Avoiding child car seat safety mistakes

It’s vital to make sure that your child’s car seat is correctly and safely installed, so we’ve put together a checklist of useful tips to help you get it right.

A traffic accident with a young child in the car is every parent’s nightmare. We spend hours researching the right seat to buy, consulting books, websites and asking friends. Once you've made the choice of car seats, you then take painstaking care to install it correctly.

  • Avoid used car seats
    While the seat may look perfectly good on the outside, the seat may have been weakened if it has withstood a crash. When you have MORE THAN comprehensive car insurance we’ll replace child car seats that have been involved in a crash covered under your policy even if there is no apparent damage.
  • Replace used car seats
    Even if your car seat is just old, plastic gets brittle with age – so you should be looking to replace car seats every six to eight years.
  • Keep them snugly strapped in
    Straps need to be taut to keep them properly protected. Bulky clothing can prevent the harness from being as tight as it should be, so thick or heavy coats should be removed from your children when you put them in the car. You can always tuck a blanket over their harness to keep your little ones snug.
  • Explain to your kids why they are being strapped in
    Young children are second only to Harry Houdini in their ability to slip out of seemingly secure restraints. Take the time to reassure them when strapping them in and make a point of explaining that everybody in the car wears seatbelts.
  • Fit the seat securely
    Double check the seat is not too loose. A loose-fitting car seat is not as much of a problem with modern Isofix seats, which plug into a corresponding fitting point, but car seats installed with seat belts are not as straightforward. Always follow the installation instructions properly, then put your knee in the seat and give the belt a good pull to make sure it’s in there as tightly as possible.
  • Rear-facing seats are safer
    Moving a baby to a forward-facing car seat before they are ready is one to be avoided. Young children in forward facing seats are at greater risk of injury. Regulations called i-Size dictate that children should stay rear facing until they are at least 15 months old.
  • Get harness height right
    For rear-facing seats, the harness should be just below your child’s shoulders. For forward-facing seats, the harness should be just ABOVE your child’s shoulders. 
  • Put the seat belt buckle in the right place
    Be sure to not sit the seat belt buckle over the frame of the child seat. In the event of an accident, the plastic casing might not survive the impact.
  • Use booster seats when the time comes
    Children must normally use a child car seat or booster seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 cm tall, whichever comes first. The extra boost lifts them up higher so that the seat belt rests at the correct height and the high back helps prevent injuries with added protection.
Useful links

For added reassurance Good Egg Safety runs events throughout the country to check if car seats are installed correctly.

Get all the details on safety laws and more with the Child Car Seats website.

Find out more about insuring your car with MORE THAN

Related Links