buy a forward facing seat it is advised to keep your child in the infant carrier until it is completely outgrown.


What does the law say?


If you have a seat approved under R44/04 then it is legal to put your child into a forward facing car seat at 9kg.However, they should be able to sit unaided for at least 30 minutes and fit the seat they are going into.

If you have an i-Size seat, then legally your child must stay rear-facing until 15 months.Each i-Size seat also has a minimum height limit for forward facing.

Bear in mind that the law is a minimum standard: experts recommend rear-facing up to 4 years.


What else do I need to consider?


If your child doesn't like the infant carrier, or you would prefer to move them into a bigger seat, then you could look at Group 0+1 as these are rear-facing from birth initially, then turn forward facing at 9kg. Some can even rear-face up to 18kg. Or if your little one is 9kg and you would like a rear-facing seat then a Group 1,2 may suit you. Have a look at our car seat selector tool as it can help when choosing a seat:


Follow these points:


1. Check your child's height and weight

2. Keep your child in the infant carrier until it is completely outgrown

3. Choose a seat that is suitable for your child

4. Choose a seat that is suitable for vehicle/s that the seat will be fitted into

5. Visit a retailer to try a few seats in your car

6. Consider rear-facing for optimum safety

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Child seat group stages

For child car seats to legally be sold in the UK, they must pass various tests and gain recognised approval. To be sold, they can be approved to R44.04, which is a regulation that has been running for some years, or they can be tested under the new R129 (i-Size) standard, which was established in summer 2013.

This blog looks at the different group stages for R44.04 child car seats, along with the weight and the height limits that you should take into consideration. There are three main group stages and also combination group stages to create multi stage, longer lasting seats.


Group 0+


Continue reading
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What is a top tether?

​When you buy or use an ISOFIX child car seat, it will have the two ISOFIX bars on the back of the seat, and almost all ISOFIX seats will then have a third point of anchorage. This third point of anchorage is very important, as it prevents the ISOFIX child seat from moving too much in a collision. The third point of anchorage will either be a support leg, which is a very popular option, or a top tether. This article is focusing on the top tether – how to use it, what it does and the benefits.

What is a top tether?

The top tether is the third point of anchorage on an ISOFIX child car seat. It is a length of webbing which is attached to the back of the child seat, with a hook on the end. The top tether strap must have a green indicator on it to show when it has been pulled tightly enough.

How do you use a top tether?

​The top tether will pass over the top of the vehicle seat, and hook onto the top tether point. The top tether point will either be in the boot, on the back of the vehicle seat, or it may be in the roof of the car.

Top tether points are normally indicated with the anchor logo, or your car handbook will tell you where your point is.

What does it do?

As we have already mentioned, ISOFIX seats tend to have a third point of anchorage, which reduces dangerous movement of the seat in a collision. The top tether hooks behind the child seat onto the bracket in the car holding it in place, along with the ISOFIX arms.

In a collision, a child seat will move forward, and the seat can pivot on the ISOFIX arms. To prevent this from happening, and to also absorb energy from a collision, the top tether point is able to then reduce movement in the seat along with the ISOFIX, and absorb crash forces.

It is very important to ensure the top tether is used, if it is supplied.

What are the benefits?

Many ISOFIX seats have the support leg which reaches into the floor well, and this leg does the same job as the top tether point. However, the support leg is not compatible with every vehicle, and cannot be used in conjunction with floor storage compartments.

For ISOFIX seats with a top tether, there are not so many constraints. Providing the ISOFIX seat with top tether is classed as universal, and your cars' ISOFIX and top tether point are approved as universal, you are able to fit the seat in the car.

Top tether seats also tend to take up less room in the car, as there is no support leg in the cab – this can make it much easier for other passengers to get in and out, particularly older siblings who may sit in the middle.

ISOFIX seats with tethers may also be lighter, and therefore quicker and easier to move from car to car, as there is no heavy leg attached to the base.

Finally, ISOFIX + Top tether seats have all the same features and benefits that you would expect, such as easy adjust harnessing, some seats offer longer rear facing, and some even swivel!

Anything to consider?

As with any seat you buy, it is very important to ensure the seat fits every car it will be going into. Not all cars have top tether points, so be sure to check each car. Many ISOFIX + Top tether seats are ISOFIX only, very few have an option belt the seat in the car.

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The hidden projectile in your car - Booster seats

The hidden projectile in your car - Booster seats

 

When children are younger, they use a child car seat that contains a harness to restrain them. This seat is fitted into the car, where it normally stays strapped in, so even when your little one is not in the car, their seat remains restrained.

 

  

 

The next stage seat - boosters

When it comes to your child moving up to a booster seat, both the seat and the child are restrained with the adult seat belt.

 

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This means that unless you buy an ISOFIX booster seat, you need to remember to strap the booster in when not in use.

 

Why?

An unrestrained booster will multiply its weight by the force of a collision, so if you have a crash when your child is not in the car, but their booster is sat on the back seat - you have a very heavy projectile waiting to hit someone!

  

Spot the Error!

 

Spot the error! Take the above child seat, the Britax Adventure. This seat is known for being lightweight and portable, so it is easy to move between vehicle's. This child seat weighs just 3.9kg. In a 30mph collision, the seats weight will be multiplied, and when the seat flies forward, it will hit whatever it impacts with a weight of 117kg - or 18.4 stone! If you have a little one sat next to the seat that is flying around, or a passenger in the front, or even if the seat is behind you as a driver - 18 stone hitting the back of the seat, or a person is not good news! So for the safety of all, remember to strap in your non ISOFIX booster seat!

