When selecting a car seat for your child, you’ll be faced with a dizzying array of colours, designs, features and prices. But rather than being swayed too heavily by appearance or cost, try to focus on the safety aspects of the seat. Here are just some of the questions worth asking about your child’s car seat:
Is it legal?
In other words, does it conform to the United Nations ECE Regulation R44.04? Look for the E mark. In the UK it is illegal to sell a child car seat that doesn’t meet this standard. Even if a car seat meets these requirements, be aware that this doesn’t guarantee it has been tested for ease of use or side-impact.
Has it been in an accident?
If a child car seat has been involved in an accident it is recommended that you buy a replacement. All might appear well to the naked eye but there could be internal damage affecting the seat’s ability to keep your child safe. For this reason, buying second hand is not recommended.
Are you using it correctly?
Research suggests that around 70% of child car seats are being used incorrectly. Follow this five-point checklist to be sure:
- Use the right seat for your child’s height and weight.
- Children under 13kg should be in a rearward-facing baby seat unless they are too tall for the seat.
- Children between 9kg and 18kg should be in a forward or rearward-facing baby seat.
- Children between 15kg and 25kg should be in a child car seat, or booster seat.
- Children over 22kg can use a booster cushion and the adult seat belt.2. Be careful when using a rearward-facing seat. If your child is travelling in the front passenger seat, in a rearward-facing seat, the airbag MUST be deactivated.
2. Secure the seat properly. Make sure that you have fully read and understood the seat’s instructions for securing it into your vehicle.
3. Check that your child’s harness is adjusted, so that no more than one or two fingers can fit between it and their chest. Or, if they are using an adult seat belt, make sure that it is resting on their shoulder rather than their chest. Adjust the booster seat or cushion so that the seat belt is fitted correctly. The lower half should stretch from hip to hip.
4. Carrying out regular checks to ensure that your child’s car seat is still correctly fitted. Try to make this part of your regular car maintenance routine.
As well as ensuring your child has a safe car seat, you can also protect your family by choosing suitable car insurance cover to meet your needs.
Author Bio: Kath Morgan writes about a whole host of motoring topics, including family travel, car insurance and safety concerns. An avid traveller, she spent many years living abroad and understands the lure of the open road only too well.