Installing a car seat Isofix is a crucial step in ensuring your child's safety when travelling by car. Incorrect installation can compromise your child's protection in the car and increase the risk of serious injury in the event of an accident. That's why it's essential to follow the manufacturer's instructions and know the steps to follow to install an Isofix car seat correctly. In this article, we will guide you through the various steps required to correctly install an Isofix car seat, to ensure your child's safety and well-being in the car.
What is ISOFIX?
Isofix is a system for securing child car seats in cars. It is a standardised system that was developed to provide an easier and safer method of securing baby car seats. This system has become widespread following the introduction of the i-Size regulation (R129).
The Isofix system consists of two metal hooks attached to the car's bodywork and two attachment points on the child car seat. The hooks are attached to the car's Isofix anchorage points, which are metal fixing points welded to the bodywork. These anchorage points are usually hidden between the seat and backrest of the rear seat.
The attachment points on the car seat or the car booster seat are often referred to as "Isofix connectors" or "Isofix arms". They attach to the car's Isofix anchor points to keep the car seat secure and stable. Car seats fitted with the Isofix system can also be secured using the car's safety belt in addition to the Isofix system. This is the case for most baby cosy which have both fixing options.
Why choose an ISOFIX car seat?
The Isofix system is considered to be a safer method of securing a car seat in a car, as it is easier and quicker to install and reduces the risk of installation errors. What's more, the Isofix system provides a more stable attachment than traditional seatbelt attachment methods, further reducing the risk of the car seat moving in the event of a collision.
Since 2011, the ISOFIX attachment has become compulsory for all new car models. However, it is important to note that not all child car seats are compatible with the Isofix system, so it is important to check compatibility before buying a car seat.
How do I install an ISOFIX car seat in my car?
First of all, it's important to choose the right Isofix car seat for your child, based on their age, weight and height. There are different groups of car seats depending on these criteria, so it's important to check that the car seat you've chosen is right for your child.
Once you've chosen the Isofix car seat that's right for you, it's time to install it in your car. Here are the steps to follow to install an Isofix car seat correctly:
Identifying the Isofix points in your car
Most modern cars are equipped with Isofix points. These are metal anchor points located between the seat and the back of the rear seat. It is important to locate these Isofix points before starting to install the car seat.
Preparing the car seat
Before starting installation, it is important to prepare the car seat. Check that the car seat is suitable for your child's age, weight and height. Also make sure that the car seat belts are correctly adjusted.
Positioning the car seat
Place the car seat in the back seat of your car. Make sure the car seat is centred and in the correct position.
Attaching the car seat to the Isofix points
Once the car seat is correctly positioned, it's time to attach it to the Isofix points. To do this, simply clip the car seat's Isofix arms into the car's Isofix anchorage points. Make sure that the Isofix arms are correctly attached and locked.
Some Isofix car seats are fitted with a support leg or a Top Tether strap to increase the car seat's stability.
If your car seat is equipped with a strut, it is important to unfold it and position it correctly on the floor of the car. The support leg stabilises the car seat and reduces movement in the event of a collision.
If your car seat is equipped with a Top Tether strap, it is important to attach it correctly to an anchorage point at the rear of the bench seat in the boot. The Top Tether strap also helps to reduce the movement of the car seat in the event of a collision.
Check that the car seat is correctly installed
Isofix car seats are often fitted with colour indicators to help ensure correct installation. The colour indicators can be located on the Isofix connectors or on the base of the car seat. They can be of different colours, but most often they are green to indicate that the car seat is correctly installed and red to indicate that the car seat is not correctly installed.
Check the stability of the car seat
After securing the car seat to the Isofix points, it is important to check its stability. Try shaking the car seat to see if it moves. If the car seat moves too much, it may not be properly secured. In this case, it's important to check the Isofix points and re-fasten the car seat if necessary.
Securing the child in the car seat
Once the car seat is correctly installed, it's time to secure your child in the car seat using the harness, impact shield or seat belt, depending on your model. Make sure that the restraint system is correctly adjusted and that your child is properly secured.
6 common installation mistakes to avoid
When it comes to your child's safety, it's essential to be diligent and avoid common mistakes when using a child car seat. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
Installing the car seat incorrectly
Correct installation of the car seat is essential for your child's safety. It is important to follow the installation instructions supplied with the car seat and to ensure that the baby car seat is correctly installed in the car.
Using a car seat that is not suitable for the child's age, height or weight
Choosing the right car seat for your child is essential for his or her safety. Using a car seat that is not suitable for your child's age, height or weight can reduce the effectiveness of the car seat and increase the risk of injury in the event of an accident. It is important to check the car seat instructions to determine the appropriate age, weight and height limits.
Tying the child up incorrectly
It is essential to ensure that the child is correctly secured in the car seat. The five-point harnesses must be adjusted correctly to ensure the child's safety. The straps must not be twisted and must be tight enough so that the child cannot get out of the car seat.
Using a car seat that has been involved in an accident
Using a car seat that has been involved in an accident can compromise its safety and effectiveness. The forces exerted in an accident can damage the car seat, even if the damage is not visible. We recommend replacing any car seat that has been involved in an accident, even if it appears to be intact.
Install the car seat in the front of the vehicle with the airbag activated
Another common mistake to avoid is installing a car seat with an airbag. In some cases, it may be necessary to install the car seat at the front of the car, for example when the car does not have a rear bench seat (utility or company vehicle) or if the rear seats are already occupied by other children. If you need to install a baby cosy or a rear-facing car seat in the front, it is important to deactivate the front airbag to avoid any risk of injury in the event of an accident.
Ensuring your child's safety in the car with ISOFIX car seats
By following the steps we've outlined to install your Isofix car seat, you're now ready to take to the road safely with your child. It's important to remember that your child's safety in the car is an absolute priority and that the correct use of a car seat is essential to ensure their safety in the event of an accident. Always make sure you choose the right car seat for your child's age, weight and height, and follow the manufacturer's instructions for correct and safe installation. With a correctly installed Isofix car seat, you can enjoy your travels with complete peace of mind, knowing that your child is perfectly protected.