Child safety in cars A guide to driving safely with children

Child safety in cars A guide to driving safely with children
Child safety in cars
A guide to driving safely
with children on board
Údarás Um Shábháilteacht Ar Bhóithre
Road Safety Authority
Check it Fits. Our free child car set checking service shows that
4 out of 5 car seats are incorrectly fitted. Why not use this service
to make sure your child’s car seat is correctly fitted.
Log on to www.rsa.ie/checkitfits for more information.
Log onto www.rsa.ie/checkitfits to see when Check it Fits is in your area.
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RSA Ireland
RSA Ireland
CONTENTS
Introduction
02
The law
05
Standards
06
ISOFIX and i-Size 07
Types of child car seats
08
Buying a child car seat
16
Fitting child car seats
21
Check-it-Fits Service
26
Adult seatbelts
27
Wearing a seatbelt during pregnancy
27
Premature and low birth-weight babies
28
Choosing a family car
29
Problem behaviour
29
Dangers of leaving children unattended in a vehicle
30
Further information 31
Choosing a child car seat checklist
32
Introduction
Children are one of the most vulnerable people in our society,
and no parent or guardian would knowingly put a child’s life in
danger. However, an astonishing number of parents allow their
children to travel in vehicles without being properly restrained,
placing their lives and safety at risk.
Some statistics from the years 1996 to 2012 show the scale of the problem:
262 children
lost their lives
on our roads between
1996 and 2012.
Children were most at risk
of being killed on the road
from May to August and
between 4pm and 6pm,
with Friday being the high
risk day of the week.
In almost one third of these
child passenger fatalities,
no child restraints
or seatbelts were
being used.
1,107 children
were seriously injured during
the same period.
More recent statistics show that over twice as many children were killed on the roads
in 2014 compared to 2013.
Source - Road Safety Authority
In a crash at just 50km/h, a child not wearing a seatbelt or using a child car seat
would be thrown forward with a force 30 to 60 times their body weight. They would
be thrown about inside the vehicle, injuring themselves and, quite possibly, seriously
injuring or even killing other people inside the vehicle. They are also likely to be
ejected from the car through one of the windows.
02
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
Important Note!
It is dangerous to hold a child on your lap.
In a crash, the child could be crushed between your body and part of the
car’s interior. Even if you are using a safety belt, the child would be torn
from your arms - you would not be able to hold onto them, no matter
how hard you try. It is also dangerous to put a safety belt around yourself
and a child (or around two children). The safest way for children to travel
in cars is in a child seat that is suitable for their weight and height.
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
03
In Ireland, as many as 4 out of 5
child car seats are incorrectly fitted
which can lead to serious injury or
even death in a collision.
Seatbelt
behind back
Seatbelt
over armrest
Not using seatbelt
shoulder guide
Seatbelt
under arm
Children are one of the most
vulnerable categories of road user.
Don’t let your child be a statistic.
04
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
The law
Weight and height
•All children under 150cms in height or 36kgs (79lbs) in weight must use a child
restraint system (CRS) suitable for their height and weight while travelling in a car
or goods vehicle (other than a taxi). An example of a CRS would be a child car seat
or booster cushion.
150cm
or
36kg
•Rear-facing child car seats must not be used in passenger seats protected by an
active frontal airbag. An airbag which deploys (opens up) in front of a rearwardfacing child car seat can cause serious injury or even death if there is a collision.
•There is no law against children sitting in the front seat, as long as they are using
the right child restraint for their height and weight. However, as above it is illegal
to use a rearward-facing child car seat in a passenger seat protected by an airbag.
The deployment of an airbag where a rearward–facing baby seat is in place can
cause serious injury to the child or even death.
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
05
•There is now a penalty for drivers who place a rearward-facing child car seat in the
front where there is an active airbag. You may receive at least 3 penalty points on
your driving licence as a penalty. Drivers have a legal responsibility to ensure that
all passengers under 17 are appropriately restrained in the vehicle.
•Children should always travel in the back of the car, away from active airbags and
the dashboard.
•Taxi drivers are exempt from supplying child car seats.
Standards
•All seats sold in Ireland must meet EU standards UN ECE Regulation 4403/04 or
Regulation 129. (See the paragraph on i-Size on page 7.) Look for the ‘E’ mark.
