The market is full of accessories for car safety seats, with everything from cosy foot muffs for infant carriers with toasty fleece linings or cooling summer covers that offer welcome relief from the sultry heat. But can I improve my child’s restraint system by adding safety-relevant components?
Infant carriers can be secured in a rear-facing position either with the car’s retractable three-point safety belt or by being mounted on a base. This base can be added at any time. Manufacturers usually offer a choice of two different “base stations”. The first is a belted base which is fitted with a quick release mechanism and is anchored to the car using the car’s integrated safety belt. The second alternative is the ISOFIX format, whose ISOFIX connectors are locked into the car’s ISOFIX anchorage points, offering additional safety and stability. The base remains firmly in place at all times and the infant carrier simply clicks directly onto the base. This means that the onerous task of fastening the car safety belt becomes a problem of the past. However, you do need to ensure that the infant carrier, base and vehicle type are all compatible.
The Aton, Aton 2 and Aton 3 infant carriers from CYBEX can all be used both with and without a belted or an ISOFIX base.
The majority of manufacturers also offer adapters for their infant carriers so that they can be used with a large variety of prams to create a practical travel system.
CAR SAFETY SEATS
CYBEX uses the ISOFIX Connect System for its child safety seats. The connectors securely click into the vehicle’s ISOFIX anchorage points. They can easily be tucked away, making the seat compatible with cars that are not equipped with the ISOFIX system. It is not possible to add the ISOFIX Connect System to any car safety seat of any weight category (1, 1/2/3, 2/3) at a later date. The seats are only approved for their original purpose at the time of manufacture. It is against the law to subject the seat to any technical changes.
It is likewise illegal to add an impact cushion onto a Group 2/3 car safety seat (e.g. CYBEX Solution X2-fix). The impact cushion is only authorised for Group 1 seats (approx. 9 months to 4 years, 9-18 kg, e.g. CYBEX Juno-fix) and for Group 1/2/3 seats that grow with the child (approx. 9 months to 12 years, 9-36 kg, e.g. Pallas 2-fix). Once these models have been converted from a Group 1 to a Group 2/3 seat (approx. 3 to 12 years, 15-36 kg, e.g. Solution X2-fix), the impact cushion may no longer be used.
An infant’s head accounts for around 25 % of its overall body weight. A child’s vertebral body does not harden until the age of around three years, which means that it still consists of partially soft cartilage. Many studies and tests conducted by reputed institutes and consumer organisations have shown over the years that rear-facing or “reboard” seats are the safest form of transport for babies and infants in this developmental phase, closely followed by seats with impact cushions. The impact cushion is similar to an inflated airbag, evenly distributing the impact energy – arising particularly in a head-on collision – across a large area. Accounting for 60% of road incidents, the head-on collision is the most frequent kind of road accident. Since head-on collisions almost always occur at high speeds, the child is exposed to immense forces. It is in these situations that the impact cushion (safety cushion) comes into its own.
The spine and neck muscles in “older” children are far better developed. This is why children using Group 2/3 seats are usually secured with the car’s 3-point safety belt. The ideal Group 2/3 safety seat should come with a comfortable booster seat, a height-adjustable back and head rest and pronounced shoulder protectors, offering sufficient side-impact protection. The car safety seats from CYBEX are also designed with patented head protection for added safety while your child is asleep. The patented reclining headrest shifts the balance point of the child’s head slightly backwards, thus preventing the head from flopping forwards dangerously while your child sleeps. In a side-impact collision, the sensitive head and neck area are protected because the head remains in the safety zone.
Our blog contains lots of other interesting information about child safety when on the road: click here!