All parents know the importance of keeping their children safe in the car, but do you really understand the best way to secure your child properly while complying with the law? There are a huge variety of car seats on the market, suitable for various age groups and with a number of ways of securing them inside the vehicle. How do you decide which is most suited to your family’s needs?
Firstly, it’s vital that parents are aware of the official regulations surrounding child car seats. New laws came into force in March 2017, stating that:
- Children should use a car seat until they are either 135cm tall or 12 years old, whichever comes first.
- Children must remain in a high backed booster seat (rather than a backless booster cushion) until they are taller than 125cm or weigh more than 22kg.
- Children aged less than 15 months should sit in a rear-facing seat.
- Only EU-approved height-based or U-approved weight-based child car seats can be used in the UK. These will have a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle and ‘ECE R44’ or ‘R129’.
Officials have suggested that backless booster cushions do not offer the child adequate protection in the event of a collision, however if you purchased and used a product before the changes came into effect, there’s no need to worry – the laws only apply to products purchased after March 2017.
As well as regulations enforcing the type of seat you choose, there are also official guidelines for how it should be fitted in your vehicle:
- Seats must be fitted using ISOFIX anchor points if available in the vehicle. If ISOFIX is not available, the seat should be secured using a car seat with a diagonal strap, not a lap belt only unless the car seat is specifically designed to be used in this way.
- Any air bags should be deactivated if using a rear-facing car seat.
If you’re not sure what kind of child car seat is the most suitable for your child or for your specific vehicle, it can be helpful to visit a dedicated shop where advisors will be able to suggest products and even fit them in your vehicle for you.
How to Strap a Child in Safely
For car seats and infant carriers with an integral harness, the way you strap your child into the seat is just as important to their safety as choosing the correct seat in the first place. The harness should be tight, so that you can only fit one or two fingers in between the harness and your child’s chest. Avoid dressing your child too warmly or in heavily padded coats, as in the event of a collision these can compress, leaving the harness loose around the child’s body. If extra layers or blankets are needed in cold weather these can go over the whole seat once the harness is secure. The buckle of the harness should not rest over the child’s tummy, and shoulder straps should be at or just below the level of their shoulders. Ensure that the seat is reclined appropriately so that young babies’ heads do not flop forward.
Children old enough to sit in high backed booster seats or on booster cushions should still be secured by the seat’s integral harness unless they reach the weight specified on the seat at which this is no longer necessary. After this they use the car’s own seatbelt, which goes around the child and the booster seat itself. Seat belts should be pulled as tightly as possible without twisting. The lap part of the seat belt goes across the pelvic region, not the stomach, and the diagonal strap should rest on the child’s shoulder, not across their neck. High backed boosters should have a clip to help you secure the diagonal strap at the correct height.
Optional Car Seat Extras
There are a huge variety of additional products on the market aimed at making your child’s car journey more enjoyable. From padded seat belt strap covers to devices that stop mini-Houdini children escaping from their seat, it’s up to you if you feel these are needed.
Ickle Bubba’s Solar Group 1-2-3 car seat grows with your child
At Ickle Bubba, we like to make it as easy as possible for parents to keep their children safe, while offering great quality products at the same time. We’re pleased to introduce our Solar Group 1-2-3 Isofix and Recline Car Seat, which is a forward-facing seat suitable for use from 9 months to 12 years. As it can be adapted as your child grows, Solar is the only car seat you’ll need to buy. With advanced safety features and glowing reviews from the experts, Solar is a great choice for parents looking for a cost-effective, visually appealing and above all safe way for their children to travel by car.
Features of the Solar 1-2-3:
- Integrated Isofix fitting, with red/green indicators to show correct installation, with a top tether strap for additional stability. The seat can also be fitted using the car’s seat belt for vehicles without Isofix.
- 3 recline positions, ideal for sleeping babies or older children for maximum comfort.
- Side impact cushion technology to reduce the force if your car is hit from the side.
- Unique magnetic buckle retainers make it easy to move your child in and out of the 5-point safety harness.
- Luxury two-tone stay-cool suede fabric with reversible cushions and buckle pad.
By choosing the impressive Solar car seat exclusively available from Ickle Bubba, you’re making a sound decision for the safety of your child, as well as choosing a high quality, attractive and cost effective product.