06
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
What is ISOFIX?
ISOFIX is the international standard of built-in
attachment points in a car’s structure to fit a child
seat. A child seat can easily be plugged into the ISOFIX
system which greatly reduces the risk of fitting the seat
incorrectly.
Many new vehicles have ISOFIX points built in when
they are manufactured, and child seat manufacturers
are more commonly producing child seats that suit the
ISOFIX system.
See illustrations of ISOFIX system on pages 18 and 19.
What is i-SIZE?
i-Size is a European standard – Regulation 129 – which
was introduced in Ireland in September 2014. The key
benefits of i-Size-standard seats are that they can be
fitted to most ISOFIX systems and they provide increased
support for the child’s head and neck. They also provide
better side-impact protection in the event of collisions.
An i-Size seat also allows your child to stay rear-facing
for much longer (up to 15 months in a rearward-facing
baby seat). The categorisation of these seats is based on
height and size rather than height and weight.
Both i-Size (Regulation 129) and Regulation R4403/04
(referred to earlier in the Law section) are both legal for
use and will run alongside each other until the R4403/04
is phased out. However, this is expected to take several
years to complete.
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
07
Types of child car seats
A properly fitted child restraint system keeps the child in their seat, preventing them
from being thrown about inside or being thrown from the vehicle. It also absorbs
some of the impact force. This means that your child is much less likely to be killed or
injured in a crash.
An appropriate child restraint is one which:
•conforms to the UN standard, ECE Regulation 44-03, or a later version of the
standard, 44.04, or new i-Size (Regulation 129). Look for the E mark;
• is suitable for the child’s weight and height;
• is correctly fitted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Child restraints are categorised according to the weight of the children they are
suitable for. These weight categories correspond broadly to different age groups, but
it is the weight of the child that is most important when deciding what type of child
restraint to use.
These categories are often called ‘groups’ by manufacturers and retailers. There are
four main child car seat groups – Groups 0, 1, 2 and 3. However, some child restraints
systems are convertible and can be adapted as the child grows. This means that the
restraint system could fit into more than one group. For example, the high back of a
Group 2 booster seat might be designed to be removed so that the seat works just as
a booster cushion when the child reaches 22kgs (48lbs). This seat, therefore, falls into
both Group 2 and Group 3.
08
Group 0
Rearward Facing Baby Seat
Birth – 10kgs (22lbs)
Group 0+
Rearward Facing Baby Seat
Birth – 13kgs (29lbs)
Group 1
Rearward or Forward Facing Child Seat
9 –18kgs (20-40lbs)
Group 1, 2, 3
High Back Booster Seat with removable
harness
9 – 36kgs (20-79lbs)
Group 2
High Back Booster Seat without
harness
15 – 25kgs (33-55lbs)
Group 2, 3
High Back Booster Seat without harness
15 – 36kgs (33-79lbs)
Group 3
Booster Cushion
22 – 36kgs (48-79lbs)
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
Booster
Cushion
Booster
Seat (with
back)
Extended
Rearward
Facing
Forward
Fancing
Child Seat
Rearward
Facing
Baby Seat
Weight in kg
Weight in kg
1
1
2
2
4
3
4
0-13
3
5
5
6
6
7
7
8
8
9
9
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
15-36
22-36
www.rsa.ie/checkitfits
All children under
150cms or 36kgs
must use a child
car seat appropriate
to their weight
and height.
<36kgs
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
9-25
9-18
<150cm
It’s the
Law
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
Weigh your child to find out what type of seat would suit them
Weigh your child and use the pull out chart
at the back of the book to find out what
seats are suitable for their weight.
09
Rearward-facing baby seats
GROUP 0
GROUP 0+
FOR BABIES UP TO
FOR BABIES UP TO
(22lbs)
(29lbs)
10kg
13kg
These rearward-facing seats can be used in the front or rear of the car, but it is safer to
put them in the rear.
GROUP
1 in the front passenger
GROUPseat
1,2if there is a passenger airbag.
Never put
your child
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
Rearward-facing seats provide greater protection for a baby’s head, neck and spine
than forward-facing seats. So, it is best to keep your baby in a rearward-facing seat
(20-55lbs)
for as long(20-44lbs)
as possible. Only move them
to a forward-facing seat once they have
gone over the maximum weight for the baby seat, or the top of their head ‘crowns’
(is higher than) the top of the seat. Pay particular attention to the manufacturer’s
instructions about where to position the carrying handle of the car seat while
travelling (for example: should the handle be to the front of the seat, the back of the
seat or in the carrying position).
