The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

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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Do child car seats expire?

The question of 'do child car seats expire' can be a confusing matter. There are many differing timescales given, and car seats in the UK do not come with a stamped expiry date.  It is not always clear when a car seat becomes unsafe to use, and there are car seats on the market designed to last 11 years.

 

Crash test expiry


Child car seats in the UK are tested to regulation 44, of which there have been several amendments.  These are shown as R44.01, R44.02, R44.03 and R44.04.  Child car seats may alternatively be tested to the new car seat regulation R129 (iSize).  Car seats tested to R44.01 or R44.02, are now illegal to sell and use, and car seats which have been tested to R44.03 are likely to be quite old.

R44.03 was introduced in 1995, so seats carrying this approval could be up to 20 years old!


Both of these car seats carry R44.03 approval labels!

 

Both of these car seats carry R44.03 approval labels!

Manufacturer advice


Many manufacturers recommend that you replace or upgrade your child car seats after 5 years, because child car seats are constantly being improved and upgraded, and a new car seat will be able to provide better protection and comfort than an older car seat. A good example of this is the increased availability of Swedish extended rear facing car seats in the UK, or new iSize seats.

 

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Swedish rear facing car seats, which prolong the excellent safety offered by rear facing.


 

 

 

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New iSize car seats pass more stringent testing such as side impact testing, and also require children to rear face for longer.


 

What about the 10 year limit?


Child car seats should not be used for more than 6-10 years, which was a recommendation from America that has been adopted throughout Europe.  Over time, the materials of a car seat will begin to degrade, so an old car seat may not perform as it should do in a collision.

It does not mean that car seats which are more than 10 years old are dangerous to use, provided they meet the correct regulation, are in good condition, with the harness intact and they are fitted and used correctly (and suitable for the child).  However, there have been large advances in child car seat safety and a newer seat will provide the very best protection.


Years

 

Child seats have become much safer over the years


Caution

We do not recommend using a second hand car seat, visit our second hand car seat series to find out why.


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What does buckle crunch mean? (Update)

 

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

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

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



low buckle buckle crunch

 

Why is it dangerous?


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

  

FF RF buckle crunch avoid

 

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


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What if your current child car seat has buckle crunch?

 

Buckle Crunch Example 4

 

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

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

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



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

 

Do all types car seats suffer with buckle crunch?


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

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

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

 

Examples of 'buckle crunch'


buckle crunch example 2

Buckle Crunch example 3
Maxi Cosi Buckle Crunch

Buckle Crunch Quick tip

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


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Government car seat update

isizse

 

 

 

There is a new law, which came out in July 2013, called R129, which includes iSize car seats. The aim of the new regulation is to make car seats easier to choose and use, which will hopefully reduce the rate of incorrect fitment, and in turn keep children safer.  Last week the government website was updated which caused much confusion, this has now been amended. 

 

When children are traveling in an R44 approved seat, they may legally forward face from 9kg – although they are safer travelling rear facing for as long as possible. Most R44 approved infant seats will accommodate your baby to 13kg, or until the top of their head is level with the top of their seat. There are also R44 approved seats which will allow you to rear face your child up to 18kg, or 25kg. Only seats approved to R44.03 or R44.04 are legal to be used under this regulation.

 

R129 approved seats requires babies to be rear facing to 15 months, by law, amongst other improvements.  They must not forward face before this age.

 

The two regulations are currently running alongside each other - you can legally use an R44 car seat, or an R129 iSize car seat.

 

 

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5 steps to strap your child into their car seat correctly

Although strapping your baby in might sound like an easy task, the truth is, it is one of the most common misuses on child car seats.

The harness on a child’s car seat is there to restrain your child, and to absorb the energy from a collision – this blog looks at what you need to do to get it right in five easy steps:



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Step 1:


SNOWSUIT NANIA

 

Remove any thick, puffy or bulky clothing.  Puffy jackets or padded snowsuits – even very frilly tutus or dresses can interfere with the way the harness sits on your child.  The harness needs to sit close to your child’s body to work to the best of its ability, so ensure you remove anything that gets in the way.  To keep your child warm, tightly tuck a blanket around them once they are strapped in or dress them in thin, warm layers.

 

Step 2:


Too low

 

Ensure your harness is at the correct height for your child, an incorrectly adjusted harness will not only be uncomfortable for your child, but potentially dangerous too.  The straps must be as level with their shoulders as possible.

Rear facing : just below the shoulders

Front facing: just above the shoulders

 

Step 3:


twisted harness

 

Ensure your harness is straight and untwisted.  A twisted harness may not absorb the energy from a collision as well as it should do, so it is important to keep an eye on the straps and untwist them as soon as you notice they are not straight.  To untwist your harness, follow this guide:



untwist harness

 

Step 4:


chest pads

 

Pull the straps over your child’s shoulders, and ensure the chest pads are level.

 

Step 5:


tension

 

Pull the harness snug to your child’s body – the straps should be tight enough that you can just slip two fingers flat between your child’s body and their collar bones.

