Is this the first time you are going to transport a child in a child restraint system and you are not sure what to do? It is certainly the case that if we do not know much about this topic or if we have never fitted a seat before, it can be rather complicated. We have listed some of the things you need to know.
- Not just any seat will do: there is a specific child restraint system for the child's height or weight. There are currently two pieces of legislation in force in Spain: R44/04 and R129. Depending on which standard we will use, we will choose the child car seat in accordance with the weight (R44/04) or height (R-129) of the child. The latest standard is R129 or i-Size, which is slowly replacing R44 throughout Europe.
In ‘Find your seat’ we offer you some recommendations on how to choose the best seat for your child.
- Not all child car seats can be used in all cars: generally speaking, the manufacturers of child restraint systems usually list which cars each CRS can be installed in in their manuals or websites. There are a number of factors to take into account: whether the seats are prepared for i-Size child car seats, if they have ISOFIX anchorage or if they need to be secured with a seat belt and whether a support leg or top tether can be fitted.
- It is better for the child to travel facing the rear: up to 15 months, although at Fundación MAPFRE we recommend that the child travels facing the rear up to at least 4 years old, given that it offers better protection for the neck and head.
- It is compulsory for the child to use a child car seat until they measure 135cm. At Fundación MAPFRE we advise using the CRS up to 150cm tall or until the seat belt can be correctly fitted. This is how the seat belt should be fastened:
- Children with child car seats should travel on the rear seats of the vehicle, as established by the legislation. They may only travel on the passenger seat if the rear seats are already occupied by other children with child car seats, if it is not possible to install a CRS on the rear seats or if the vehicle does not have rear seats. Here you can read an article on ‘Where should the child car seat be installed?’.
- If for one of the exceptions mentioned earlier, we need to put the child in a child car seat on the passenger seat and in a rear-facing position, we must deactivate the airbag. We recommend our article ‘How to deactivate the front passenger airbag and under what circumstances?’.
- Bear in mind that not all child car seats can be rear-facing. Child car seats that can be installed in this way are only certain specific types of CRS. Consult the manufacturer's instructions to check up to what point we can place the child in the child seat in a rear-facing position and how to do it.
- The safest seat in the car is the middle rear seat, since it is the furthest away from the car doors in the event of an accident. If this seat does not have ISOFIX anchorage, it is best to use the seat behind the passenger seat given that it is also easier for the driver to see the child and to reach the child. If we decide to install the child car seat in a seat with ISOFIX anchorage we will avoid making mistakes in the installation.
- If we have been given the child car seat in order to take a child in our car we should first consult the manufacturer's manual to see how we should install the child car seat and how to secure the child. The best option is to ask the child car seat's owner to help us the first time we are installing it in order not to make any mistakes. It is important to first check that the child car seat can be installed in your car.
At Fundación MAPFRE we offer some basic advice on how to install a child restraint system and secure the child although you should of course always follow themanufacturer's instructions.
- Always place the child in the child car seat without a coat on, given that the coat can make it seem like the child is well-secured. Remember that the harness should fit snugly.