9-18kg
9-25kg
GROUP 2
GROUP 2,3
15-25kg
15-36kg
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
(33-55lbs)
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
(33-79lbs)
Depending on
manufacturer guideline.
GROUP 3
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
22-36kg
Seatbelt
(48-79lbs)
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Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
GROUP 0
GROUP 0+
FOR BABIES UP TO
FOR BABIES UP TO
(22lbs)
(29lbs)
10kg
13kg
Extended rearward-facing child seats
GROUP 1
GROUP 1,2
9-18kg
9-25kg
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
(20-44lbs)
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
(20-55lbs)
Only move your child out of a rearward-facing baby carrier when their head has
crowned the top of the seat, or they have gone over the maximum weight outlined
by the manufacturer. Some extended rearward-facing seats can accommodate
GROUP
2
GROUP position.
2,3
childrenFOR
up CHILDREN
to 25kgs (55lbs) in the rearward
They are larger than the Group
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
WEIGHING
0 rearward-facing seats and, therefore, need to be fitted into the car. Make sure they
can be fitted safely and securely into the car, as some cars may not be suitable.
15-25kg
(33-55lbs)
15-36kg
(33-79lbs)
Depending on
manufacturer guideline.
A baby’s head is five times heavier on
their bodies than an adult head on an adult
body. Therefore, babies need extra support to protect their neck and head from a
whiplash-type injury. Because of this, rear-facing car seats provide more support for
your baby than forward-facing seats. They protect your baby’s head and neck much
better than a forward-facing car seat does. This is because, in an impact, the force is
spread out
much more,
GROUP
3 rather than being focused completely on the baby’s neck, as
FOR
CHILDREN
would be
the
case in a forward-facing child car seat. (See Child Safety in Cars DVD.)
WEIGHING
Children should use these rear-facing seats for as long as possible.
22-36kg
(48-79lbs)
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
11
Important Note!
Some parents think that children should progress to a forward-facing child
car seat as soon as they have outgrown their rearward-facing baby seat.
This is 0
not the case. For GROUP
the most protection,
your child should remain
GROUP
0+
FOR BABIES
UP TO for as long as
FOR
BABIES UP TO
rear-facing
possible.
10kg
(22lbs)
13kg
(29lbs)
Forward-facing child seat
GROUP 1
GROUP 1,2
9-18kg
9-25kg
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
(20-44lbs)
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
(20-55lbs)
Only move your child out of a rearward-facing baby carrier when their eye level is in
line with the top of the seat, or they have gone over the maximum weight outlined by
the manufacturer.
GROUP 2
GROUP 2,3
15-25kg
15-36kg
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
(33-55lbs)
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
(33-79lbs)
Depending on
manufacturer guideline.
GROUP 3
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
22-36kg
Seatbelt
(48-79lbs)
12
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
Convertible child seats
Some forward-facing seats are designed to be ‘convertible’. This means that the seat
can be adjusted as the child grows. Therefore, it might fit into several groups.
For example, a seat might be able to be converted to fit into groups 1, 2 and 3. It acts
as a forward-facing car seat by using an internal harness like the picture below until
the child reaches 18kgs (40lbs: Group 1). Then, the harness can be removed to convert
the seat into a high-back booster seat (with back and head supports) that can be used
with the normal adult seatbelt for a child up to 36kgs (79lbs: Groups 2 and 3).
With internal harness
With adult seatbelt
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
13
GROUP 1
GROUP 1,2
9-18kg
9-25kg
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
(20-44lbs)
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
(20-55lbs)
High-back Booster seat
GROUP 2
GROUP 2,3
15-25kg
15-36kg
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
(33-55lbs)
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
(33-79lbs)
Depending on
manufacturer guideline.
The Road Safety Authority recommend that you get a booster seat that gives as much
protection as possible to a child’s head, neck and spine. These seats are commonly
called ‘High-Back Booster Seats’. Booster seats raise the child up high enough so that the
GROUP 3
seatbeltFOR
is positioned
CHILDREN correctly on their bodies (on the shoulder, not the neck; and on the
WEIGHING
pelvis, not the stomach).
