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Do you know how to safely install a child's car seat facing backwards?

¿Sabes colocar una sillita mirando hacia atrás de forma segura?

11/03/2020

The safest position for a car seat for children is facing backwards, as this ensures greater protection of the head, neck and spine, all very vulnerable parts, especially when children are involved.

In addition, the approval standard R-129 (known as i-Size) requires that all child restraints approved by the standard are designed to place the child in this position up to 15 months of age. From that age on, the rule does not require the seat to be installed facing backwards, but it is highly recommended to do so, at least until the age of 4.

For babies,  installing the seat facing backwards is crucial for their safety. This is also the case for children with special needs, who, in general terms,  travel much better in a semi-reclined position. You can see the advantages for these children to travel in this position, in the following detailed image.

We can summarize the advantages of backward facing car seats in these three points:

  • It ensures greater protection of the head, neck and spine, a child's most vulnerable parts. Thus, the head, neck and back are aligned with the backrest and the force of an impact is largely absorbed by the car seat itself, thus reducing the transfer of energy into the child's chest and abdomen.
  • This way 80% of serious injuries can be avoided in the event of a collision.
  • They are particularly suitable for children with different conditions, such as underweight children or those with muscular problems.

Here you can find a number of  tips and information about backward facing car seats that may be of particular interest.

Regarding how children should travel in backward facing car seats, these are the main keys:

-They must mandatorily occupy the back seats of the vehicle. The exceptions are: if the rear seats are occupied by other children in child car seats; if the CRS cannot be installed on those seats, or if the vehicle does not have rear seats.

-We recommend always following the manufacturer's instructions for a correct installation of the seat. They can be seats attached with the safety belt (these are used less and less), or have the isofix system, which requires a base.

-If the chair is secured to the car seat  with the seat belt , we will have to pass it correctly through the indicated slots (many of them tell us if we are doing it correctly with green indicators). The key to everything is to tighten the belt so it does not hang loose. This is the case of most of the backwards facing car seats, which are usually for older children. In today's market we can find them for up to 25 kg of weight.

-If the chair has isofix fixtures, its installation is very simple because we only have to adjust the chair to the slots and onto the isofix base (until we hear a "click" indicating it has been correctly installed).

-Rear-facing child seats may have a Support Leg or a Top Tether, in both cases it must be correctly positioned following the steps indicated by the manufacturer. These are anti-rotation devices that offer a higher level of security to the entire structure.

-As far as the fastening of the child is concerned, in most cases we are talking about five-point harnesses. It's important that they are not loose or twisted. Ideally, only one to two fingers should fit between the child's body and the harness. Here are the reasons why a tight harness is a safe harness. 

-We recommend reclining the backrest to travel more comfortably, and the smaller the child, the more reclined he or she must be, as there is less strength in the neck to hold the head. 

-Use a reduction cushion for younger children. Normally they need it for the first 3 to 6 months, at which point the baby's neck starts becoming stronger.


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