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Installing Your Car Seat

You might think that anyone who can read an instruction manual and follow instructions can install a child's car seat. In reality though, it is not quite so easy.

  • Placing the car seat

Statistics prove that the most protected seat in the car is the one in the centre of the back seat - as long as your car seat is approved for use with the type of seat belt fitted in your car. The next best protected seat is the left hand rear seat - nearest the kerb. Then the next is the right hand rear set, then the front passenger seat, and the driver's seat is the least protected. Most accidental damage to vehicles is at the front on the driver's side.

It is illegal to use a rearward facing car seat on a passenger seat that is fitted with an airbag. The safest option is to always install an infant carrier or car seat in a rearward facing position on the back seat of the vehicle. Even with the airbag switched off there is still a very small chance that it can be activated in the event of an accident.

  • Installing your car seat

Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when fitting the car seat. Be sure to keep them safe for future references, especially with combination car seats, as you will need the instructions again when changing the seat to its forward position.

Loose adult seat belts can be dangerous because they allow the car seat to move around. Lean your full weight into the car seat and pull the adult seat belt as tight as possible around the seat. When correctly fitted, the car seat will not move forward or side-to-side.

Ensure that the buckle of the seat belt lies clear of the car seat's frame. If the buckle is allowed to rest on the frame it may snap open in an accident.

If it is difficult to get a firm fit, or to avoid the buckle sitting near to the frame, try fitting the child car seat in another seating position or use a lap-belt fitting kit.

  • Making your car seat safe

For maximum safety, the harness should be adjusted before every car journey. Any slack in the harness will reduce the protection level of the car seat. Make sure that at most, only the thickness of two fingers can be inserted between the harness and the child's chest. The harness buckle should be as low as possible to keep the lap section of the harness across the pelvis - not resting on the vulnerable stomach area. Remember that children can also be injured if strapped in too tightly. The harness, chest pads and harness shoulder height must all be correctly adjusted according to the manufacturer's instructions.

 
Back to car seats: the definitive guide homepage

Buying Your Car Seat

Fitting Your Car Seat

This section includes information on the different types of car seat, explaining which seat is the right size for your child, what to look for, useful accessories and important things to remember before you buy. The car seat safety guide, sections on child car seats and the law, and car seats on test, provide the vital safety information that you need when buying your car seat. This section also includes information on fitting your seat, with a step-by-step guide to installing your car seat, a list of common problems and information on where to get help.

With most car seats in the UK being fitted incorrectly, it is crucial that you have access to the right information when selecting and fitting your child's seat. Our trained staff are all experienced car seat fitters and we have used their collective knowledge to put together this information. The golden rule is that it is absolutely essential that you get the fit checked if you are in any doubt at all.. Some manufacturers have car compatibility fitting guides on their websites, however it should be remembered that these are just guides and are not definitive lists. Not all car seats will fit all cars, and no car or car seat manufacturer can guarantee a secure and safe fit. All cars are different, even two of the same make and model can have different length seat belts!

It is therefore essential to ensure your car seat is fitted correctly, in order to secure your child's safety whilst travelling in the car. The showroom is based just outside of Wallingford and we are always happy to check the fitting of your car seat.

Three important points to remember about car seats are:

  • Always buy a car seat to suit your child's weight rather than height.
  • Not all car seats fit all cars; check the model you have chosen will fit your car. Seek professional advice if you are unsure.
  • Always buy a car seat because it has safety features that improve fit and protection, not because it has attractive fabric choices or good value accessories.

Useful Links

Maxi Cosi CabrioFix Isofix Car Seat Maxi Cosi Pearl Isofix Car Seat Recaro Monza Seatfix Car Seat