22-36kg
Booster seats do not have an internal (built-in) harness. The adult seatbelt fitted in the
(48-79lbs)
car goes around the child and through the appropriate guides of the seat. It is important
that the seatbelt is correctly adjusted so that it is correctly positioned on the child’s
shoulder and pelvis, and that there is no slack in the seatbelt when it’s fastened.
Some booster seats are designed to be converted into a booster cushion later on by
detaching the back rest.
Seatbelt
14
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
GROUP 2
GROUP 2,3
15-25kg
15-36kg
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
(33-79lbs)
(33-55lbs)
Depending on
manufacturer guideline.
Booster cushion
GROUP 3
FOR CHILDREN
WEIGHING
22-36kg
(48-79lbs)
Booster cushions are available for children from 15kgs (33lbs). However, they do
not have an internal harness to hold the child in place. Because of this, the RSA do
not recommend using booster cushions for children under 22kgs (48lbs). The adult
seatbelt goes around the child and through the appropriate guides of the seat, so it
is important that the safety belt is correctly adjusted and that there is no slack in the
seatbelt when fastened.
Booster cushions raise the child up high enough so that the seatbelt is positioned
correctly on their bodies (on the shoulder, not the neck; and on the pelvis, not
the stomach).
Seatbelt
Seatbelt in a
dangerous position –
booster seat needed
Children should use a high-back booster seat for as long as possible – up to 36kgs (up
to 79lbs) – rather than the booster cushion by itself. The booster cushion on its own
provides no back or head protection.
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
15
Buying a child car seat
When choosing a new child seat, make sure that it fits in your car (or cars, if you use it in
more than one) and is suitable for the height and weight of your child. Use the checklist
at the back of this booklet to help you select the child seat that is most suitable for your
child and your vehicle(s).
1. Is the child car seat suitable for my child?
It is very important to make sure that the child car seat is suitable for your child’s
weight and height. Refer to the manufacturers guidelines on each car seat.
2. Is the child car seat suitable for the type of car I drive?
The shape of car seats, the length of seatbelts and the position of seatbelt anchor
points are different in different cars. So, not all child seats fit all cars. For instance,
the seatbelt in a particular car may be too short to go around a particular child seat.
Make sure you check that the child seat you buy will fit in your car and that it will fit
in all the seat positions you intend to use it (for example, the back passenger side,
the third row in people carrier, and so on). The manufacturer’s instructions should
help you fit the child car seat. However, when you buy it, it is always best to have it
fitted by an expert, and to be shown how to fit it correctly yourself.
3. Did I get expert advice when I was choosing the car seat?
Make sure you get advice from a child car seat expert retailer or the RSA child car
seat expert. Some retailers know more than others about suitable options of child
car seats. An expert will be able to advise you on which type of car seat is suitable for
your child’s height and weight. You should also choose a retailer who can expertly fit
the child car seat into your car to make sure it is a suitable match. They should also
show you how the child car seat should be fitted into your car.
4. Does the seat I’ve chosen meet the correct EU standard?
Check that the seat you are buying meets the EU standard R4403 /04 or i-SIZE
(Regulation 129). If it does, you should see a yellow or orange sticker with an ‘E’
mark and weight guidelines on the seat.
5. Are the instructions easy to understand and follow?
Make sure the child car seat comes with an instruction manual. Try to have the car
seat fitted into the car before you buy it. Ask the expert to show you how to fit the
car seat. If this is not possible, you should make sure that there is an easy-to-follow
instruction manual with the seat and that you fully understand it.
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Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
6. Did I think about airbags?
It is an offence to place a rearward-facing child car seat in the front seat if the front
seat is protected by an airbag. Make sure the child seat can be fitted in the back.
7. Does my car have back seats?
While it is recommended that children travel in the back seat away from airbags and
the dashboard, if you must place the child car seat in the front, make sure that the
seat is appropriate to the child’s weight and height. A rearward-facing child car seat
must not be used in the front seat where there is an active airbag. Remember to
choose the biggest and strongest child to go in the front.
