A child car seat or child restraint system is comprised of a number of safety features. Depending on the chair's group or its size in the case of i-Size approved seats, we might come across cushions, padded parts for the back, side wings, harnesses, harness inserts and many more features.
Most importantly, before deciding whether to add or detach parts of a child car seat, we need to know if it is approved and suitable for the child's physical characteristics.
Once we have done so, we should think about which parts of the child restraint system we can change or remove. There are normally very few parts which can be removed or changed because the entire child seat is designed with the child's safety in mind.
For example, we do not recommend removing the backrest of booster seats. In earlier models, the backrest was detachable at the base and could be removed, but over time it was found that the benefits of having a backrest and, above all, side protection for the head were very important.
These side supports are usually cushions which can support the head and protect it in the event of a side impact, therefore removing them from the child seat (together with the backrest) significantly reduces the safety of the entire child car seat.
In the smallest of the CRS, Groups 0/0+, to mention the most well-known of them, there are parts which can be removed and others which can be added. This is due to the fact that very small babies might need help fitting in the chair, although we should remember that whenever we are adding or removing parts we should always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
For example, when they are newly born a reducer can be added to the CRS, which is basically a padded accessory that helps fit the small child in the seat so that the harnesses can be correctly fastened, and the baby won't move when the car starts up. After a few weeks have passed the reducer can be removed.
On the other hand, before changing to a seat in Group 1 we might need to remove other padded accessories which come with Groups 0 and 0+. This occurs when the baby has not grown enough for the harnesses to fit too tightly under normal conditions.
As with everything, we should check the CRS instructions manual to find out which accessories can be removed or added without affecting the child seat's protective abilities. We should not remove accessories or use new ones without checking first (and we should make sure that they are duly approved).