How to properly install child car seats?
A child car seat can protect a child only if it is installed properly. Otherwise, its use will be simply useless. Inattention or even negligent attitude of parents to this issue can be costly in case of an accident. And the statistics, alas, are disappointing-most operate seats with serious errors. Therefore, it is very important for parents to know how and where the car seat should be installed correctly. It should not be in the car just for show, so as not to pay a fine. Its purpose is to protect the child if the car suddenly crashes, and prevent serious injury and damage!
In total, there are 2 main mounting options: using a standard car belt and using Isofix.
Fastening a child seat in the car with a regular belt
The 3-point belt mount is universal and suitable for car seats of any age group. But in this case, some features must be taken into account. For example, in the chairs of the "0/0 +/1" groups, the belt is used to fix the chair in the passenger compartment, and the baby who is in it is fastened with an additional 5-point belt.
When installing, pay attention to the fact that for most car seats the manufacturer provides for the presence of special tags that facilitate the task and allow you to quickly navigate and correctly stretch the belts. Also on the case may be illustrations, which also must be followed. However, parents over time often ignore such labels and do not follow the installation rules. Everything is done hastily. But you can’t do this, because we are talking about the safety of the child. When using a standard belt, it is very important to pay attention to the following features:
- Remember that the use of such a belt does not provide rigid fixation of the car seat, but after installation it should not hang! Once the structure is fixed with straps, be sure to move the chair, if it moves, you will have to start all over again.
- When the child is seated in a chair, the belts must be checked, they should not be twisted, they should not crush or dangle. The optimal gap is between about 3-4 cm (about two fingers).
- The belt tape must be pulled through all the guides provided by the structure. Be sure to see how the belt goes, it should lie strictly on the shoulder and hips. If it is shifted towards the neck, it can be very dangerous.
- When driving, regular belts often slip and loosen. To prevent this from happening, it is recommended to use an additional lock or a special locking bracket.
Procedure for installing the infant carrier
- Set the infant carrier against the direction of travel of the vehicle. If fasten it on a forward seat, then disconnect an airbag. It is very important! The deployment of the pillow at the time of the accident leads to a shock of enormous force, which can cause injury to the child.
- Take the belt, it must be pulled through special holes, usually there are special blue markings to facilitate the task. If unsure, refer to the instructions. Check that the diagonal and transverse belts are not confused.
- Look at how the infant carrier stands, its backward inclination should not be more than 45 degrees.
- Put the baby in the infant carrier and securely fasten with straps. Adjust them, they should not overdo anything. Two fingers should pass under the straps.
- To avoid rubbing anything, it is recommended to use additional soft overlays for a belt.
Procedure for installing a child seat using a 3-point belt
- Move as far as possible the front seat of the car so that you have enough space to lock the car seat. Check to see if the passenger is “pinched” in the front seat.
- Take out the standard seat belts and, according to the instructions, stretch the tape so that it fits into all matching holes.
- Snap the 3-point belt into the lock after tightening it.
- Check the stiffness of the fixation, the chair should not move. Allowable play must not exceed 2 cm.
- Set the baby down and tighten the seat belts. Be sure to check that the baby is held tight, but at the same time nothing presses him.
Pros and Cons
The Isofix system was created in such a way as to ensure rigid fastening of the car seat to the car body; it was specially developed as an alternative to the usual belts. This installation option has an increased level of protection, which has been repeatedly confirmed by various tests. Isofix is usually located at the base of the child seat, the system looks like two special brackets on a metal frame, which are located symmetrically on both sides.
This type of attachment is only suitable for machines equipped with similar locking systems. If the car seat has Isofix guides, then installing it incorrectly is almost impossible. You can fix the chair very quickly, first you just need to find the brackets built into the rear seats. They must be inserted in the guides that are located at the bottom of the child seat and fixed. Everything is extremely simple.
Please note that some models are available without built-in isofix mounts, but they are installed on a special base that has similar brackets. And it is she who fastens with guides to the car seat. The chair is fixed on the base using special fasteners, they can be different depending on the model of the chair and the manufacturer.
It is also worth noting that Isofix car seats are usually fixed at only 2 points, so very often in different models, to give them more stability and increase the reliability of attachment, an additional third fixation point is used. It can be used as:
- Anchor belt. It should be looked for in the upper part of the chair, this is an additional belt designed to hold the back and not allow the chair to tip over with a strong shock at the time of the accident. Usually in cars there is a special bracket on the back of the rear passenger seat, in the trunk or in another place, taking into account the design features of the vehicle. A belt is passed through it, and then tightened, until the construction is as rigid as possible.
- Support leg (telescopic, retractable floor stop). You can easily adjust the height of this support so as to achieve the most rigid fixation of the chair structure.
If you plan to buy a car seat with Isofix, then you need to consider some important features:
- First of all, make sure that your machine has the appropriate mounts. You need to look for them at the base of the seat, under the back.
- The design of such child seats implies the presence of metal skids, which during their operation can lead to mechanical damage to the upholstery of car seats. Therefore, it is recommended to use a special protective mat that fits under the installed chair.
- Please note that the Isofix system usually only equips the side rear seats of a vehicle. On the front passenger, they are usually not there, they will have to fix the car seat with the help of a standard seat belt.
- Although Isofix mounts may be inin seats of any group, when installing a car seat, it is recommended to use a standard belt. This option is more stable and does not cause vibration. Especially if there is no additional support or special base.
Procedure for installing car seats with Isofix
- Locate the Isofix metal brackets under the seatback and remove the special protective caps from them.
- At the bottom of the child seat, extend the Isofix brackets to the desired length. They also have stubs. Which must be removed beforehand.
- Insert the brackets into the guides located inside the back seat of the car and push the seat slightly, you should hear a characteristic click.
- Try to loosen the chair slightly, if it sits tight and both brackets are fixed securely, then you did everything right.
- If there is an anchor belt, it is thrown over the back of the seat and tightened securely.
- If you are using a base with a support, you must definitely adjust it. The car seat should not hang out, the height of the support should be selected so that the fixation is as tight as possible.
- Once you have made sure that the car seat is installed and securely fastened, you can seat the child in it. To fix it, you can use the internal belts, which must be tightened well. Please note that the fixation should be tight, but do not pull. Between the belt and the body of the baby, it is recommended to leave a small space of 3-4 cm.
Pros and Cons
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