Think carefully about driving with a child in the front seat – even in the forward
position. You must make sure that the passenger seat is rolled back as far away from
the dashboard as possible. This could help to reduce the severity of injuries that may
be caused to your child if the airbag is released. Remember – airbags are designed
for adults. A child, even in a child car seat, does not replicate (copy) the typical
position of an adult in the passenger seat.
8. Does my car have the ISOFIX or i-Size system?
Check if your vehicle(s) has an ISOFIX system suitable for the seat. Ask whether
an additional top tether on the seat is needed for extra stability. A top tether is
connected to the top of the child car seat and is attached to extra anchor points
in the car – for example, in the boot. Some seats have a ‘foot’ that extends to the
vehicle floor for stability. If this is the case, check that it does not rest on the cover of
an underfloor compartment as this may be unsafe.
Important Note!
When plugging the ISOFIX connectors into the connection points, make
sure the appropriate indicators turn green, as in the illustration on the
next page. Green indicators let you know the connection is safe.
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
17
ISOFIX connection points in the back seat
(Some are not clearly marked, so you should consult your car manual for advice in this case.)
18
ISOFIX connectors on the
child car seat
Plugging in the ISOFIX
connectors into the
connection points
Red indicators to tell you
it’s not properly connected
Green indicators to tell you
it’s properly connected
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
ISOFIX foot to provide stability
Top tether strap to provide
extra restraint and stability
Anchor point for attaching the top tether strap to
i-Size is a European standard ‘Regulation 129’ which was introduced in Ireland in
September 2014. The key benefits of i-Size seats are that they can be fitted like ISOFIX
seats and they provide increased support for the child’s head and neck and they provide
better side-impact protection in the event of collisions. An i-SIZE seat also allows your
child to stay rear-facing for much longer (up to 15 months in a rearward-facing baby
seat). The categories of these seats is based on height and size rather than height and
weight.
Both i-Size (Regulation 129) and Regulation R4403/04 (referred to earlier under ‘Law’) are
both legal for use and will run alongside each other until the R4403/04 is phased out.
However, this is expected to take several years to complete.
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
19
9. Should I buy a second-hand car seat?
It is better to buy a new car seat. However, if you decide to buy a second-hand car
seat, you need to be aware of certain risks and ask some important questions.
For example:
•How old is the seat? Generally, manufacturers recommend use of car seats for no
more than 5 years due to wear and tear and possible weakened parts. Check the
manufacturer manual for advice.
•Has the seat ever been in a crash? You should be satisfied about the history of the
child car seat. Damage might not be visible, so you should inspect it thoroughly
and make sure the frame has not been weakened or damaged. If there was more
than bumper damage caused to the car, you should consider replacing the child
car seat.
•Are there parts missing? You should be certain that all the parts required to fit the
seat safely are there and intact – for example, lock-off clips, tensioning wheels,
and so on.
•Does it meet the EU standards? You should investigate whether the seat conforms
to EU standards. Remember to look for the E-mark.
•Will it fit my car? You should also be certain that the seat it suitable for your child
and is compatible with your car.
•Does it still have the manual and fitting instructions? You should make sure that
the seat comes with a manufacturer’s manual and fitting instructions.
Important Note!
The benefits of buying a new seat are that you know the standard of
compliance, the condition of the seat, and you can talk to an expert
about its suitability for your child and your car. Also, you will have
peace of mind that there are no missing pieces.
10. If it was involved in a crash, has it been inspected thoroughly?
A car seat which has been involved in a crash should be carefully inspected and if
there was more than bumper damage caused to the car, you should consider buying
a new seat.
Damage or weakened points may not be visible and the child car seat may not
perform as well as it should in a collision.
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Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
Fitting child seats
Where should I fit the child car seat?
Ideally, fit your child’s car seat in the back seat. This means that they are away from
airbags and the dashboard. If you must place the child car seat in the front, make sure
that it is suitable for the child’s weight and height.
Do not use a rearward-facing child car seat in the front seat where there is an active
airbag. Chose the biggest and strongest child to go in the front.
How do I fit the child car seat?
You should always choose a retailer who can fit child car seats for you, and who
can show you how to fit it correctly yourself. You should also make sure you get the
instruction manual with your car seat on how to fit it safely in your car. The RSA has
also published a helpful new DVD which gives examples of how to fit some child car
seats. You can order your free copy online at www.rsa.ie
How do I know if the child car seat is fitted correctly?
