Some text giving actual help choosing the best fit, the image below is a placeholder to give an idea. This section can be added later, but it should be there!
Children should stay in a car seat or booster seat until they have reached at least 135-150cm (this can differ from country to country) which is usually around 12 years of age. Children should travel rear facing until they are at least 15months of age or have reached 85cm or 13kg. We strongly advise against moving children up to the next car seats too early. Booster seats should not be introduced until the child has reached at least 105cm.
The latest European-wide car seat safety standards are ECE R44/04 and ECE R129 (i-Size).
R129 is the newer standard (introduced July 2013) and increasingly replacing the older R44 standard. Under R44 car seats only have to be tested for protection against accidents where the front or back of the car is hit. They don’t have to offer side impact protection, even though around 25% of car accidents involve a car being hit on the side.
I-Size (the first phase of a safety standard called R129), aims to make car seats for children up to 105cm safer.
It’s designed to keep children rear-facing for longer, provide better side impact protection and make car seats easier to fit correctly. i-Size now legally requires car seats to ensure side impact protection. A new type of more innovative crash test dummy is being used to test i-Size car seats (they’re called Q rather than P dummies). The new dummy version has more sensors, higher sensitivity and better reflects how a child’s body would react in an accident.
I-Size currently requires the use of ISOFIX as it can reduce the risk of incorrectly installing your seat. This is the biggest safety problem around car seat use – as evidence suggests that up to 75% of car seats are not fitted correctly.
I-Size also aims to reduce the confusion around car seat suitability. Under the older regulations they’re categorised by weight. However, one e.g. 9-month-old baby may have a very different weight to another. I-Size requires children to sit rear-facing until they’re at least 15 months old. This is because studies show it’s safer and that rear-facing car seats can offer up to 75% more protection if your young child is involved in a car accident.
The second phase of R129 became active in June 2017 focusing on safety requirements for high back booster seats for children from 100 – 135cm. Booster seats approved according to R129 phase 2 have to now have a backrest and also need to undergo side-impact testing.
Some car seats have weight limits and/or height limits.
• Know what your child’s weight and height measurements are.
• Do not rush your child into the next stage car seat. A car seat that is too big can be just as ineffective in an accident as a seat that is too small.
• For optimum safety it is important to keep your child in the lowest group car seat for as long as possible.
• According to experts, weight measurements are not always the most reliable indicator of when to move a child into the next stage car seat.
The new i-Size car seats have height limits. A child will have outgrown the seat when its head is level with the top of the seat, or it has reached the weight limit – You can use our Albert until your child has reached either 85cm or 13kg. Please note that the age is not a criterion but merely a guideline. Not all children develop at the same rate.
A young child’s spine is not fully developed, and the body proportions differ from the ones of an adult. A head on collision in a forward-facing car seat could therefore be fatal. The new i-Size regulations make it mandatory to keep your child rear facing until they are at least 15 months old. We recommend keeping your child in rear facing car seats for as long as possible provided there is enough space. There are car seats available that can cater for rear facing travel beyond 15 months.
• Always check if the car seat you have in mind fits your car. A perfect fit is a vital aspect to safety.
• Do not forget to check if your car has Isofix anchor points. Especially if you are looking at purchasing one of our products.
• Your specialist retailer would usually provide a car fitting service to make sure it is the best fit. Also, make sure there is enough underfloor space to allow for a support leg.
• Do not forget to ask about compatibility with other cars that your child might be travelling in e.g. your partner, child minder or grandparents. Please find our list for car compatibility with on the download page.
Install your car seat in the rear of your car. Preferably behind the passenger seat. If you are travelling with multiple children, it is recommended that the youngest child is behind the passenger seat as they are more vulnerable to accident impact.
Studies have shown that children travelling in the front of the car are at much greater risk of injury. If you have to install your car seat in the front passenger seat, make sure to use the correct car seat for your child and turn off the passenger airbag (Note: Some brands of car have now changed this. Always check with your car manufacturer). Always make sure that any luggage or other objects are properly secured whilst travelling as these could cause severe injuries to children and adults in an accident. The same goes for the car seat – make sure it secured at all times even if it does not carry a passenger.
Make sure that you familiarise yourself with your car seat and how to loosen and tighten the harness straps before the first use. The general rule is for the harness to be as close to your child’s body as possible allowing only one or two fingers to fit between your child’s chest and the harness. Avoid padded clothing as this can create slack and increase the level of forward movement of your child’s head in the event of a collision. Another way of checking the correct tightness of the harness is to do a pinch test – pinch the webbing at your child’s collarbone. If you can grasp any material and pinch it, it’s too loose.
Isofix is a base for your car seat that attaches to anchor points tucked behind the rear seats of your car and is aimed to reduce installation mistakes and make it easier and quicker to install your car seat. Evidence suggests that mistakes can be reduced by as much as 75% when using a car seat with an Isofix base. The new i-Size standard requires the use of an Isofix. Do not forget to check if your car has Isofix anchor points. Especially if you are looking at purchasing one of our products.
And check for car compatibility before you make a purchase. We would always suggest using a car fitting service with your specialist retailer to guarantee a safe fit.
Also bear in mind about compatibility with other cars that your child might be travelling in e.g. your partner, childminder or grandparents. Please find our list for car compatibility with i-Size here.
We would recommend using your infant carrier/baby car seat as long as possible (up to the 85 cm regulation). At this point you can then look to moving onto the next stage.
There could be a very simple explanation for that. Check for any dropped food or spills that could cause the latch plate not to fasten into the buckle properly. If you cannot get the harness to adjust and remain tight with the buckle securely locked, do not use the car seat and contact your local retailer or us directly to organise repair service.
Buying a second hand car seat can be risky, because nobody knows for certain how the seat was treated before. Was it perhaps involved in an accident? That is often very difficult to detect. For that reason Swandoo recommends that you always buy a new car seat and avoid second hand ones.
If a child is secured in a car seat with a thick jacket or coat,or a bulky jumper, then this his leads to a risk that the straps are not tightened properly on the body and it creates dangerous slack in the belt or harness. In particular, if the shoulder strap slip off the shoulder or the lap belt runs over the stomach, it may result in dangerously high pressures in the event of a crash. Swandoo recommends therefore that thick or chunky outer clothes are removed inside the car when possible to ensure the proper safety of the child. If you child is cold, then provide them with a blanket to throw on top, ONCE they are correctly fastened into their car seat or infant carrier. Never put a blanket underneath the harness or impact shield.
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