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Thread: Baby and Children car seat advice

  1. #1

    Baby and Children car seat advice

    This guide was copied from a guy I know who works in the industry...

    There are always people asking for advice on car seats, and buying them, so I felt it was about time we had a definitive guide based on current regulations. This has been prepared with the help of a friend of mine that is one of the leading authorities in the Car Safety Industry.


    CHILD CAR SEAT GROUPS
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Type of seat.......................................Group.. ..................Weight of child............................Approximate age*
    Rear facing Infant Carrier....................... 0................... Up to 10kg (22lbs).......................Birth to 6-9 months
    Rear facing Infant Carrier....................... 0+................. Up to 13kg (29lbs).......................Birth to 9-12 months
    Forward facing child seat ......................1.................. 9-18kg (20-40lbs)............9 months (able to sit) to 3-4 years
    Forward facing child seat or booster 2 15-25kg (33-55lbs) From 4 years to 6 years
    Forward facing child seat or booster 3 22-36kg (48-80lbs) From 6 years to 11 years
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    * Age range is given for guidance only – it is the size and weight of the child that tells you which seat is needed.
    Some seats combine to cover a number of different groups. Check the manufacturers instructions.




    The factors to consider when moving a child from one seat to another are:
     Weight
     Physical development
     Length
    The child seat applicable to the child’s weight should be used for as long as possible (this is especially relevant for the transition between group 0/0+ and 1).

    Never place any child forward facing until they weigh a minimum of 9kg (20lbs) and can sit up unaided for a long period of time.

    Selecting a child car seat

    The most important factors when selecting a suitable child seat are the weight and physical development of the child. Age should only be used as a guide.


    Rear facing infant carrier (Group 0, 0+)

    Even though manufacturers say ’suitable from birth’, there are occasions when premature and very small babies may not be heavy enough for an infant carrier. If in doubt the families GP should be consulted.
    The longer you can keep a child rearward facing the better. Only move a child from an infant carrier when the upper weight limit has been reached or when the baby’s head sticks up above the top of the seat. Do not worry about the child’s legs appearing to be too long, a leg injury is less likely to be as serious as a neck or spinal injury. The child must be developed enough to be able to sit up completely unaided for a long period of time before travelling in a forward facing child seat. With larger babies who have not got the physical development necessary to move to a forward facing child seat the two way type seats (0 0+/1) may be an option due to having a larger seating capacity.

    NEVER USE ANY CHILD SEAT IN A PASSENGER SEAT FITTED WITH AN AIRBAG


    Forward facing child seat (Group 1)

    This group is suitable for a child weighing a minimum of 9kg(20lbs) that can sit up completely unaided for a long period of time.
    Generally a 5-point harness will restrain the child. Most of these seats have a recline facility, which is very useful when the child is asleep, especially on longer journeys.
    Only move the child out of this type of seat when the upper weight limit has been reached, 18kg (40lbs), or when the child’s eye line is level with the top of the seat.
    No seat is child proof but the 5-point harness is generally the most successful way of keeping a child restrained.

    NEVER USE ANY CHILD SEAT IN A PASSENGER SEAT FITTED WITH AN AIRBAG


    Forward facing seat or booster (Group2)

    It is important not to use this stage too soon. Children are only restrained by a lap and diagonal seat belt, which many children find easy to escape from! The seat belt should lie correctly across the child’s shoulder, i.e. not cutting into the neck or cheek, and around the pelvis i.e. not across the stomach. Even though on most seats the back can be removed when the child reaches a certain weight it is strongly recommended that you use the seat with the back attached until the child reaches the upper weight limit or becomes too tall as the back gives side protection and head support. Always check when using a booster cushion that the child’s eye level is not above the height of the vehicle seat back as this could lead to whiplash injuries.

    NEVER USE ANY CHILD SEAT IN A PASSENGER SEAT FITTED WITH AN AIRBAG


    Forward facing seat or booster (Group3)

    It is important not to use this stage too soon. Children are only restrained by a lap and diagonal seat belt, which many children find easy to escape from! The seat belt should lie correctly across the child’s shoulder, i.e. not cutting into the neck or cheek, and around the pelvis, i.e. not across the stomach. Even though on most seats the back can be removed when the child reaches a certain weight, it is strongly recommended that you use the seat with the back attached until the child reaches the upper weight limit or becomes too tall as the back gives side protection and head support.
    Always check when using a booster cushion that the child’s eye level is not above the height of the vehicle seat back as this could lead to whiplash injuries.

    NEVER USE ANY CHILD SEAT IN A PASSENGER SEAT FITTED WITH AN AIRBAG


    Child seat installation

    NOT ALL CHILD SEATS FIT ALL CARS

    Always make sure that all child seats are fitted exactly according to the manufacturers instructions. It is important to read the whole of the instruction leaflet.

    When choosing a child car seat you must TRY BEFORE YOU BUY



    Infant carrier (Group 0, 0+)

    This type of seat must only be fitted facing the rear of the car.
    Ensure that the seat belt is routed correctly.
    Pull the seat belt webbing as tightly as possible to remove any slack ensuring that there is no excessive movement forwards or to the side.

    Potential installation problems:
    • Seat belt length may be too short
    • Seat belt buckle may be too long
    • Seat belt anchorage points may be too far forward
    • Vehicle seats may be too sculptured or too small

    Forward facing child seat (Group 1)

    Push the child seat as far as possible into the seat of the vehicle and firmly tighten the seat belt webbing.
    Check the seat is tight and secure with no excessive movement forward or to the side by pulling firmly on the child seat harness.
    No part of the seat belt buckle must rest on the frame of the car seat. If it does this is known as “buckle crunching” and the seat belt buckle could break on impact. The seat belt webbing must secure the seat and take the impact pressure.

    Potential installation problems

    • Seat belt buckle may be the wrong length (buckle crunching)
    • Seat belt anchorage points may be too far forward
    • Vehicle seats may be too sculptured or too small

    Forward facing seat or booster (Group 2)

    Make sure the shape of the seat or booster matches the contours of the vehicle seat to enable a stable position.
    Never install a seat or booster (Group 2) with a lap belt.

    Potential installation problems

    • Seat belt buckle may be too long
    • Vehicle seats may be too sculptured or too small
    • Excessive slippage e.g. leather seats

    Forward facing seat or booster (Group 3)

    Make sure the shape of the seat or booster matches the contours of the vehicle seat to enable a stable position.
    Never install a seat or booster (Group 3) with a lap belt.



    Potential installation problems
    Seat belt buckle may be too long
    Vehicle seat may be too sculptured or too small
    Excessive slippage e.g. leather seats


    Child Seat Harness Adjustment

    It is very important to adjust the child seat harness so that it fits the child correctly (children can alter in size depending on the clothing they are wearing). A child is less likely to escape from a correctly fitted harness. Always make sure the harness is not twisted.

    Infant carrier (Group 0. 0+)

    Check that the correct shoulder slots are used. The shoulder straps should be level with the child’s shoulders. If this is not possible use the slots just below the shoulders rather than above.
    Adjust the harness so that you can insert two flat fingers between the shoulder straps and the child’s chest. The harness needs to be comfortable but firm.
    Make sure the central harness buckle is positioned low over the abdomen not on the stomach.
    Check that the harness is not twisted and the buckle release button (red) is facing outwards.

    Child car seat (Group 1)

    Check that the correct shoulder slots are used. The shoulder straps should be level with the child’s shoulders. If this is not possible use the slots just above the shoulders rather than below.
    Adjust the harness so that you can insert two flat fingers between the harness and the child’s chest.
    The harness needs to be comfortable but firm.
    Make sure the central harness buckle is positioned low over the abdomen and the lap part of the harness lies correctly over the pelvic area.
    Check that the harness is not twisted and the buckle release button (red) is facing outwards.

    Forward facing seat or booster (Group 2)

    Make sure when fitting a seat belt that you first remove all the slack from the lap section by pulling the diagonal section firmly and then remove any further slack from the diagonal section. Position the diagonal belt so that it lies over the shoulder and not against the neck.

    Forward facing seat or booster (Group 3)

    Make sure when fitting the seat belt that you remove all the slack from the lap section by pulling the diagonal section firmly and then remove any further slack from the diagonal section. Position the diagonal belt so that it lies over the shoulder and not against the neck.

    Seat Belt

    To use a seat belt correctly the diagonal part of the belt should lie correctly over the shoulder i.e. not cutting into the neck or cheek, and the lap part of the belt should lie over the pelvis and not across the stomach. If this is not the case, the child is not big enough to be restrained by an adult seat belt and should be using a suitable child restraint.


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    AIRBAGS

    NEVER USE ANY REARWARD FACING CHILD SEAT ON A PASSENGER SEAT FITTED WITH AN AIRBAG

    DO NOT USE A FORWARD FACING CHILD SEAT ON A PASSENGER SEAT FITTED WITH AN AIRBAG UNLESS THE VEHICLE MANUFACTURER CONFIRMS THAT IT IS SAFE TO DO SO

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NEVER BUY A SECOND HAND CHILD CAR SEAT UNLESS YOU ARE CERTAIN OF ITS HISTORY

    ALWAYS REPLACE A CHILD CAR SEAT THAT HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT

    It is also recommended that the vehicle seat belt is replaced as well

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The current European Safety Standard for child car seats is ECE R44/03


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