Children should be transported in rear-facing car safety seats for as long as possible. Up to the age of at least 18 months (preferably up to around 4 years), these car safety seats have several advantages over forward-facing seats. When seated in this position, the infant’s head, cervical spine and back are better supported in a head-on collision. This reduces the number and severity of injuries. In compliance with the old ECE R-44 regulation for car safety seats, which is still valid until 2018, it has been possible to transport babies in a forward-facing position once they have reached a weight of around 9kg. The new European ECE R-129 regulation for car safety seats (otherwise known as “i-Size”) stipulates that infants must travel in a rear-facing car safety seat up to the age of at least 15 months.
Warnings about installing your seat incorrectly
Where the passenger airbag is activated (which is normally the case), infant carriers may only be used on the rear car seat. When installing infant carriers in the car, parents often make errors that can have serious consequences:
1. Facing the wrong way:
- The carrier cannot carry out its proper function, i.e. to support evenly the head and upper body.
- In a head-on collision, the head is flung forwards possibly leading to serious injuries to the head.
- Since the belt positioners on the car safety seat are not designed for a different direction of travel, the infant carrier cannot be securely fastened with the car seat belt.
2. The car seat belt is fed through the wrong route:
- This means that the infant carrier is not properly connected to the vehicle.
- In a head-on collision, the infant carrier is flung through the vehicle and is barely held in place by the car safety belt.
- This may lead to serious injury.
Safe installation with the Isofix Base
A simple alternative is offered by a base, which is either connected to the car using a quick-release mechanism and the car safety belt or is fitted with the ISOFIX anchorage system:
- The infant carrier is then simply slotted into the base.
- It can simply be used in conjunction with the car safety belt and nothing else.
- An indicator confirms the seat has been installed correctly.
As a rule, it is important not to switch to the next biggest seat too early. Even if the baby’s feet are protruding outside the infant carrier, are touching the back rest of the seat in front or the baby can already sit, it does not mean that the infant carrier should be swapped for a Group I seat. However, if the baby’s head protrudes above the top edge of the seat or the baby already weighs more than 13kg, it is high time to change the seat.
Discover here our Aton Q installation video: