It becomes so automatic that it seems incredible to think that we perform so many little tasks unconsciously when we get into the car: we check that the seat position is correct, that the mirrors are clearly visible, that the gear stick is in neutral, etc.
Apart from the things we do automatically, there are others that are no less important, that we perform hastily without really thinking about what we are doing, for example, adjusting the child’s car seat or taking care to ensure that the harness is perfectly adjusted and tight enough. This is why the human factor is one of the most common cause of the failure of a child car seat not to work at 100% of its capabilities. What are the mistakes we are talking about?
- Not checking the seat anchors. If you have the ISOFIX system, give it a tug to make sure it is correct, if the seat is adjusted using the seatbelts, then check the 3 fixing points. First of all make sure it is correctly fastened; secondly, make sure it is not twisted or loose. (Toys get everywhere); thirdly, even if you find nothing unusual, check again that it is tight enough, do this each time you put the child into the seat.
- Not seating a child properly in the seat. When the child is seated, make sure that everything is tightly fastened. The best position is when they are upright, with their back up against the seat back and their hips as far back as possible. This is the best position to the fasten the harness.
- The harness should also be checked. A loose harness has not been properly adjusted and will do more harm than good. Make sure it is not twisted and nothing that could cause it to be incorrectly fastened. If you have to, take the CRS out of the car and check that the harness is properly fixed. (Better to do this when you are not about to leave home so that you have time to make sure everything is all right).
- The harness should never be fastened over a thick coat. This can happen when you are rushing to get to school, and is a frequent but easily avoided mistake. The bigger the coat, the more difficult it is to tighten the harness around the body for several reasons: the size of the coat impedes it; you don’t want to squash the child by fastening the harness too tight; Take a Little longer to remove the coat and sit the child properly.
- We sometimes feel as if tightening the belt too much will be uncomfortable for the child, or that they are “almost tall enough” to do without the booster seat. A common mistake it to put the comfort of our children before their safety. If they do not measure at least 135cm, they must use a CRS, even if they don’t like it.
The safety of our children is worth an extra five minutes to check the CRS anchors, the harness, the child’s posture and that the seatbelt are all correctly adjusted. It is only five minutes (often even less), but plays an important part in the safety of our children and our peace of mind.