ERRORS TO BE AVOIDED
The majority of mistakes are in the incorrect use and installation of child seats or carrycots. For example, it is important to ensure that we are fully aware of the history of the seat we are using, that it hasn’t been involved in an accident and that it is not more than 6 years old, in which case it could have deteriorated and so not capable of protecting your child. The seat shouldn’t be used for any other purpose such as walking the baby. We must also avoid the child being in the seat for too long, as well as being uncomfortable it can cause injury.
The seat should always be installed following the instruction book and it must be properly adjusted and checked before each journey. It is best to place it in the vehicle facing backwards at least for the baby’s first twelve months. When installing the seat backwards, it must be inclined at the correct angle, guaranteeing maximum protection and minimum risk of injury. Also the harness must be correctly adjusted, normally over the shoulder or just below it.
If the seat is installed facing forward, the harness becomes more important to securing the child in place, so it must be located over the shoulder thus avoiding, in the case of an head-on accident, it compromising the thorax, the neck or the collarbone. The harness must be tightened properly, so that the child cannot get their arms out to unlock it but without it being too tight. The straps of the harness mustn’t be twisted or buckled. For maximum protection we must avoid the child wearing a thick coat, which would reduce the efficiency of the harness. (It is better to take the coat off before fastening the harness and then put the coat or a blanket over).
Lastly, don’t be in too much of a hurry to change seat groups, or replace it with a booster seat. It is important to respect the weight and height requirements when changing groups. In general the child seats in group I are safer than booster seats in group II and III (some of them don’t provide lateral protection). We therefore recommend that you don’t move on to a booster seat while the child can still use an approved seat from group I. Once they are taller than 135cms, children can legally use seatbelts but from the point of view of maximum safety they should only use a seatbelt if it can be properly adjusted: the lower belt flat across the hips, never over the stomach and the upper belt across the middle of the sternum and the collarbone, never over the neck and shoulder.