What should you bear in mind if you have been given a child restraint system as a present for Christmas? There are a number of pointers to take into account in order to check that we have the perfect seat for transporting our child safely.
Firstly, we should be aware that by giving someone a CRS as a gift they are giving you the gift of safety and that the person in question has undoubtedly concerned themselves with the road safety of your child when getting you this gift. Here we offer you a series of recommendations on how to buy someone a child restraint system as a gift.
Know that not all child car seats are suitable for every child and that not all of them cover the particular needs of each family. We provide a set of recommendations you should be taking into account if you have received a CRS as a gift:
-Check that the seat is appropriate for the height and weight of the child . As the child grows, he or she will need to use a specific CRS at each stage. In ‘Find your seat’ you can take a look at the different types of seats on the market according to height and weight.
-It must be an approved seat, i.e. it must have passed the tests in the R-129 regulation (this latest approval is being slowly implemented and will eventually be the only one in force) or R44-04. While this first piece of legislation is based on the child's height, the second one is governed by the weight of the child. We should also be aware of the tests to which some of the seats are subjected, according to the various approval standards. R-129 includes a side impact test, for example. You can verify this on the seat's label and in the manufacturer's manual.
-Make sure that the seat is in good condition, meaning that it has arrived intact from the manufacturer. Check that the box has not been opened and that the CRS at least superficially looks fine. Keep all the documentation about the seat. Bear in mind that some manufacturers will replace the seat in the event of a road accident.
-Check that you can install the child seat in the car. We should be aware that not all types of CRS can be installed in all cars. There are of course a number of competing factors at play. We should not forget to check whether the seat is installed with ISOFIX. In this case, we should check that our car has ISOFIX anchorages. Find all the information you need to know about this system here.
Furthermore, the child car seat may have a Top Tether or Support Leg. The car in question should be able to support both these systems. There is usually a reinforcement for this on the floor of the car. The vehicle's manual will indicate if child car seats with this type of anti-rotation system can indeed be installed in the car.
Furthermore, you should take into account if it is an i-Size seat or not, since these seats are normally larger than usual. Here we show you how vehicles have been adapted to this regulation.
The best option is to check with the child restraint system's manufacturer if the child car seat is compatible or not. The vast majority of manufacturers include a link on their website where they list all the cars which are compatible with their child car seat.
If it is a universal seat it can be used in all cars. Although we always recommend that you check to make sure that it is indeed compatible. There are also some vehicle manufacturers whose seats are more reclined than usual or have other specific characteristics that make it more difficult to install the seat.
-Once we have checked that the seat can be placed without problems in the car, we should check that the child can be placed in it properly and that his or her head does not extend beyond the headrest and that the harness or seat belt can be well-fastened. Remember that the harness should fit snugly.
-Another very important factor is that the child should be comfortable. The child will be spending a considerable amount of time in the seat and ergonomics are therefore fundamentally important.
Lastly, we would like to highlight that in our section entitled ‘The Safest Seat’ you will find advice on choosing a CRS that best suits your child's needs and in ‘Traveling Safely’ you will find recommendations on how to have safe car journeys.