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How to fit an ISOFIX car seat

ISOFIX car seats are considered safer than seat belt fitted child seats, because the risk of them being incorrectly fitted is reduced.  However, not all ISOFIX seats fit all vehicles, and mistakes can still be made.



fitting ISOfix

 

Here are some tips to help you fit your child’s ISOFIX car seat


 

Tip1

You must check the vehicle compatibility list to ensure your ISOFIX car seat is compatible to your vehicle.  Not every ISOFIX seat fits every car, so it is important that the child seat manufacturer confirms that it is a safe fit. You can find the fitting list on the child seat manufacturer’s website.

Don’t forget!  The seat must also be suitable for your child!


 

Tip2

Once you have bought your seat, read the manual thoroughly.  This will not only give you specific instructions on how to fit your seat safely, but you will also find information which is essential to your child’s continued safety.

 

Tip3

To begin fitting your seat in the car, locate the ISOFIX points in your vehicle and attach the ISOFIX guides if required.  Once you have done this, release the ISOFIX arms, so they are extended, and ensure the support leg is away from the seat base.

 

Tip4

Attach the ISOFIX arms to the ISOFIX points in your vehicle, you should hear an audible ‘click’ and the indicators will turn green.  You may now have to push the child seat firmly into the vehicle seat back to secure the fit.

 

Tip5

Now lower the support leg to the floor, so that it fits firmly, but is not pushing the base of the seat upwards.  If your seat uses a top tether strap instead, pass this over the back of the vehicle seat as instructed by your manual, attach to the tether point, and pull firmly – there should be no slack in the tether strap.

*please ensure you attach your tether strap to a top tether point, indicated in your manual – and not onto a luggage hook.

 


fitting isofix seat

 

If your child seat fits using a separate ISOFIX base, you can now click the seat into place.  Remember to follow your manuals instructions - some combination ISOFIX seats require you to fit it in full recline!  Once you have clicked the seat unit into place, check that all of the indicators have turned green.



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Tips for fitting a child car seat with a seat belt

Fitting a child car seat can be notoriously tricky, so we have put together our top tips to help you along the way!


The key thing to remember with child car seats, is that not every seat fits every car.  It’s easy to think that a belt fitted seat will fit with any seat belt, but there are many potential problems that can undo all your hard work and cause your seat to be fitted dangerously.  Our blogs can help you learn about the dangers of buckle crunch, floor storage boxes and the most common fitting errors.

It is important to seek help when choosing your child car seat, to ensure it is compatible with your car, and every car that the seat will be used in.

Don't forget!  It also has to be suitable for your child!

 

Top 10 tips when fitting a child car seat with an adult seat belt


 

Tip1


Rear facing seats have blue guides, and forward facing seats have red guides.

 

Rear facing seats have blue guides, and forward facing seats have red guides.


If your seat is able to fit rear facing, you will need to follow the BLUE guides.  If your seat is able to fit forward facing, you need to follow the RED guides.

 

Tip2


 

The child seat manual is in many languages.

 

The child seat manual is in many languages.


Read the manual – Although the manual looks very thick and daunting, it is actually in many languages.  The section you need to read is in fact very small, and contains lots of life saving information to help you keep your child safe.   Also, familiarise yourself with the child safety section of your car manual, here you will find lots of information about how to best keep your child safe in your car.  The car manual is also where you need to look for advice about putting your child in the front.

 

Tip3

Watch a fitting video a couple of times before you attempt to fit your child car seat – a majority of manufacturers have fitting videos for their products on their website.

 

Tip4


 

Some vehicles have very sculpted seats, which can cause fitting issues.

 

Some vehicles have very sculpted seats, which can cause fitting issues.


When you place the child car seat in the car, the shell and base of the child seat must be in contact with as much of the vehicle seat as possible. It is possible for the shape of the vehicle seat to cause your child seat to be incompatible!

 


Caution

Resist tipping your baby’s infant carrier seat further back to give a better recline, as it leaves a big gap underneath the seat – this negatively impacts the performance of the seat in a collision.


 

Tip5



Lap Belt OL

A vast majority of child car seats must be fitted with the 3 point adult seat belt. Pull out a length of belt, and pass the lap belt through the lap belt guides, then click the belt in.  Once you have clicked the belt in, firmly pull the shoulder part of the belt, so that it tightens the lap belt.

 

Tip6


Shoulder belt OL

Now pass the adult shoulder belt through the shoulder belt guides, but beware! The belt may not necessarily go through every guide!

 

Tip7



007

Take a moment to check the whole seat belt, at every point – ensure it is flat and untwisted.

 

Tip8



Knee in seat OL


Now push the child seat firmly into the vehicle seat, whilst you are doing this, pull the shoulder part of the belt again to make sure there is no slack in the seat belt (as demonstrated in picture above) - both the lap part of the belt and the shoulder belt should be tightly fitted over the child seat.

 

Tip9


Lock off clips hold the seat belt tight, and tension systems help the seat belt to fit more tightly.

 

Lock off clips hold the seat belt tight, and tension systems help the seat belt to fit more tightly.


Activate any lock off clips or tension systems on your seat.