Once you have followed the instructions on how to fit the child car seat, it is easy to
test if it is fitted correctly. The child car seat should sit firmly on the back seat with
no forward or sideways movement when tested. You can simply push the seat to test
this, or you can fasten the harness straps and pull it from the centre as if to exert a
similar force a child would in the event of heavy braking. If you are in any doubt, you
should visit the Road Safety Authority Child Car Seat Checking Service
– Check it Fits www.rsa.ie/checkitfits
What is ‘Buckle Crunch’?
Car seats that use the adult seatbelt to secure the seat should not have the seatbelt
buckle sitting on the child car seat. ‘Buckle Crunch’ is where the buckle of the
seatbelt is resting on the frame of the car seat. The movement of the car while
travelling could cause the buckle to open. Also, on impact, the buckle could be
broken causing the child car seat to become loose or detached in the car, giving
little or no protection to the child in the seat. The webbing of the seatbelt is much
stronger and it should hold the seat in place.
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
21
The photo below shows how to recognise Buckle Crunch.
Before you fit a child car seat, remember:
•Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. If you have lost your manual, you
should get a replacement from the retailer or manufacturer.
•The seatbelt must pass through all the required seatbelt-routing guides (red or
blue) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remember, some guides are
only intended to be used on one side or the other, depending on what side of the
car the seat is being fitted on.
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Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
Helpful tips for fitting child car seats
•First, you should kneel into the seat exerting your full weight. Then, tighten the
seatbelt as much as you can to remove all the slack. This ensures that the seat is
fitted as tightly as possible.
•Hand pressure is not enough when you are securing the child car seat with the
seatbelt.
•It is safer to fit a child car seat in the back. If fitting a child car seat into the front
seat, roll the seat itself back as far as it can go away from dashboard
•If you take the child seat out of the car, make sure you fit it properly every time
you put it back in.
•If your car seat stays in the car permanently, you should still check it regularly to
make sure it is securely held and there is no slack in the seatbelt.
•Never adjust or modify the seat or seatbelt. A child seat should be suitable for the
child and be compatible with the car. Therefore, modifications (changes) to either
should not be necessary.
•Get a child car seat expert to fit the child car seat or check it for you if you are in
any doubt.
•The safety belt buckle should not rest on the frame of the child seat causing
Buckle Crunch.
What are the common fitting errors?
To be effective, child restraint systems (seats, cushions and so on) must be fitted
and used correctly. Surveys have consistently shown that a high proportion of child
restraints are incorrectly fitted, usually for one or more of these reasons which are
easy to watch out for:
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
23
• Safety belt has too much slack in it causing the fitting to be very loose.
• Safety belt not routed through child seat correctly.
•Buckle resting against the frame of the child car seat, causing ‘Buckle Crunch’
which may cause the buckle to open.
• Handle on baby seat not positioned properly.
• The child seat is too big or too small for the child.
• Child seat not compatible with the car.
•Child seat has exceeded the manufacturer’s recommended guideline for duration
of use and is in bad condition.
How do I secure my child into a car seat?
•Your child should use the child seat for every single journey – no matter how
short.
• Take time to get the child comfortably strapped in.
• Make sure the seat’s harness or seatbelt is correctly adjusted for your child.
• The harness or seatbelt should be quite tight.
If a harness is being used in rearward-facing seats, it should be tight enough so
that only two fingers can fit between the top of the child’s shoulders and the
harness but your fingers should be unable to rotate (turn) in that position.
If a harness is being used in forward-facing seats, it should be tight enough so
that only two fingers can fit between your child’s breastbone and the harness,
but your fingers should be unable to rotate in that position.
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Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
•Clothing can affect how snugly the harness fits, so you should use blankets
instead of bulky jackets in the winter. This makes sure that the harness is making
contact with your child’s body and you should check this before every journey.
•If you are using a booster seat or cushion, the adult seatbelt restrains both the
child and the seat or cushion. Where the seat has routing guides, these should be
used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Never tuck the seatbelt under the child’s arm or behind their back.
•Some children go through a phase of slipping out of the harness or releasing the
buckle. You should make sure that the harness is adjusted correctly and that your
child is comfortable.
Remember:
Do not use any device that changes the mechanism required by law that
allows for the buckle to be undone in one action. Modified straps can
affect the performance of the child seat itself. When modification is made
to straps, the design and load-bearing points of the straps are altered
which can lead to serious injury.
