IMPORTANT NOTICE!

A child restraint system (CRS) is only effective if it is correctly installed and the child is properly strapped in. In order to offer the greatest protection possible, it is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions extremely carefully when installing the seat.

According to the World Health Organisation, child safety seats prevent between 50 and 80% of all injuries.

In the same way that seat belts provide protection for adults, child seats are the best option for children:

  • They reduce the contact with the interior of the vehicle and reduce the severity of injuries should this happen. 
  • They disperse the impact of a crash to the most resistant parts of the body. 
  • Impede the expulsion of the occupants from the vehicle during a crash. 
  • Prevent injury to other occupants of the vehicle during a crash. 

 

A child car seat is the only way to travel safely!

Remember:

An adult's arms are not a seatbelt!

Never use a seatbelt instead of a child seat, which is specifically designed to protect children.

Always, always use your child seat

Even when in a hurry, remember that your child’s safety is paramount: never be in any doubt as to what may happen in an instant.

WHAT IS THE UNITED NATIONS STANDARD ECE R44/04?

Child car seats that are certified by the United Nations standard ECE R44/04 are safer and more capable of protecting a child in the event of a collision. The regulation, which was introduced in 2005, ensures parents that their car seat meets a variety of requirements. Because car seats with this certification comply with safety standards and requirements as set forth by the European safety standards, all car seats sold or used within the 56 UNECE member states must have the certification.

In order to qualify for the ECE R44/04, car seat manufacturers must allow their products to undergo vigorous testing that ensures each seat is designed with safety as the foremost feature.

There are several factors to consider before purchasing or using a car seat for your child. It should be suitable for their weight and height and be properly fitted according to the individual manufacturer’s instructions. But the most important feature to consider is the United Nations standard ECE R44/04.

How Are Car Seats Analyzed?

In order to meet the United Nations standard ECE R44/04, car seats are put through various safety tests.

A car seat that meets the standard will have undergone the following tests:

  • Frontal collision at 50km/hr
  • Rear-end collision at 30km/hr
  • Several harness buckle tests
  • A thorough analysis of the seat’s interior and exterior design
  • Seat straps are tested for strength and durability
  • Other requirements as needed by group classification

WHAT IS THE UNITED NATIONS STANDARD ECE R129?

'i-Size' is a new EU safety regulation for child car seats (ECE R129). It was introduced in July 2013 to make child car seats easier to fit, provide better protection from side impacts and keep children rearward-facing for longer. i-Size only applies to Isofix seats.

The main changes that i-Size introduces are:

  • i-Size seats are based on the child's height rather than weight
    i-Size uses the child's height to determine if the seat fits the child, rather than their weight. So, it's important to check that your child's height is within the range of the seat. Parents tend to know their child's height better than their weight, which should make it easier for parents to judge if the seat is suitable for their child and when they should move the child into a larger seat.
  • i-Size rearward-facing restraints are for babies up to 15 months old
    Babies in i-Size car seats stay rearward-facing until they are at least 15 months old. Currently, parents often move their baby to a forward-facing seat too soon.
  • Side impact test
    i-Size includes a side impact test to ensure that the seats provide better protection from side impact collisions.

i-Size child car seats fit in cars that have Isofix fitting points, but you still need to check if the seat is approved for your car. Contact your car manufacturer and/or the child seat manufacturer.

CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEMS (CRS)

CAR SEAT GROUPINGS EXPLAINED

Car Seat Groupings (According to R44/04)

  • Group 0: 0-10kg. From birth to about 6 to 9 months

  • Group 0+: 0-13kg. From birth to about 12 to 15 months

  • Group 0+/1: 0-18kg. From birth to about 4 years

  • Group 0+/1/2: 0-25kg. From birth to about 7 years

  • Group 0+/1/2/3: 0-36kg. From birth to about 12 years

  • Group 1/2/3: 9-36kg. About 9 months up to 12 years

  • Group 2/3: 15-36kg. About 3 to 12 years

  • Group 3: 22-36kg (Booster Seat). About 6 to 12 years

Car Seat Groupings (R44/04 & R129-iSize)

 

Up to 13 kg (Group 0+) / From 40 to 85 cm and from 45 to 105 cm (i-Size)

Up to approximately 15 months (the weight and height of the child is what counts, not the age)

  • The child car seat is installed on the rear seat and positioned facing the rear. The safest place is usually the middle rear seat. 
  • If it is placed on the front passenger seat facing the rear, the airbag must be deactivated
  • It can be installed using the ISOFIX system (if the car is equipped with this) or with the car's seat belts. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for the correct installation of the seat.
  • The backrest should be at a 45 degree angle.
  • Purchase a child restraint system that is officially approved (R44/04 or R-129) and from a specialist center where they can advise you and let you try out the seat in your car.

R-129

  • Height needs to be taken into account when choosing child seats approved under regulation R-129.
  • The child should be rear-facing up to 15 months old.

 

From 9 to 18 kg (Group I) / Up to 105 cm (i-Size)

From approximately 8 months to 4 years old (the weight and height of the child is what counts, not the age)

The i-Size car seat for children up to 105 cm is for children between approximately 6 months and 4 years old.

  • Children should travel facing the rear until they are 15 months old.
  • The child seat must be placed on the rear seats.
  • The safest seat is the rear middle seat.
  • If a rear-facing child is seated in the front passenger seat, the the front passenger airbag must be deactivated.
  • The backrest should be at a 45 degree angle so that the head does not fall forward.
  • Purchase a child restraint system that is officially approved (R44/04 or R-129) and from a specialist center where they can advise you and let you try out the seat in your car.

