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The essentials of safe car seats

Choosing the right car seat will ensure your child is safe and comfortable for the journey

Posted: 9 April 2013
by Catherine O'Dolan

THERE WAS A time, not so long ago, when the issue of child car safety was a bit of a minefield. The problem was not so much with the safety of the car seats, but the fact that they needed to be secured with a seat belt, which allowed for human error.

Random checks showed that around two-thirds of car seats were not properly fitted. The advent of the ISOFIX (International Standards Organisation FIX points, to be precise) provided a more foolproof “plug-in” system for fitting child car seats quickly, simply and, most importantly, safely.

Since 2006, all new cars are manufactured with inconspicuous attachment points in standard locations, whilst ISOFIX-compatible child seats have latches on the back to lock onto the mounting points in the car with a simple click-and-push system.

The good news is that, whilst it is estimated that only 30 per cent of child seats are installed correctly when using an adult seat belt, that figure rises impressively to around 96 per cent when using the ISOFIX system, which makes it an eminently safer option for your child.

With the fitting dilemma fixed, designers are free to focus on other safety innovations such as improved side impact protection. And of course, whilst safety is paramount, parents – and dare we say, especially fathers – are also likely to be seduced by the Formula 1-inspired styling of some of the more dynamic models, too.

The multi-award winning Kiddy Guardian Pro 2 (for children aged nine months to 12 years) has excellent innovation and safety features, such as the shock-absorbent headrest and the unique laptop "impact shield" designed to offer more freedom of movement and protection of the spine. It's pretty funky looking, too, with its ergonomic yet lightweight design. 

Read about the winning car seats in our Junior Design Awards 2012 for more recommendations.

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