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ISOFIX Car Seats

ISOFIX car seats are now recognised as the safest possible way to travel with your child, with ISOFIX fittings being adopted by both car seat and vehicle manufactures worldwide. Yet, despite its clear advantages, the ISOFIX system is perhaps not as easy to understand and simple to use as hoped. However, here you can find out all you need to know about the ISOFIX car seat fitting systems and ISOFIX car seats.

 

Maxi Cosi Pebble and FamilyFix baseBeSafe Izi Kid Isofic Rear Facing Car SeatKiddy Guardian Fix Pro Car Seat

 

What is ISOFIX and how does it work?

ISOFIX (International Standards Organisation FIX) is a new standard for car seat installation that is being adopted by car seat and vehicle manufacturers worldwide. The concept behind ISOFIX is simple; car manufactures provide small, inconspicuous ISOFIX fitting points in new cars, whilst child car seats have ISOFIX points on the back to lock securely into these fittings. A solid link is therefore created between your child's car seat and your car.

Why is it safer than traditional car seats?

Within the ideal test configuration, ISOFIX systems show no further benefit compared to traditional car seats. However, ISOFIX fittings are designed to solve the major problem encountered with traditional car seats: incorrect fitting. In the UK almost 80% of car seats are fitted incorrectly, a real issue that puts the life of your child in significant danger. By removing the need to use the adult seatbelts to restrain the car seat, the ISOFIX fitting system provides an essential development, significantly reducing the risk of the car seat being fitted incorrectly.

Does my car have ISOFIX?

The majority of cars produced since 2002 do have two ISOFIX fixing points, however it is only since 2006 that these points have become standardised. It is therefore essential that you check the compatibility for any ISOFIX car seat in a vehicle produced before 2006. The best way you can find out if your car has ISOFIX fittings is to contact your vehicle manufacturer or the dealership that you purchased it from. Alternatively you can consult your car's manual, which should clearly indicate the ISOFIX fitting points. You can also look in your car for the two lower anchorages (telltale "staple-like" protrusions) that would be located in the seat bight (the intersection of the vehicle seat back and bottom cushions). A trained fitter would also be able to tell you. However, if your car does not have ISOFIX fixing points, depending on the car make and model, it may be possible to have them added.

How do I know the car seat will fit my car?

The intention was that any ISOFIX car seat you bought would fit your car simply by plugging it into the ISOFIX points. Manufacturers also carry out lengthy tests to ensure their ISOFIX car seats are as universal as possible when it comes to fitting in different vehicles. Since 2006 all cars produced now have the standardised ISOFIX points. However, we still recommend that you get the fit of the car seat checked before you buy. Some manufacturer's websites carry compatibility information, and retailers are often able to access this directly. In addition, if your car is currently not on the manufacturer's list, a trained fitter will be able to determine whether the seat securely fits your car.

How do I buy an ISOFIX car seat?

If you are contemplating buying an ISOFIX car seat, it is essential that you check your vehicle handbook, or with the car manufacturer to ensure that the seat is compatible with your car. With the benefits that the ISOFIX system brings to child car safety, ISOFIX car seats are becoming widely available. Major manufacturers such as Britax, BeSafe, Jane, Maxi-Cosi and Recaro make ISOFIX car seats. All good nursery stores should stock a range of ISOFIX car seats and know how to fit them.

What are the overall benefits of ISOFIX?

The ultimate aim of ISOFIX was that it would:

  • Be a standard, universal means of attaching child car seats
  • Eliminate fitting problems common with the use of adult seat belts
  • Improve dynamic performance of car seats as the seat is directly and rigidly attached to the car structure

Whilst these objectives have been achieved, the fact that cars do not have the same anchorages and the car seats are not all universal, means that the ISOFIX system is perhaps not as simple and easy to use as it was first hoped. Yet, once compatibility is established, the ISOFIX system is simpler and more secure than the seat belt method used with traditional car seats. ISOFIX therefore significantly increases child car safety, meaning that your child should be better protected in a crash. Using a seat belt on a base alone to secure your child car seat is nevertheless as safe as using an ISOFIX base. The stretch and flexibility in the seat belt, compared to the rigid fix of the ISOFIX attachments, allows extra give in a crash situation, and thus helps reduce the amount of G force that would be impacted on your child.

Click here to view our range of ISOFIX car seats in the shop

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