Up To Date Information On The Use & Fitting Of Baby Seats

Thursday, 1. June 2017

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It’s been a while since I mentioned baby and child seats. As designs and rules have moved on since I last talked about them I thought it would be a good idea to bring things up to date. High street store suppliers now make sure that they send staff on IOSH courses to qualify them to discuss requirements with customers. Mothercare sends out mystery shoppers to assess the quality of advice given by staff.


Seat manufacturer Britax provide training for retailers to enable them to fit car seats properly. The most frequent problem is that parents move the child up to a larger seat too soon. This was a major finding by What Car in which 36% of children were found to be too small for the seat whilst a very small number were still in seats that were too small for them. What Car has listed 10 checks that you should carry out to protect your youngster as follows:


Is your child too small or large for the seat? If in doubt seek advice of an expert.


If the seat is secured by the car’s seatbelt make sure that it isn’t twisted and that it is fitted tightly enough around the child seat. It should be tight enough not to move if you push it.


When moving from wearing thick winter clothes to thinner summer clothes make sure you adjust the harness so that it isn’t too loose. Pinch the harness in front of the child’s collarbone and if you can pinch a lot of fabric between your fingers the belt is too loose.


If you’ve adjusted the seat’s headrest because your child has grown ensure the harness has been correctly routed back into place.


If using a travel system seat with a carry handle, don’t forget to put it back to the correct position after putting your child in the seat.


If using an Isofix seat, check that it is correctly clipped in. Indicators will change from red to green on the seat when fitted correctly.


If using a seat with a leg support check that the leg is fitted firmly to the car’s floor, that it’s at a 90 degree angle to the floor and that it’s not resting on an underfloor storage department unless this has been filled with a car manufacturer approved filler.


If using a seat with a top tether, ensure that it is routed over the back of the seat and clipped into the correct mounting point, not a luggage hook.


Don’t secure a high back booster with the car’s head rest: this needs to be moved out of the way so the child seat sits flush with the car seatback.


If you’re using a seat that is suitable for a wide age range, check it regularly for wear and tear; don’t just assume that it will stay safe for many years.

One final piece of research showed that babies should be kept as flat as possible as long as possible so avoid long journeys during which the baby is angled at 45 degrees. If it is necessary make frequent stops and lay them flat as often as possible.

By Graham Hill

Children To Be Made Safer In Cars – New EU Rules

Sunday, 4. August 2013

Rear-facing infant car seat

Rear-facing infant car seat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I sometimes agree with rules that come out from the EU as an imposition upon our legal system. I have to say not often but today is one of those very rare days. Being a dad myself and having spent a fortune on car seats over the early years of my kids lives and still feeling that the seats were not adequate I welcome the new rules to be known as i-Size.

The current rules called ECE R44/04 mean children that weigh over 9kg can be put in a forward facing seat. But by basing the decision on the weight of the child could mean that some parents put children in front facing seats to early, as young as 9 months old.

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This could lead to some serious neck and back injuries in the event of an accident. The new rules will make it mandatory to keep children in rear facing seats until the age of 15 months which will make it easier for parents to select the right seat.

The new regulations will also require the seats to be tested more rigorously and will now also include a side impact test to provide more protection for the baby’s head in the event of an accident.

Whilst the new rules will gradually be phased in the old seats built to the current regulations can be used till 2018 when the current rules will cease and be replaced by i-Size. Anything that makes our children and grand children safer in cars has my support.

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