Important Note!
Children learn from you, so always set a good example by wearing your
own seatbelt.
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
25
Check it Fits Service
The Road Safety Authority has introduced ‘Check it Fits’ in response to a frightening
statistic that shows that as many as 4 out of 5 child car seats are incorrectly fitted.
Incorrect fitting can result in serious injury or a fatality in the event of a collision.
The RSA ‘Check it Fits’ Service is a full-time, nationwide, free, expert service which aims
to put parents’, grandparents’ and guardians’ minds at ease that their child’s car seat is
safely and securely fitted in their car.
A survey of 5,000 checks, which were recorded at the RSA’s ‘Check it Fits’ Service,
showed that over 4,000 of the child car seats checked needed some type of adjustment.
Worryingly, most of those seats required a major adjustment. One hundred and fifty of
the seats checked were condemned – they were not fit for purpose, meaning they could
have caused injury or even death if there was a collision.
The Check it Fits service is quick, easy and free of charge. It’s travelling around the
country, and our experts will advise on how to fix any problem. They will demonstrate
how to fit the restraints correctly and answer any questions you might have.
You can check when the Check it Fits service is in your area by logging on to
www.rse.ie/checkitfits or phoning 1890 50 60 80.
Log onto www.rse.ie/checkitfits
to see when Check it Fits is in
your area.
You can also follow us on social media:
RSA Ireland
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Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
RSA Ireland
Adult seatbelts
The position of a seatbelt on the body is very important. A simple correction to the
position of the seatbelt on your body can make a significant difference to the severity of
injuries in a collision.
Seatbelts are designed for those who are 150cms (about 5ft) in height and taller.
Don’t let your child start using the seatbelt on its own too soon as this can cause serious
injuries to the child if there is a collision. Three-point safety belts (lap and diagonal)
provide greater protection than lap belts. However, lap belts are better than no belt at all.
How to buckle a seatbelt;
1. Allow plenty of excess strap and plug the seatbelt into buckle.
2.Position the lap section of the belt on the pelvic region / tops of thighs – not on
the stomach.
3. Pull the slack on the lap section of the belt and feed up to the shoulder.
4.Position the diagonal section of the belt across the torso (chest) and on the
shoulder – not the neck.
Some cars have seatbelt shoulder-height adjusters to help position the seatbelt on top of
your shoulder.
The same positioning applies to children using adult seatbelts with their child car seat
(high-back boosters).
Wearing a seatbelt during pregnancy
Pregnancy does not automatically exempt you from wearing a seatbelt. You are excused
from using a seatbelt during pregnancy only if you have an exemption granted by a doctor
for medical reasons.
The safest way for pregnant women to wear a safety belt is to:
•Place the diagonal section of the belt across the torso (chest area) with the strap
resting over the shoulder, not the neck.
•Place the lap section of the belt flat on the thighs, fitting comfortably beneath the
baby bump, and over the pelvis (not the bump).
•Wear the seatbelt as tightly as possible as in this way, the forces applied in a
sudden impact can be absorbed by the body’s frame.
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
27
Remember:
If pregnant, you should avoid wearing ‘lap-only’ seatbelts instead of a
regular seatbelt (lap and diagonal belts). Lap-only belts can cause serious
injuries to unborn children if the car brakes suddenly or is in a collision.
Mother and unborn child are both much safer if a lap and diagonal safety
belt is being worn correctly.
Premature and low birth-weight babies
If you have a premature or low birth-weight baby, ask the hospital to assess if it is
safe for the baby to travel in a baby seat before you are discharged. If you are in any
doubt at all about your child travelling in the car, consult the hospital or your GP for
further advice.
28
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
Choosing a family car
If you are thinking about buying a new car for the family, you should examine closely all
the safety information relating to the model of car you’re thinking of buying. One source
of this kind of information is Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme). It will give
you a realistic and independent assessment of the safety performance of some of the
most popular cars sold in Europe.
Information can be found at: www.euroncap.com
Some people don’t know if they have ISOFIX connectors in their car. You should ask
about these, as sometimes these are not labelled or visible at first glance.
You should also be aware of where the airbags are in the car and how they are
controlled. Remember, it is illegal to place a rearward-facing child car seat in the front of
the car where there is an active airbag.
