Child Safety Week – Car Seat Safety

It is Child Safety week here in the UK, and this has got me thinking.
How many of us have car seats which are incorrectly fitted, or which our child is too big or small for?
How many of us are not aware how much safer babies are in a rear facing seat? (I had no idea how much of a difference this made until I began researching car seats for Sam).

I have recently been asked to become a Britax Mumbassador, and am thrilled Britax thought my little piece of cyberspace was worthy of such a title. Of course, I accepted. I was also invited down to their safety test centre this week, to see for myself how hard they work to make the safest car seats available. Alas, as I am ready to have Robyn any day now, I had to pass on this opportunity, but I decided to share some tips on making sure your children are as safe as possible when in the car.

1). Correct Size Car Seat
Car seats are grouped by your child’s age and weight. Age is just an indicator here. Always go off your child’s weight, as this will ensure they are in a seat safe for a baby their size. I learnt this first hand – Sam might only be 12 months old, but he is very tall, and weighs the same as the average 2 year old. He simply will not fit in a car seat aimed at anything less than 2 years. It is always worth visiting a shop and trying your baby in the seats to ensure they fit before you buy. You can usually get the store to check it will fit in your car at the same time. If you do decide to buy your car seat online, most manufacturers have a list of approved cars on their website. You can view Britax’s HERE

2). ISOFIX
Isofix was developed in 1997 by Britax, no less. If your car has isofix points, it is worth trying to get an isofix car seat.
I am going to be honest here – I find it a nightmare to fit isofix. BUT when you read these statistics, you will understand why it is worth spending an hour cursing the car seat, and struggling to fit it…
“Only 30% of child car seats are fitted correctly when using an adult seatbelt. 96% of isofix car seats are fitted correctly”. I don’t know about you, but that makes me realise the hour I spent stressed out trying to fit Sam’s seat was 100% worth it! Britax seats have spot indicators to show you clearly if your Isofix seat is fitted correctly too – the spot is red for incorrectly fitted seats and green for correctly fitted seats.
Isofix + is a new car seat category created by Britax this year. The car seat has another tethering system, which fixes the top of the car seat to the rear of the car’s passenger seat, thus reducing movement even further in the event of a collision. We actually have the Britax Trifix Seat, and you can read our full review HERE

3). Key Safety Features: There are several things to look out for when shopping for a new car seat. These are:

A). Five-point safety harness –
this will ensure minimal injury in the event of a collision as the force is evenly distributed around your child’s body.

B). Side Impact Protection – 1 in 4 accidents is a side on collision. For this reason, make sure your car seat has deeply padded side wings. Side impact collisions are not yet recognised as a standard safety measure by EU regulations, despite 20% of child car fatalities being as a result of a side impact collision. This means that not every EU Safety Approved car seat will protect your child in a side on collision.

C). Easy Adjustment – You want to be able to adjust the headrest and harness easily. It is so frustrating when you have to remove the car seat to raise the harness height or headrest position.

D). The Law – UK law states all children must be in the correct type of child restraint (car seat or booster seat) until they are 1.35m (4 foot 5.5) tall, or age 12 (whichever they reach first). If you fail to do this, you face a £500 fine as well as invalidating your car insurance.

E). Other Factors – Some more things I considered when buying car seats.
Rear Facing – Children are 5 times safer when rear facing, until they weigh 55lb. I bought Sam a rear facing stage 1 seat, but was disappointed to find he was too long and tall to use it in a rear facing position. Although rear facing is safest, check your child fits the seat before you buy it.
Washable Covers – If you can take off the cover for washing without removing the entire seat, it’s a huge plus! Especially if you’re as rubbish at fitting isofix as I am!
Comfort – You want your child to be comfy and to enjoy their time in the car, so make sure they seem happy in the seat. Sam hated his carrier with a passion but loves his forward facing Trifix.
Recline – Sam sleeps a lot in the car, so I love being able to recline his seat so he can get a decent nap while I drive.

So there you have it.
Some tips to help you choose your next car seat.
I hope they help.

This is not a sponsored post – I just wanted to share some tips, facts and advice for choosing the right car seat.

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