 

From 15 to 25 kg (Group II) / more than 100 cm (i-Size)

From approximately 3 to 7 years old (the weight and height of the child is what counts, not the age)

  • Booster seat with backrest that allows the 3-point car seat belt to be adapted to the restraint system.
  • It should be installed in the rear seats and recommended in the rear centre seat.
  • It is installed using the seat belt, although some child seats offer the possibility of accompanying this with the ISOFIX system (if the car is equipped with this). Follow the manufacturer's instructions to anchor the child seat correctly to the seat belt anchor points.
  • The child is secured with theseat belt: the diagonal strap of the belt should pass over the collarbone and shoulder without touching the neck. The horizontal strap should be as low as possible over the thighs and never on the stomach or abdomen.
  • Purchase a child restraint system that is officially approved (R44/04 or R-129) and from a specialist center where they can advise you and let you try out the seat in your car.
  • It is compulsory for the Group 2 booster seat to have a backrest, whether it is approved under R44/04 or under R-129.

 

From 22 to 36 kg (Group III) 

From approximately 6 to 12 years old (the weight and height of the child is what counts, not the age)

  • Booster seat with or without backrest that allows the 3-point car seat belt to be adapted to the restraint system.
  • The child is too big for a child seat but has not yet reached the required height to wear a seat belt only.
  • They should travel on the rear seats and preferably the rear middle seat and forward facing. 
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions in order to correctly install the child car seat and thread the seat belt through the indicated slots.
  • They are fastened using the seat belt: the diagonal strap of the belt should pass over the collarbone and shoulder without touching the neck. The horizontal strap should be as low as possible over the thighs and never on the stomach or abdomen. 
  • Purchase a child restraint system that is officially approved (R44/04 or R-129) and from a specialist center where they can advise you and let you try out the seat in your car.

BASIC SAFETY GUIDE

Safe from day one.

Because a child is so very important to us, we have come up with some practical advice so that your child is well-protected from its very first trip.

The car must always be equipped with a child restraint system (CRS).

Child car seats for vehicles are probably the most important safety measure for children. When travelling with newborn babies you should take into account the following recommendations:

  • The child seat should be specifically designed for newborns and small babies, given that they can prevent up to 90% of serious or fatal injuries that can occur in a car accident. You should never travel with the child in our arms.
  • You should have a child seat ready for the day that the mother gives birth. We recommend being particularly cautious about second-hand child seats, given that they might not be in perfect condition and may not be able to protect the child as well.
  • Practice how to correctly install the child seat before putting the child in it. The ISOFIX system is designed to avoid errors in installation.
  • Whether the trip is a long or a short one, the newborn baby should always travel with a child restraint system appropriate for its weight and height.
  • The baby should not be seated in an upright position. A slightly reclined position halfway between lying flat and sitting up is the most recommended.
  • As the child grows, the child seat should be changed.
  • The child seat must be placed on the rear seats. The only exceptions are if the vehicle does not have rear seats, if the rear seats are already occupied by other children in child seats or if child seats cannot be placed on them.
  • The safest seat is the middle seat as it is further away from the doors. However, ISOFIX anchors are usually fitted onto the two side seats. In this case it is best to place the child restraint system on the rear seat behind the front passenger seat in order to have better access to the child and to be able to see the child.
  • You should never place a child facing the rear in the passenger seat if the airbag cannot be disabled.
  • The child restraint should be an approved model. The European ECE R44/04 and R129 (i-Size) standards are currently in force. This means that the child seat model has been subjected to certain safety tests before being put on sale.

 

Letting your child take their arms out of the harness

Many children tend to pull their arms out of their harness. Allowing them to do so can seriously affect the young child's safety and could even lead to the child coming out of the seat completely.The harnesses must be correctly adjusted to the child's body. You should only be able to fit two adult fingers between the harness and the child's body. This way the system will be at its most effective when needed. 

It is crucial not to interfere with the harness buckle, given that in an accident it can hamper the process of getting the child out of the seat. Furthermore, we should not alter any other part of the child seat since everything is designed to function in the event of an accident and to offer the maximum protection possible. 

 

Travelling with a baby on an adult’s knee

Sometimes adults travel with a child held in their arms. This happens more frequently than it should and is very dangerous since if an adult is wearing a seatbelt when the car brakes hard or is involved in an accident, the child will be thrown against the dashboard or the windscreen. If the adult were not wearing a seatbelt they would crush the child with a force of 1000kgs.

 

Allow your child to travel without a child car seat

Children MUST always travel in their car seat, without exceptions! There are no excuses such as “it’s ok they are by my side” or “we are only going slowly”…. Don’t allow the child to complain. We must educate them to understand that their car seat is not optional. If they learn this from an early age, they will assume it’s the most normal thing in the world. It is also an investment in their future safety and hopefully they will become responsible adults where road safety is concerned and always use their seatbelt. 

The majority of traffic accidents happen close to home. What is more, a collision at only 50km/hr. can be fatal to an adult if not using a seatbelt or a child that isn’t using a child safety seat.

 

Not using a seatbelt. Be careful, children learn from what they see!

Children learn by mimicking what they see and we cannot teach them to use a car seat if we don’t use our seatbelt. If we don’t use it we are sending a message to our children that “using a child car seat or a seatbelt is not that important”.

An adult that is not wearing a seatbelt can crush a child in a collision: an adult weighing 75 kilos can see there weight in a crash multiplied up to more than 1000kgs.

Children, even the smallest of them are aware of all our gestures and habits so as well as seatbelts we must set a good example with regard to traffic lights and road signs, as in all of our behaviour at the wheel. Behave, as you would wish them to in the future where safety is concerned.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS