We advise that the vehicle is equipped with a frontal airbag disconnection system (automatic is better than manual). If travelling with a child on the front seat, a backward facing child seat can never be installed when the airbag is active. If using a forward facing seat then we advise you to consult the owner’s manual for the car.
The central rear seat is the safest option due to the fact that is is furthest from any potential impact zone, providing that the child seat can be correctly installed in said seat.
In fact, it is compulsory by law for children 135 cm tall or less to travel on the rear seats. There are only three exceptions that mean they can travel in the front passenger seat:
- If the vehicle does not have any rear seats.
- If all the back seats are already occupied by other children in their respective child seats.
- If child restraint systems cannot be installed in the said seats.
If one of these three exceptions occurs, the child may travel on the passenger seat. A child must never be placed in a rear-facing seat on the passenger seat if the airbag cannot be disabled.
Important: if one of the side rear seats has ISOFIX anchorages and the seat is compatible with this system it is advisable to position the CRS on one of these places, since you are less likely to make a mistake when installing the seat. In this instance, the best option is the seat behind the passenger seat.
If the central seat only has a 2-point seatbelt, it would also be best to place the child in one of the side rear seats with 3-point seatbelts.
If the central rear seat does not have a headrest and the child is tall enough to need one, it would also be safer to use a side rear seat with a headrest.
In terms of the side rear seats, the right seat is safer than the left, given that, firstly, it means that the child can get in and out of the car away from traffic and, secondly, because the driver can see the child better when he or she is sitting on the opposite side and not behind the driver. In the case of forward-facing child seats, the driver can see the child better through the rear-view mirror when the child is seated on the middle rear seat.
You should choose a vehicle that has integrated child seats for children above 15kg in weight: these seats are integrated into the existing car seats so they are always at hand in the vehicle.
5. Some manufactures have designed these seats to be interactive with the other safety features in the vehicle, for example the lateral airbags
It is worth knowing whether the height at which the sash, or upper part of the seatbelt, comes through the upholstery on the back seats can be adjusted.
It is important that the vehicle is equipped with child locks on the doors and rear windows so that the children are unable to open them from inside, these also stop them from sticking an arm or their head out of the window while the car is moving. The controls are situated on the driver’s side and so are also useful to stop the children from getting out of the car once you have stopped until you open the door.
7. The vehicle should have an optical indicator, easily visible, to indicate if the doors are not closed properly
To avoid injury if the child should stick their head or arms out of the window while it is closing, there are now automobiles on the market equipped with automatic-reversing window motors which activate if they sense an obstruction.
The rear sensors and the rear cameras are both very efficient systems for avoiding shocks and accidents with the little ones. Every day there are new models that include these extras and they are very useful if we frequently have to reverse into or out of a parking space.
Other extras that indirectly contribute to the safety of children in the car:
Frontal anti-collision systems.
Systems to detect fatigue.
Systems to warn of involuntary lane change.
Tire pressure sensors.
Rear sun blinds or tinted rear windows with thermal protection.
Interior air conditioning systems.
Interior mirrors to observe the back seats without having to turn your head.