Which parts of a child car seat can be added or removed?
A child car seat or child restraint system is comprised of a number of safety features. Depending on the child seat’s group (or its size in the case of i-Size approved seats) you may come across cushions, padded parts for the back, side wings, harnesses, harness inserts and many more features.
Most importantly, before deciding whether to add or remove parts of a child car seat, you should make sure it is approved and suitable for the child’s physical characteristics.
Once you are sure of that, you should consider which parts of the child restraint system can be changed or removed. There are normally very few parts that can be removed or changed because the entire child seat is designed with the child’s safety in mind.
For example, we do not recommend removing the backrest of booster seats (2 MB). In earlier models, the backrest was detachable at the base and could be removed, but over time it was found that the benefits of having a backrest and, above all, side protection for the head were very important.
These side supports are usually cushions that can support the child’s head and protect it in the event of a side impact, therefore removing them (together with the backrest) significantly reduces the safety of the entire child car seat.
In the smallest child restriction systems – those belonging to Groups 0/0+ are the most well-known – there are parts that can be removed and others that can be added. This is due to the fact that very small babies might need help fitting in the chair, although you should remember that when adding or removing parts you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
For example, when they are newly born a reducer can be added to the CRS, which is basically a padded accessory that helps fit the baby in the seat so that the harnesses can be correctly fastened, and the baby won’t move when the car starts up. After a few weeks, the reducer can be removed.
On the other hand, before changing to a Group 1 child seat, you might need to remove other padded accessories that usually come with Groups 0 and 0+. This occurs when the baby has not grown enough for the harnesses to fit snugly under normal conditions.
Even so, you should check the CRS’ instructions manual to find out which accessories can be removed or added without impacting the protection the child seat offers. You should not remove accessories or use new ones without checking first (and making sure that they are duly approved).