You should also consult your car manual to find out areas of the car are suitable for
fitting child car seats. For example, you may not be able to fit ISOFIX seats in places
where there are underfloor storage boxes. Also, some back seats do not allow a child car
seat to be fitted in the middle.
Problem behaviour
Some children go through a phase of constantly slipping out of the child seat harness
or safety belt, or incorrectly adjusting straps or seatbelts, or releasing the buckle
during journeys. This can be very worrying and frustrating for parents or guardians.
It could be serious or even fatal for a child if the manufacturer guidelines are not
carefully followed.
You should check that:
•the harness or seatbelt is adjusted correctly to your child, in line with the
manufacturer’s guidelines, and
•
your child is comfortable.
Incorrectly adjusted harness straps may cause your child to be uncomfortable leading
them to push straps off or open buckles.
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
29
Here are some typical problem behaviours with advice on what you can do.
If your child:
–Slips their arms out of the harness… make sure the shoulder straps are resting
on, or slightly above, your child’s shoulders in a forward-facing seat.
–Pushes the safety belt under their arms, behind their back or moves it into an
incorrect position… make sure the seatbelt is correctly positioned on your child’s
shoulder and pelvic area and that they are comfortable.
– Releases buckles… make sure buckles are correctly fastened at all times.
Remember:
It is most important for the driver not to be distracted by children
adjusting straps or seatbelts mid-journey. Pull over until you have refastened the straps. If the problem persists, consider taking another adult
as a passenger to help watch the children.
Dangers of leaving children
unattended in a vehicle
Infants or young children should never be left unattended in a motor vehicle.
A variety of hazards can arise, even if you are only away for a short while.
These include:
• an outbreak of fire,
• breathing problems on warm days,
• accidental trapping of children in electronically operated windows, and
• leaving your car keys in your car when you are not in it.
For further information on child safety in cars, see www.rsa.ie/childsafetyincars
30
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
Further information
Child Safety
in Cars
DVD
Weigh your child to find out what type of seat would suit them
Weight in kg
A guide to correctly
fitting your child’s
car seat.
1
2
Rearward
Facing
Baby Seat
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
It’s the
Law
0-13
<150cm
Forward
Fancing
Child Seat
<36kgs
9-18
Extended
Rearward
Facing
All children under
150cms or 36kgs
must use a child
car seat appropriate
to their weight
and height.
9-25
www.rsa.ie/checkitfits
orrect child
ortant it is
it in your car.
Booster
Seat (with
back)
15-36
Booster
Cushion
22-36
s
Weight in kg
Child Safety in Cars DVD
15/08/2014 17:03
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
Pull out chart
www.rsa.ie/childsafetyincars
www.rsa.ie/checkitfits
1890 50 60 80
RSA Ireland
RSA Ireland
Notes:
All information, pictures and text in this booklet are the copyright of the Road Safety Authority
(RSA). No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior permission. Please direct
requests for permission to the RSA ([email protected]).
Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
31
Choosing a child car seat checklist
What I need to know when choosing
a child car seat for my child?
YES
1. Is the child car seat suitable for my child?
2. Is the child car seat suitable for the type of car I drive?
3. Did I get expert advice when I was choosing the car seat?
4. Does the seat I’ve chosen meet the correct EU standard?
5. Are the instructions easy to understand and follow?
6. Did I think about airbags?
7. Does my car have back seats?
8. Does my car have the ISOFIX or iSize system?
9. Should I buy a second hand car seat?
10.If it was involved in a crash, has it been inspected
thoroughly?
If you are unsure about anything on this checklist, you should
ask a child car seat expert for advice.
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Child Safety in Cars. A guide to driving safely with children on board.
NO
Working to Save Lives
January 2016
Údarás Um Shábháilteacht Ar Bhóithre
Road Safety Authority
Páirc Ghnó Ghleann na Muaidhe, Cnoc an tSabhaircín, Bóthar Bhaile Átha Cliath,
Béal an Átha, Co. Mhaigh Eo.
Moy Valley Business Park, Primrose Hill, Dublin Road, Ballina, Co. Mayo.
locall: 1890 50 60 80 tel: (096) 25 000 fax: (096) 25 252
email: [email protected] website: www.rsa.ie
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