Choosing a suitable child restraint system is not always an easy endeavor, especially if we are purchasing a child car seat for the first time. In this case, the store assistants have an important role to play since they are responsible for giving us the best advice possible. Do they provide the right information to help parents choose the best seat for their needs?
Knowing what a difficult task this can be, the ‘Traffic and Road Safety’ magazine of the Department of Traffic (DGT) has addressed this confusing situation for parents who have to choose a suitable child restraint system and the fact that there is a lack of information about it. One of the main advantages of purchasing a CRS in-store is being able to receive advice on the topic from a specialized store assistant. We will go on to discuss the differences between purchasing a child car seat on the internet or in a store. Nevertheless, as the magazine demonstrates, not all the necessary information is always provided.
Retailers play a crucial role in children's road safety, since they are responsible for advising parents on how to choose the best child restraint system for their children. In addition, they can often help answer any questions that parents may have about the legislation and frequently advise them on the best way to take a child by car. This is why it is so important that they can clear up any doubts and in order to do so they should have the necessary information and training.
The report mentioned demonstrates that there are a lot of store assistants who still lack good knowledge on the topic. To demonstrate this, they visited specialized stores and found that many employees were telling parents that children could travel facing forward long before it is necessary or advisable. Remember that children should travel in a rear-facing position for as long as possible. At Fundación MAPFRE we recommend doing so until the child is up to 4 years old. In many instances store assistants were advising parents to change the child car seat earlier than necessary and to move to a CRS in a higher group which was not yet needed. They also confirmed that in a number of cases the store assistants did not ask what kind of car they would be using and did not teach them how to install the child car seat.
Training is undoubtedly a key factor here, and high employee turnover is a concern too.The Department of Traffic is working to ensure that there is correct information and training. For example, the DGT's Provincial Road Safety Division in Granada holds workshops in children's stores which new parents and some retailers can attend.
Moreover, child car seat manufacturers such as Dorel (with brands such as Bébé Confort or Maxi Cosi) and Britax Röemer regularly provide retailers with training on their child car seats. They are trained on approvals, legislation, correct installation of the seats, the different types of CRS on the market, etc. We will cover some of the requirements that a child car seat retailer should fulfill in order to be able to offer professional advice to parents purchasing child restraint systems.