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How do you know that the child seat is properly secured?

How do you know if the child seat is properly secured?

05/08/2016

When taking children in the car, it is just as important for the seat to be properly secured as it is for it to be the right size for the child's height and weight, because this is the only way the seat will perform effectively in the event of an accident.

Firstly, you will find child seats with three different types of fittings on the market, depending on the type of restraint system you choose:

1 – By the car's seat belt only
This applies to every car as the child seat can be fitted in cars that do not have ISOFIX fittings.

The normal procedure is for the car's seat belt to be threaded through the padded backrest through some slots in the seat's structure and in some cases underneath the base.

These slots are usually brightly-colored (often red) or might have clamps to get a better grip on the seat belt.

How to do it: Fix the seat belt to the buckle of the seat and tighten it as much as possible so the seat is secured fixed in place and there is no slack. If the seat has a third fixing point, pass the seat belt through it and adjust it according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Even though you may feel you know where the belt should go, it is very important that you check the manufacturer's instructions. The main disadvantage of this type of fitting is the chance of making a mistake when following the steps and not securing it properly.

2 – Combined system: seat belt and ISOFIX fittings.

These seats can be used in vehicles with or without an ISOFIX system. They are secured by using both the car's seat belt and the ISOFIX fittings.

How to do it: This is explained below.

3 – The ISOFIX system and a third support point

The ISOFIX system has some specific steel fittings for securing the child seat, which can be found at the bottom of the back seat. If your car does not have these fittings, you will not be able to use this kind of child seat.

These child seats have a belt which is attached to a ring in the car to stop them from tipping over. Some models also have an adjustable leg which is supported by the floor of the car and also prevents the seat from tipping over.

How do do it:

First, align the supports with the ISOFIX slots and push the seat until you hear it click into place. Then attach the anti-tipping strap, known as the "Top Tether" (check here how to affix the Top Tether) to the ring, which is usually at the back of the car seat's backrest. If the child seat has an anti-tipping leg, adjust it until it is firmly supported by the floor of the car.

This video provides a very straightforward explanation of how to fit a CSR correctly:

05/08/2016

Once the child seat is in place, check that it is properly anchored. Put a bit of pressure on it and check to see that there is minimal movement and that the anchoring points are strong. You can see the different types of anchoring systems in the following infographic:

How do you know that the child seat is properly secured?

 
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