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Making the safest choice in car seats

As a parent, you want to make the safest choices but sometimes there is so much information out there that the decision can be overwhelming.

Take for example the regulations about child car seats – do you know if you comply, or even what the laws are? And how do you choose the safest restraint for your child? Let’s take a look at the facts.

The statistics – restraints reduce the risk

The most common cause of death in children aged 0 to 14 years is car accidents. In Europe, there are ten children killed on the road each week and over 1100 injured*. The use of child restraints is one of the most important actions in preventing injury in a car crash. Restraints can reduce the risk of injury by up to 95 percent.  However, restraints can only improve safety if correctly installed. A recent UK survey showed that over 52% of seat-belt fixed car or booster seats were incorrectly installed, with 27% containing major faults**.

Confused about i-Size? Here’s what you need to know.

In July 2013, the United Nations Economic Committee Regulation No.129 (UN R129), or the ‘i-Size Regulation’ came into effect.  To put it simply, i-Size aims to ensure that children up to 105cm tall travel as safely as possible. The regulations have made it easier for parents to choose the right child restraint system and install it correctly.

At the moment, both the old regulations (ECE R44) and the new R129 co-exist.  In 2018 it is expected that more and more new child car seats will comply with the new regulations.

BeSafe Flex FIX car seatPhase 1: i-Size made things safer

Phase 1 of the i-Size regulations dealt with Isofix car seats for children from birth up to 105cm in height. The aim was to improve safety and protection in six important areas:

  • All children must be rear-facing until they are at least 15 months old (accidents and crash tests show that children in rear-facing seats are five times safer)
  • Mandatory side impact testing on car seats (according to goodeggcarsafety.com, side collisions account for 25% of car accidents)
  • Use of stature height measurement rather than weight to make it easier to ensure an accurate fit
  • Introduction of the integrated Isofix car seat fitting system to make installation easier
  • Use of innovative crash dummies which closely represent the effects of a crash on the body of real children
  • Better compatibility so that i-Size restraints will fit in any i-Size ready seating position in a car

When the i-Size regulations came into force, BeSafe was ready to live up to them with the BeSafe iZi Kid i-Size. It was one of the first child car seats in the world to meet the new standards.

BeSafe has worked as a part of the deciding committee

“BeSafe has worked as a part of the deciding committee to develop this new benchmark,” says Okke van Mourik, head of NPD team at HTS BeSafe .

“What we have implemented in our products for years has now become a safety standard that will secure even more children.”

BeSafe Flex FIX car seat

Phase 2: the newest and safest standard to date

The rules evolved further in June 2017 with the introduction of phase 2 of the UN R129 regulations. This time, the legislation targeted car seats for children between 100cm and 150cm in height. This second phase focussed on high-back booster seats and added the following safety requirements:

  • Measurement classification of booster seats changed from weight to stature height
  • Mandatory side impact testing of booster seats
  • All booster seats must have a backrest
  • Flexibility to fit booster seats with or without Isofix anchoring

Why is a high back booster seat the safest choice?

Children from 100 to 150 centimetres tall (around 4 to 12 years old) are often placed on backless booster seats. This increases their risk of severe injury in a car crash.

Backless boosters don’t offer any side protection and give incorrect shoulder let routing for smaller children. Studies show that the risk of injury in a crash is almost the same as if they were only using a seatbelt. A high-back booster lifts the child into the correct position for seat belt mounting. The belt then sits across the pelvis, shoulders and chest, rather than the stomach or neck where it can cause more injury in an accident.  The high-back booster also includes some important features not provided in a backless cushion:

  • Additional support and protection for the head, neck and torso
  • Side impact protection
  • Shoulder guides to ensure the seat belt is in the correct position and stays in place.
BeSafe Flex FIX Car seat

Is it time to change to a high back booster?

When to change seats is another confusing topic for many parents but an important one to get right. The law states that your child should sit in an approved car seat until they are at least 135cm (or 150cm, depending on local legislation). This means the booster seat is the one you’ll use for the longest time.

Once your child’s ears have reached the highest point of the headrest in the maximum position on their toddler seat, they should move to a high-back booster seat.

BeSafe Flex FIX i-Size – the first booster seat to meet the new safety standards

All i-Size compliant car seats have been through rigorous testing before they go on the market. At BeSafe, we always develop our products with the latest safety developments and regulations in mind.

Again, we’ve welcomed and responded to the next phase of the regulations with the BeSafe Flexi FIX i-Size. It’s the first booster seat on the market that fully complies with the new safety requirements.

The Flexi FIX i-Size meets all of the impact criteria of UN R129 and is flexible to your family’s needs. With dynamic flex-performance and multiple layers, it meets the i-Size requirements, allowing you to narrow it down to a width of 44cm. For true flexibility you can install it with or without Isofix.

BeSafe Flex FIX car seat

Innovation Award at Kind und Jugend 2017

We’re also proud to tell you that its innovative features and high safety performance have been recognised with the Kind & Jugend Innovation Award 2017. Just another reason why we are the trusted choice in safety when it comes to car seats.

Make it a safer journey and enjoy the ride!

Once you’ve ensured your children are correctly positioned in the appropriate car seats, follow these simple tips to make it the safest journey possible:

  • Take your time – ensure you’ve made all the right preparations before you leave and take your time on the road
  • Don’t drive for long periods – take regular breaks to refresh and revive and if you can, swap drivers regularly
  • Give your full attention to the road – ignore your phone!
  • Always remove thick jackets.
  • Tighten the car seat belt regularly during the drive
  • Be winter ready – it’s not only winter tires that can improve you and your child’s safety – read our cold weather tips here!

Just like car seat choice, you might get overwhelmed when travelling with your family. Don’t forget to have fun and make some happy memories along the way!

Sources:

(* WHO 2007, EEVC Working Group 18 Report Child Safety (Feb. 2006)) (**www.goodeggcarsafety.com)