Christmas is right around the corner and that means we will be thinking about what gifts to buy. A good child restraint system would be a great gift for a lot of people, but do to it right, we need to be aware of a number of important aspects.
In case you know someone who wants to buy a CRS as a gift for Christmas (or perhaps even you yourself), we will be going over the most important information in six brief points:
1. The child car seat should be suitable for the child in question and their physical condition. Not all children are alike and therefore the two things we need to know are the child's height and weight before buying any seat for them. If the child has special needs we need to add this important factor into the equation.
2. You should only purchase an EU-approved child car seat. We have two approval standards in Spain: R44/04 and R129.
3. It is also useful to know what make of car the child seat will be installed in. I-Size (R-129) car seats are usually larger than the average child seat and vehicles need to be adapted to this standard. The vehicle also needs to be able to install the Top Tether or support leg that comes with an ISOFIX or i-Size seat. We currently recommend using isofix seats because they are relatively easy to install and help eliminate the typical human errors in installation that can often occur.
4. At Fundación MAPFRE we recommend that children travel in a rear-facing position for as long as possible and until they are at least 4 years old. This is why it is a good idea to buy a seat designed to be installed in this position as it offers better head and neck protection, particularly in head-on collisions.
5. Boosters with backrests are the best option for older children. It is best for the backrest to include side protection for their head and it also helps you to correctly route the seat belt. In Spain, children are required by law to travel in a child car seat until they are over 135 cm tall. However, we recommend waiting until the child is 150 cm tall because this is when the car seat belt will properly fit the child.
6. It is best to purchase the CRS from a specialized store where child car seat experts can guide you through the process. We do not recommend buying a second hand seat because you will not know if it has been well taken care of or if it has been in an accident. Child car seats have a roughly 6-year shelf life.
Therefore, if someone is planning to purchase a child restraint system as a gift this Christmas we need to make sure that we explain the following to them: the child's height and weight, if we prefer a seat approved by the R-129 or R-44 standard, if the car has ISOFIX anchorages, the specific car model, if the child can travel in a rear-facing position (the safest option)...
In this infographic we offer advice on how to go about choosing the best possible CRS: