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Is it important to ensure that there are no toys or buckles lodged between the child and the seat belt?

Is it important to ensure that there are no toys or buckles lodged between the child and the seat belt?

10/11/2017

Often we place the child in the child seat without even checking if there are any toys around, either in the child restraint system or in the child's pockets. However, we should be aware that failing to do so could be  risky in the event of a sudden braking or a traffic accident.

We should take into account that children sometimes carry toys or other objects in their jacket, sweater or trousers, or that the clothes themselves may have sharp pieces, such as buckles, which could be lodged between the child and the seat belt or harness. In the event of an accident they could cause unnecessary injury.

The inertia of a sharp braking, a head-on collision or rear impact forces the child's body forwards. This is when the seat belt or harness holds the child in place in the child seat. If there is an object in the way it will impede the child restraint system from adequately protecting the child and the object could embed itself in the child's body.

This is something that the manufacturers of child restraint systems warn about in their instruction manuals. Depending on the object and the type of accident, the injuries can be either minimal or quite serious, although it is not just serious accidents that can lead to such injuries. It only takes a sudden sharp braking in order for the child to be thrown forward and for the object to jab into them.

For all these reasons, it is always a good idea to firstly check, that there are no loose objects in the passenger compartment such as toys which could fly out in the event of an accident. Above all, we should check the child car seat itself to ensure that no small objects have lodged themselves between the harnesses, or in the cushion.

We should then remove the child's jacket. Remember that putting a child in a child seat in their overcoat is a mistake, since it gives the false impression that the child is securely in place. We recommend our article entitled 'Can an overcoat put the effectiveness of child seats and children's safety at risk?'

The harness or seat belt should be firmly in place and this cannot occur if the child is in bulky clothing. We should also check their sweater, shirt and trouser pockets and those of any other items of clothing.

After checking that there are no objects that could harm the child, we will place the child in the child seat and fasten them up properly (follow this advice for correct installation and securing).

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