Picking a baby seat for the first time can be a daunting process. There is a lot of terminology, choice and safety laws to get through. The main concern for any new parent is keeping your little one as safe as possible for the best value for your money. At MicksGarage.com we have put together a small explanation of some of the terms you might see on your search for the perfect seat.
What does Isofix mean?
Isofix is a standard safety system that was introduced back in the early 1990’s to create a secure and universal system for fixing baby seats. It reduces the risks of misfitting seats and increased child protection by securing a baby seat directly to the chassis of a car. Previously baby seats would have been connected using adult seat belts to secure the seat in place.
What's different about Isofix? What does isofix look like?
Isofix systems have 3 anchorage points that come inbuilt into all new cars built after 2006. Cars built previous to this would have the two lower anchorage points. You will find these points positioned in the rear seats, two are behind the lower rear car seat cushion and the third behind the seat which connects to the upper part of the child restraint, this is to stop it moving forward in event of an impact. Isofix connections will be labelled clearly. Usually visible along the gap at the back of the seat cushion, or from the boot behind the back seat.
Why buy an Isofix Car Seat?
It is estimated that up to 80% of standard or belt type child seats are fitted incorrectly. Isofix virtually eliminates the possibility of incorrect fitting. Isofix baby seats are much easier to fit to the car by simply and quickly clicking the two isofix connectors on the rear of the baby seat into the points in your car, some Isofix seats are fitted with green indicators to simply show the connection is secure.
RSA Child Safety Laws and Standards
Rearward-facing child car seats must NEVER be used in the front passenger seat of cars with an active airbag.
Child car seats must be in accordance with EU or United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE) standards
Drivers have a legal responsibility to ensure passengers aged under 17 use the correct seat, booster seat, booster cushion or seatbelt
What is a baby car seat group?
Explanations taken from childcarseats.org.uk
Group 0 & 0+
Rearward-facing Baby Seats Group 0 for babies up to 10 kgs (22 lbs) roughly from birth to 6-9 months, or Group 0+ for babies up to 13kg (29lbs) roughly from birth to 12-15 months
Group 0 and Group 0+ can be used in the front or rear of the car. It is safer to put them in the rear. DO NOT put them in the front passenger seat if there is a passenger airbag. Rearward-facing seats provide greater protection for the baby's head, neck and spine than forward facing seats. So, it is best to keep your baby in a rearward-facing seat for as long as possible. Only move them to a forward facing seat once they have exceeded the maximum
weight for the baby seat, or the top of their head is higher
than the top of the seat.
Forward facing child seat Group 1 for children weighing 918 kgs (20-40lbs) roughly from 9 months 4 years. They can be used in the front or rear of the car, but it is safer to put them in the rear, especially if there is a passenger airbag in the front.Only move your child to a booster seat once they have exceeded the maximum weight for the child seat, or the top of their head is higher than the top of the seat.
For children weighing 15 - 25 kgs (33 - 55lbs) roughly 4 to 6 years. Group 2 seats are forward facing, include a high backrest, and generally a multi-point harness. They can be used in the front or rear of the car, but it is always safer to put them in the rear, especially if there is a passenger airbag in the front. Some Booster seats are designed to be converted into a booster cushion by detaching the back rest.
Booster Cushion for children weighing 22-36 kgs (48-79 lbs) roughly from 6 - 11 years.
They can be used in the front or rear of the car, but again it is always safer to put them in the rear, especially if there is a passenger airbag in the front. Booster seats and booster cushions do not have an integral harness to hold the child in place. The adult seat belt goes around the child and the seat. So it is important that the seat belt is correctly adjusted and positioned The basic points to note are:
- the belt should be worn as tight as possible
- the lap belt should go over the pelvic region, not the stomach
- the diagonal strap should rest over the shoulder, not the neck
Generally group 2/3 seats are combined. Eg a group 2/3 seat would be suitable for 4-11 years