 

ISOFIX Boosters

 

KIDFIX_II - edited

 

ISOFIX boosters don't need to be strapped in when your little one is not in the car, because the ISOFIX provides a rigid attachment to the vehicle. Just one of the great benefits of ISOFIX! Both ISOFIX and non-ISOFIX booster seats offer great protection for a child, but remember to strap in the non-ISOFIX booster when your child isn't out and about with you!

 

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Terms and Conditions

Good Egg Safety Competition - Terms & Conditions

1.By submitting your entry to this Promotion, you agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.

2.Entry instructions form part of these Terms and Conditions.

3.Entry is open to residents of the United Kingdom. All Directors, management and employees (and the immediate families of directors, management and employees) of the Promoter or the agencies or companies associated with this Promotion are not permitted to enter the Promotion.

4.The Promotion closes at 17:00 on 29/06/20 ("Closing Date") (being the "Promotional Period").

5.The winner will be selected by means of a random draw conducted by an independent person to be undertaken by 30th June 2020 (the "Draw").

6.The winner will be notified of the fact that they have won within 7 days of the Draw. The winner will then be asked to supply details for delivery of their prize. Prizes shall be delivered within 30 days of notification to the winner on receipt of details.

7.The Promoter will use reasonable endeavours to contact the Winner by email or telephone. If the winner does not respond within 4 weeks of the notification, then the Winner forfeits the right to claim the Prize and the Promoter is free to randomly choose another winner, again by an independent person.

8.The Promoter reserves the right to cancel, amend, terminate or temporarily suspend this competition at any time with no liability to any entrant, third party or Promoter

9. ONE winner will be chosen and the following prize is available: Child restraint suitable for their child and at the discretion of Good Egg Safety experts.

10.No cash or alternative prizes are available.

11.If for any reason any aspect of the Promotion does not function correctly, whether by means of infection by computer virus, network failure, bugs, tampering, unauthorised intervention, fraud (including, but not limited to, the submission of bulk or automated entries whether through use of bots or otherwise), technical failures or any cause beyond the control of the Promoter that corrupts or affects the administration, integrity or fairness of the Promotion, then the Promoter may at its sole discretion cancel, modify or suspend the Promotion and/or invalidate affected entries.

12.The Promoter and its associated agencies and companies accept no liability for any loss, expense or damage which is suffered or sustained (whether or not arising from any person's negligence) in connection with the Promotion and/or prize.

13.Internet access required and only one entry per IP address.

14.Entrants under the age of 18 must seek the permission of their parent/guardian before entering this Promotion.

15.The Promoter's decision in all matters relating to the Promotion is final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into.

16.Should you win, you agree to take part for free in any publicity for the Promotion as requested by the Promoter.

17.Name and country of residence of the winner will be available upon request after 30th June 2020 in writing to the Promoter, marked "Winner List – Good Egg Safety – Competition Child Seat 2020".

18.This Promotion is subject to English law and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

The Promoter is Good Egg Safety CIC, 20-22, Wenlock Road London

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My child escapes the harness when I am driving - help!

 

Does your child escape the harness?

Lots of parents have had the moment when you are driving along, glance at your little one and they’re having the time of their life on the back seat – with their arms in the air and out of the straps! So what can you do when your little one develops this habit?


GOODEGG-29.05.14_0380

  

So what can you do when your little one develops this habit?

Be sure to remove any coats or puffy jackets and snowsuits  These thick items of clothing create a gap between your child and the harness, making it super easy for them to wriggle out!

Check the strap height – The straps should be level with your little one’s shoulders, at the point where the straps come out of the seat. If you can’t get the straps quite level, they may dip slightly below when rear facing, and sit just above the shoulders when forward facing.

Make sure the straps are tight enough – Pull the harness tight, and do the ‘dual test’. This is: ensuring you can fit no more than 2 fingers between your child and the harness at collar bone level, then check that you cannot pinch the harness strap together.

 

They still do it!

If you have done the above, and your child still escapes, you may want to try an aftermarket product designed to block the gap they get their arms out of.

 

5-point-plus 

The 5 point plus is a fully crash tested and approved anti escape device, which is also recommended by child seat manufacturers.  It is a long piece of breathable fabric which sits behind your child, and comes under their arms to wrap around the straps.  This then blocks the gap that they are getting their arms through to wriggle free.

 

Chest clips

There is a lot of confusion surrounding chest clips in the UK.  It is currently illegal to sell a child car seat in the UK, with a chest clip as part of the child seat.  This is because our approval requirements state that a child must be released from the child seat in one movement.  However, this does not apply to aftermarket products, and you can legally fit an aftermarket chest clip to your child’s car seat.

If you do choose to use a chest clip it is very important to check the following points:

That the clip safely and securely fits to the harness straps – it must not interfere with the placement of the chest pads on your child’s car seat.

The chest clip MUST sit at your child’s armpit level. It is very dangerous to get this wrong.

Once your child has broken the habit of wriggling their arms out, remove the chest clip.

 

Nothing works…

If nothing else works, you may need to buy your child a different child car seat.  For children very determined to escape the harness, or for those that really dislike it, an impact shield car seat is an alternative. 

 

Cybex Pallas

 

These can be better for children who often escape, as there is no 5 point harness in the seat to restrain them.  Instead they are restrained with an ‘impact shield’, which is placed over them, and the adult belt is placed over the shield to secure the child.

These seats often cover group stage 1,2,3, and will convert to be a high back booster, so it will be the last seat you need to buy your child.

 

Has your child ever escaped the straps?  What did you do to teach them to keep their arms in?

 

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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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