Our children's bodies are delicate and require protection when traveling in a car by using an approved child restraint system adapted to its fixed characteristics. These child restraint systems must be properly fastened to the seat, whether by the seat belts of the back seats or by using the ISOFIX anchor point, or with the more recently approved i-Size.
Regardless of the system used, once the CRS is anchored, we must check that the harnesses are correctly adjusted to the child's body without causing harm, but with only slight play so that, in the event of an accident, the system will protect our young passenger with maximum efficiency. Our article “These are the reasons why a tight harness is a secure harness” provides further information on how to correctly adjust a child's harness.
This is the theory we should know as to fastening a CRS and child safety, but what happens when the child passenger is able to easily get out of the harness? If a child is able to "undo" the protection, this may be due, basically, to two reasons: that we have not fastened the harness properly, or that the child has learned how to release himself or herself by pressing the clip. This is highly unlikely, given the force required to do so, but it could happen.
This would result in a potentially dangerous situation, as the child would be inadequately protected in a collision. Anti escape or anti evasion systems exist to overcome these situations with flying colors, based on additional fastening elements for the harness to prevent a child from becoming a contortionist and freeing one or both arms. Bear in mind that a child can get out of the CRS without much trouble if he or she manages to free both arms.
Many doubts arise as to the legality of these types of systems, and to clarify the issue we must state that rigid anti evasion systems were not approved prior to the i-Size. The matter isn't so clear as regards the i-Size, either, but the market offers many lighter anti escape systems, manufactured with flexible materials that cover the holes through which a child could potentially escape.
To demonstrate the ease with which some children can escape from their harnesses, this video shows the process and how we may avoid these acts by using a flexible device:
As always, when considering child restraint systems and their accessories, we must be cautious and always look for approved products. This is especially important, particularly given that the information we read may have been written a few months ago, and given the time lapse, innovations may have arisen as to approvals, or new approvals -like the i-Size- may have been marketed, which though approved, is not in accordance with the current ECE R44/04 regulation.
The option of using anti escape or anti evasion systems must be considered in extreme cases when it is impossible to keep the minor in the desired safety position. Many CRS include similar options and offer additional fastening options. Remember that these must neither interfere with the clip nor alter any other element of the child seat, as it is designed to act in the event of an accident and to offer greater security.
It is critical that the child is securely fastened while at the same time allowing for removing him or her easily in the event of an accident. Additional restraint systems reduce the speed with which a child may be both fastened and released.
Before decision-making, we must check that the systems are properly approved and that they are the most suitable option for our CRS.