What is a seat with ISOFIX anchoring?
The ISOFIX restraint system
The ISOFIX system refers to the type of anchoring with which the child seat is affixed to the car seat. Instead of using the car’s own seat belts to keep the child seat secured, the ISOFIX system uses three anchor points, two at the bottom of the child seat which are attached to the rigid anchor points on the seat back and seat of the vehicle, and a third one at the upper or lower part of the seat to prevent it from breaking or tipping over.
Types of seats with the ISOFIX system
Child seats with the ISOFIX system are suitable for children in Groups 0, 0+ and I. Some Group II and III seats also have this anchoring system, although they may have a different name, such as Quickfix. Child seats in Groups 0+ and I with the ISOFIX system are divided into Universal and Semi-universal, depending on where the third anchorage point is located. If it is located at the top, known as the top tether, it is a Universal seat, and if the anchorage point extends from the vehicle floor to the base of the seat, it is known as a Semi-universal seat. A Universal seat means that the seat can be used in any car that has the third top anchorage point, while a Semi-universal seat can be used in a number of vehicles, but not all of them. In this last case, the child restraint system manual includes a list of vehicles in which the child seat can be used with the ISOFIX system.
Advantages of the ISOFIX system
First of all, thanks to the anchor points that fix the child seat to the car seat, it is much more firmly secured. In addition, as the car seat belt is not used to secure the child seat in place, it is much harder to make mistakes when fitting the child seat. In the event of a frontal impact, the ISOFIX system reduces the distance traveled by the child’s head, minimizing the whiplash effect and preventing cervical injuries. Meanwhile, in the case of a side impact it is much less likely that the child seat will be displaced within the vehicle, as its stability is reinforced.
This restraint system has been compulsory in all new vehicles since June 2005, so unless your car is very old (in which case you have to install the child seat using the car’s seat belt) you can enjoy all the benefits of the ISOFIX system and reduce by up to an additional 22 percent the risk of serious injuries to children in the event of an accident (any child seat already reduces the risk of this type of injury by between 50 and 90 percent).