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At Trusted Dealers we are continuously promoting the safety of children, and below we’ve come up with some tips on how to keep a child safe in a vehicle.
The car seat rule
All children must normally use a child car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first. Children over 12 or more than 135cm tall must wear a seatbelt. You can choose a child car seat based on your child’s height or weight. Whichever you choose, you must follow strict guidelines on how to use that seat correctly. For more information click here.
Make regular checks
Car seats can often get worn, so make sure you check for any wear or tear. Check the manufacturer’s tag for an expiration date. Make sure you regularly clean the car seat cover – this is one way of checking for any wear in the material and will ensure you child remains comfortable during longer journeys.
Always make sure the child car seat is suitable for your child as well as compatible with your car. ISOFIX is the international standard attachment for most modern vehicles and you’ll usually find at least 4 compatible mounts in any car, suitable for 2 child car seats to be attached. Larger vehicles designed for multiple passengers may offer mounts for 3 child car seats or more if required. The Isofix compatible car seats are fitted into the actual framework of the seat, so there should be no room for movement. If you are in any doubt, always seek professional advice.
Choose the back
Always choose to install a child car seat on the back seat, unless there is a reason for you not to do so. If the front seat is the only option, always make sure the airbag is de-activated when installing a rear-facing child car seat. You can usually do this yourself by consulting your car’s manual, or if in doubt, visit your local garage who will be able to do this for you. Never travel with a child in a rear-facing seat without deactivating the air bag first.
Small children are more at risk of spinal cord injuries in a front facing seat, so it’s important to leave them in a rear facing seat for as long as necessary. There are rear-facing seats now available on the market for children up to the age of 4 years, so it is definitely worth shopping around before you make a decision. Toddlers may also try to wriggle out of seatbelts and harnesses, so always double check the harness in the correct height and pulled comfortably around your child before you set off.
Make regular checks
When driving, make regular checks to ensure your child remains strapped in correctly, and if you are unsure, pull over somewhere safe to check this. Keeping your child occupied can avoid them being tempted to try and wriggle out.