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Child Safety in cars

We never think twice about putting our seat belts on when we get in a car. It is a habit we have and we need to encourage our children to follow the same habit. The laws regarding seat belts and child car seats are there for the comfort and safety of those involved. It is important that you ensure  your children are travelling in accordance with the law and that they are in the right seat, booster or baby seat.

European law splits these seats into four groups:
-    Group 0 to 0+ baby seats are for babies weighing up to 13 kg, (from birth to 9-12 months). Baby seats face backwards and can be fitted in the front or rear of a car using a seat belt or ISOFIX connector. They must not be used in the front of a car if the seat is protected by an active airbag.
-    Group 1. Child car seats are for children weighing between 9 and 18 kilos (approximate age 9 months to 4 years) and have their own integral straps. They face forwards or rearwards and are fitted in the front or rear of a car using an adult seat belt or ISOFIX connector.
-    Group 2. Booster seats for children from 15 to 25 kilos (approximately 4 to 6 years) or depending upon make and model from 15 to 36 kilos. These may or may not have backs. They are designed to raise children so that the adult seat belt goes safely as low as possible from hip bone to hip bone.
-    Group 3. Booster cushions for children weighing 22 to 36 kg (aged around six years and upwards). They are designed to raise children as in group two. You may also purchase a range of multi stage restraints which cover groups one to three with elements that may be removed as the child grows. The weight ranges overlap to allow some flexibility when the time comes to move your child to the next size. Modern booster seats are designed for use with lap and diagonally seat belts only. These cannot be used with adult lap belts.

It is important that your child restraint fits well, if not a child could be at risk of injury in a badly fitted seat. You should always check that your seat is fitted as intended by the manufacturer, is correct for the weight of your child and meets the European safety standards. All child restraints must meet the UN ECE regulation 4403 or later type approval standard. Any products that meet the standard will have a label showing E and 44.03 or 44.04 or later and the group or weigh range of the child for which it is designed.

ISOFIX

These are anchorage points that are increasing being installed in new cars. The major advantage is that they permit a child restraint to be fixed safely to the main structure of the car, thus helping to minimise the risk of poor or incorrect installation. Having permanent fixtures in each seat position also means that ISOFIX compatible child restraints with ISOFIX fittings will be able to be fitted and released very easily without needing to use the adult seat belts. Less messing for mum! Some child seats already have ISOFIX fittings so check before you buy to see if they are suitable for your car.

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