The new regulations are designed to eliminate human error when installing a CRS but mistakes are still made, the other important factor is that until the majority of CRS’s use this new system, there are still older, now obsolete seats in existence that are still being used (some of which are now inadvisable).
We shall go over the most common mistakes made when seating a child in a CRS, mistakes that are easily avoidable by paying a little extra attention and checking that the your child is correctly fixed and positioned in their seat.
- Using a CRS that is not correct for their age, height and weight. This is becoming much less frequent with the arrival of i-Size seats, but there are still children using seats that are too small or too big, which is a serious mistake.
- If we do not have the ISOFIX system, the anchoring the seat to the car seat, is where mistakes are often made. You must follow any instruction specific to your child seat (although they are all usually quite similar), and check that the CRS is properly installed by giving it a hard tug to make sure that isn’t moving around.
- The second important point is the adjustment of the safety harness. This are important for any child seat but even more so for a CRS used by a baby, it is vital that it is fastened snugly around the baby ensuring that it is not loose or obstructed at any point.
- The posture of the child can vary, as we know, but is something that must be considered as it is often the cause of mistakes (being wrongly positioned or because of the harness being incorrectly adjusted), the initial position of the child must be correct. They should be seated with their backs against the seat back and shouldn’t be playing with toys etc. while you do this, which they can, of course continue to do once you have them seated with the harness correctly adjusted.
- The CRS is often installed forward facing too early, according to the age of the child. It is always safer for the child to travel backward facing. Frequently the child insists on looking forward so they can see more, but we, as parents must have the final say in what is safer.
As we can see, these are mistakes that don’t seem particularly important but that happen a lot. Their importance is always relative, given that a loose harness doesn’t protect a baby, a child or even an adult. This apparently unimportant mistake becomes key during a collision.
From the 1st of October 2015, in agreement with the changes to the Highway Code, in respect of the use of seatbelts and Restraining Systems, the front passenger seat can only be occupied by children under 18 years of age and under 135cm in height, if the rear seats are already occupied by children under 18 years of age and under 135cm in height, that are using a restraining system.