Car seat installation tips
Please remember that not all child seats can be installed in all seats or in all vehicles. Even the safest seat can be dangerous if incorrectly installed.
Child car seats usually have coloured indicators to show where the vehicle’s seat belt should pass through, or audible indicators to assist with the correct installation of the seat in the vehicle. The main tips for using child car seats are:
Sometimes the damage may not be visible, so the safest advice is to change seats:you should check whether your car insurance can pay for such a replacement. Some child seat manufacturers offer to check child seats involved in traffic accidents for free.
Do not use child seats that are very old or that have been exposed to the sun for a long time.
Child seats are often built with plastics that, over time or when exposed to sunlight, can lose their properties and become brittle. In fact, some child seat manufacturers advise against using seats after 4 or 6 years of use.
Always use an approved car seat that is suitable for your child’s weight and height.
When the child’s head exceeds the maximum height of the child seat, it will be necessary to replace it with a larger child seat, or one belonging to a higher group.
The safest seat in the car, because it is furthest away from an impact zone in the event of an accident, is the middle back seat.
Please remember that by law all children under 135 cm must travel in the back seats of a vehicle.There are only three exceptions to this rule, when they can travel in the front seat:
- If the car does not have any back seats.
- If the back seats are already occupied by other children sitting in child restraint systems.
- If it is impossible to fit a child restraint system in the back seats.
Please remember that whenever a child has to travel in the front passenger seats for any of these reasons and is sitting in a rear-facing child seat, the airbag must be disabled. If it cannot be disabled, the child cannot travel in that seat for safety reasons.
If the centre rear seat has only a two-point belt and you are planning to use a booster seat or cushion, the booster seat should be placed in one of the side seats that have three-point belts.
Likewise, if the child seat is fitted with ISOFIX anchorages, we recommend that you place the child seat in a rear seat with ISOFIX anchorages, as there will be a smaller chance of making a mistake during its installation.
Securely fasten the child seat to the vehicle.
If the vehicle is fitted with an ISOFIX system, this task may be easier. To check that the child seat is securely attached to the vehicle (with the seat belt or ISOFIX), try to move the child seat firmly, making sure that it does not move more than 2 or 3 centimetres in each direction, either sideways or forwards.
If the tilt of a baby seat is adjustable, we recommend that you put the backrest at an angle of between 30° and 45°to the vertical line .
It is important that the child seat is neither too upright (the baby’s head could be pushed forward, putting pressure on his er o her windpipe), nor too flat (in the event of a frontal impact, the baby would tend to slide forward).
Younger babies or newborns should travel in a more lie-flat position. As they grow older, they can travel more upright.. You should check the child seat instruction manual for the correct inclination, and you should always follow the installation angle indicated by the child seat manufacturer. You should never force the installation of the child seat to achieve a certain inclination.
The upper straps of the child harness can normally be adjusted in height so that they come out at approximately the same height as the child’s shoulders.
This adjustment must be made before installing the seat in the vehicle.
If the child is rear-facing, the straps should exit at or slightly below the child’s shoulders; if forward-facing, the straps should exit at or slightly above the child’s shoulders.
If the child seat harness has padding over the top straps of the harness, they should be positioned correctly over the child’s collarbones and upper chest and they should not be twisted.
The padding not only provides comfort for the child but also helps to cushion any frontal impacts.
Always fasten the child’s seat belts at the beginning of each journey.
The child should not travel with a coat on or with bulky clothing: the child’s belt or harness must be free of any slack so that there is a maximum space of one or two fingers between the child’s belt and the child’s body.
One more tip: if the belt can be “pinched”, then the belt is not tight enough and can be dangerous. The harness should fit as snugly as possible without being uncomfortable for the child.
When driving with unoccupied child seats ensure that they are secured to the vehicle by the seat belt or ISOFIX anchorages..
This prevents the child seats from being thrown out in the event of sudden braking or an accident.
Please frequently check that the child seat is securely attached to the vehicle seat (especially for child car seats that are secured to the vehicle using seat belts).