Advice on how to choose the child car seat best suited to your child's needs, recommendations on how to install it, on applicable standards, etc. A large number of topics are covered thanks to the queries received on a daily basis at The expert responds. We have rounded up some of the most useful topics from this first half of 2017.
Many of these topics became part of our section called Frequently Asked Questions. Here we have tried to gather the most frequent doubts among users or those matters which we think could most help the reader. Our aim is to try to clear up any concerns that might arise when transporting a child safely.
Here are some of the questions that came up in the first half of 2017:
Can I use a child car seat approved under R44/03?
In Spain, child car seats approved under ECE 444/03 are not allowed to go on sale.
Can I put a child in the front seat with a child car seat if the rear seats only have a two-point seat belt?
As established in the regulation, one of the times when putting a child less than 135cm tall in the front seat in a child restraint system is allowed is if the child car seat cannot be installed on the rear seats
Although the manufacturer's instructions regarding the installation of the seat should be consulted (to ensure that it cannot in fact be installed with two points), in the vast majority of cases a three-point seat belt is usually required, given that with two points it is virtually impossible to install the seat and secure the child safely. The child seat could potentially tip over.
We should recall that the safest way for a child to travel is on the rear seat and in a correctly installed CRS. We recommend that you choose this option whenever you can.
If the child is seated facing the rear, it is imperative that you disable the passenger seat airbag. Here is how it is done.
Can I use a child car seat approved under ECE 44/R44 in a new car with ISOFIX?
This depends on whether or not the child restraint system is universal, semi-universal or vehicle-specific.
Nevertheless, even if the new car has ISOFIX it does not necessarily mean that you cannot use a child car seat that is secured by the seat belt. You should check the manufacturer's instructions to see if it can be installed in all vehicles without a problem.
If we cannot use the ISOFIX anchor, we can probabably install the child seat with the seat belt. It is worth bearing in mind that we should follow all of the manufacturer's instructions in order to correctly install the seat, given that when we are installing it with the seat belt we are more likely to make mistakes when anchoring it. This is something to be avoided at all costs, in order to ensure that the child seat is fulfilling its main function correctly.
If we do not have the child restraint system manual to hand it can probably be downloaded from the manufacturer's website.
At what age or at what weight can children travel in a car without a child car seat?
Current regulations stipulate that children less than 135cm tall must travel in a child restraint system. Therefore, we are obliged by law to put the child in a child car seat until they exceed this height.
The best option of all is that the child begins to use the seat belt when it fits him or her properly. There is no need to rush into taking away the elevator or booster seat.
Here you can find our recommendations on how to know when to move to using the seat belt instead.
Where is the safest place to put the child car seat?
The safest place is the middle rear seat due to its distance from both doors. However, if the car has ISOFIX anchorages on the side seats we recommend that you install the child car seat in one of these places in order to avoid making mistakes when anchoring it. If we place the child seat behind the passenger seat we will be able to see the child better and reach the child more easily.
Can I use a cushion so that the child seat is well secured?
At Fundación MAPFRE we are not in favour of any additional system that has not been recommended by the manufacturer or does not come with the CRS itself, given that it can reduce its effectiveness. We should not forget that even the safest child seat can be dangerous if it is not correctly installed.
My child is going to start using a booster seat. Should it have a backrest?
The changes that are happening are only affecting its approval, that is to say, the manufacturers. You can use a booster with or without a backrest until it is prohibited to do so.
Nevertheless, at Fundación MAPFRE we recommend using a booster with a backrest given that it offers the most protection in the event of a side-on collision and its guide system helps you to properly fasten the seat belt.
Take a look at all the changes that affect child car seat approval.
There is some controversy over the child car seat ratings given by different bodies and institutions, particularly with those that are rear-facing. Which rating should I pay attention to?
It is certainly the case that the ratings that rear-facing child car seats are given can vary considerably.
The main difference has to do which what is being assessed in each different test, in the various points taken into account and how the tests are carried out. For example, in the Plus Test protection of the neck area is prioritised, and is even more demanding than the R-129. That is why only a rear-facing CRS will pass the Plus test.
Different tests take into account other factors as well as safety in the event of a head-on or side-on collision, such as its use, cleanliness and manufacture, ergonomics and toxic substances.
The safest child car seat for your child will be the one that is best suited to their physical attributes. A child car seat that has been approved under R-129 will have greater safety levels than those approved by R44/4.
Nevertheless, we should not forget that all child car seats holding the corresponding approval will be safe providing that they are appropriate for the child's height (i-Size) and weight (R 44) and are installed correctly.