 

Tip10

 

Ensure the seat moves no more than 1 inch in any direction - if your child seat wobbles, seek professional help!

Essential knowledge!



  • When fitting an infant seat, check the position of the carry handle. It is rarely pushed back behind the baby’s head, and is often upright or towards the baby’s feet.

 

  • Silver Cross OL

 

    • If you have an extended rear facing seat, fit the tether straps before you begin fitting the seat




    • When fitting a forward facing group 1 seat, it can make fitting the seat easier to put it in full recline. It gives you more room to pass the belt through the guides on lots of seats.




    • If the vehicle headrest causes a gap between the child seat and vehicle seat, or impairs the fit of the child seat, remove it.

 

head rest removal OL



Stay tuned for our upcoming blog on how to fit ISOfix seats!

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Common car seat fitting errors and the risks

 

The peril of incorrect fitment and why you should get your car seat checked


An incorrectly fitted child car seat will not work to the best of its ability in a collision, if at all.  Here are some of the more common car seat fitting errors we come across, and the potential risk associated:

Loose harness



Loose harness OL

 

A child car seat harness is there to keep your child in their car seat in the event of a collision. It also helps to spread the force of the crash, further protecting your child.  A loose harness will not be able to restrain your child properly, and they are at risk of travelling too far forward in a collision.  This could cause them to impact the interior of the vehicle, or come out of the harness altogether if it is very loose.

To fix: Remove all puffy and thick clothing from your child, and pull the harness tight enough to allow you to slip two fingers flat between your child’s chest and the harness, at collar bone level.



Incorrect harness height



Incorrect harness height OL

 

Child car seat harnesses must be adjusted as your child grows to restrain them properly, and we often find harnesses on group 1 car seats to be too low on children.  On forward facing children, this is particularly a problem as it can cause the harness to sit incorrectly on the child, causing a risk of the harness slipping off their shoulders and not restraining them.  It may encourage them to remove the harness due to discomfort, which is extremely dangerous in a collision.

To fix: The correct harness height is for the straps to be level with a child’s shoulders, at the point they come out of the child seat.  If you cannot get them at the same level as their shoulders, then they may dip below when rear facing, or sit just above the shoulders when front facing.


Slack seat belt



tight seat belt OL

 

On child car seats fitted with the adult belt, it is important that there is no slack on the belt, and that the belt is straight and untwisted.  A slack seat belt will cause the child seat to travel too far forward in a collision, potentially hitting the seat in front or the interior of the vehicle.

To fix: When fitting your seat, push your knee firmly into the seat, whilst you are doing this, pull the adult belt tight and lock off with the appropriate guides.



Incorrect seat belt routing



Incorrect Belt Route OL

 

We often have to demonstrate the correct routing of the adult belt as many people become confused with the fitting instructions.  An incorrect belt route carries a risk of the seat moving too much in a collision, to it not being restrained at all and exiting the vehicle altogether.

To fix: Read your manual carefully, watch manufacturer fitting videos, seek professional help and get your child seat checked.


High back booster adjustment



Incorrect head rest height OL

 

The headrest on high back boosters are often not increased with the child as they grow, which causes the adult belt not to sit across their shoulder safely.  In a collision the chest part of the belt will not be able to restrain their upper body correctly.

We also see younger children being allowed to use older siblings' seats as a ‘treat’ – to use another group stage seat a child must first be a suitable weight and height for the seat.  If the child is not big enough for the seat, they should not use it, and if they fit into their own seat, they are safest using that.  If they are the correct weight and height, then the booster head rest should be adjusted to suit the child’s height.

To fix: Most high back boosters have a squeeze handle at the top of the head rest.  Squeezing this handle will allow you to increase the height of the headrest to suit your child.

Watch our video on common car seat fitting errors.



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The importance of getting your car seat checked

Good Egg Safety car seat checking events


Car seats under £100

 

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

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

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

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

 

What happens at a child seat checking event?


GE

 

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

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

Checking the seat fits your car:

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

 

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



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



Checking the seat fits your child:

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

 

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

 

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



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



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Law exception - Short journeys

"It is OK for your child to not use a car seat on short journeys" - FACT or MYTH?


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MYTH!

 

This is perhaps one of the most commonly misunderstood exceptions to the law, and the one most often misused.

 

What does The Law say?


The law states that a child over the age of 3 may travel without a child restraint, on short journeys of unexpected necessity.  The child must use the adult seat belt.

 

What is unexpected necessity?

 

    • An essential trip that you had no prior notice of.

 

    • When the child may be at risk, if they do not travel.

 

    • Emergency, unplanned trips to A&E/Doctors/Out of Hours Surgeries where no car seat is available.

 

What sort of journeys are not acceptable uses of this exception?

 

    • Catching a lift with a friend/relative to save walking.

 

    • A pre-planned appointment.

 

    • Trips that could be reasonably pre-planned (like a school run, or looking after friends/relatives children).

 

    • Long distances.

 

    • Children under 3 years of age.

 

Has this law exception for short journeys ever confused you?


Read our blog on the other car seat law exceptions.


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