Top Tether, which complements Isofix fixings, is an essential safety feature in child car seats. This little-known device, found mainly on forward-facing car seats, plays a crucial role in protecting young passengers. This article takes an in-depth look at how Top Tether works, its essential role in making car seats safer, and how it differs from other devices such as struts. We'll look at how to determine whether a vehicle is fitted with Top Tether, how to use it, and present a selection of the best isofix car seats with Top Tether, recognised for their excellent safety record.
The Isofix Fixing System
The isofix fixing is a major innovation in child car safety. Designed to simplify the installation of car seats and improve their stability, isofix is a standardised fixing system found in most recent vehicles. It consists of two metal anchorage points located between the backrest and the seat of the vehicle's rear bench seat.
Car seats with isofix attach directly to these anchorage points, eliminating the need to use the vehicle's seatbelt to secure the child. car seat. This method of fastening not only makes installation quicker and more intuitive, it also reduces the risk of incorrect installation, providing better protection for the child in the event of a collision.
However, even with the safety offered by the isofix system, safety can be further enhanced by the use of a Top Tether or strut. This is a third point of stability that prevents the car seat from tipping forward in an accident. The Top Tether, in particular, is an additional strap that attaches directly to an anchorage point in the boot of the vehicle.
Top Tether Role And Importance
What is Top Tether?
The Top Tether plays a crucial role in car seat safety. Its main function is to limit the rotation of the car seat in the event of a collision, particularly towards the front, thereby reducing the risk of serious injury to the child's head and neck. In the event of an impact, the Top Tether strap keeps the top of the car seat as close as possible to the backrest of the vehicle, preventing the seat from tipping forward.
What is Top Tether used for?
The role of the Top Tether is similar to that of the strut in terms of stabilisation. It acts as an additional safety point, preventing the car seat from tipping forward in the event of an impact. This function is particularly vital in the event of a head-on collision, where the force of the impact can cause the car seat to move abruptly. In the event of an impact, the strap holds the top of the car seat closer to the backrest of the vehicle, preventing the seat from tipping forward. By limiting this movement, Top Tether plays a vital role in preventing injuries to the child's head and neck, areas that are particularly sensitive in young children.
Using Top Tether
The Top Tether is mainly recommended for road-facing car seats. In this configuration, there is a greater risk of the car seat moving in the event of a collision. Using Top Tether in conjunction with the Isofix system forms a tripartite attachment, offering greater stability and safety. This combination is considered to be one of the safest methods for installing a car seatIt minimises the movement of the car seat, reducing the risk of injury in accidents.
The Top Tether As An Alternative To The Strut
In addition to the Isofix attachment system, Top Tether is an effective alternative to the support strut. While the strut rests directly on the floor of the vehicle to stabilise the car seat, the Top Tether is a strap that attaches to a specific anchorage point, generally located in the boot of the vehicle. This distinction is all the more relevant in vehicles with floor storage compartments, where it may not be possible to install car seats with a support strut.
|Criteria||Top Tether||Power Leg|
|Definition||Strap fixed to the back of the car seat||Adjustable stem from car seat to floor|
|Role||Prevents the car seat from tipping over in the event of an accident||Prevents the car seat from tipping over in the event of an accident|
|Installation||Attachment to the vehicle's top tether anchorage point||Support on the vehicle floor|
|Space required||No||Floor space required|
How do I know if my car has Top Tether?
- Consult your vehicle manual: The first step is to consult your car manual. Most recent vehicle manuals include information on Top Tether anchorage points, their location and how to use them.
- Inspect the back of the seat: In many vehicles, the Top Tether anchorage points are located behind the seat. They are symbolised by an anchor or are visible in the form of metal loops or bars.
- Check the ceiling or trunk: In some car models, the Top Tether anchorage points can be located in the boot of the vehicle at ceiling or floor level.
How to attach the Top Tether
Once you have located the Top Tether anchorage point in your vehicle, here's how to attach the Top Tether to your isofix car seat:
- Position the car seat : Install the car seat in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, using the vehicle's Isofix system or safety belt.
- Locate the car seat's Top Tether strap : This strap is usually located at the back of the car seat.
- Attach the strap to the anchor point : Extend the Top Tether strap towards the anchorage point in your vehicle and hook it in. Make sure that the strap passes correctly according to the car seat manufacturer's instructions.
- Tighten the strap: Once the strap is hooked on, pull firmly to tighten it. For optimum safety, the strap must be taut but not twisted.
- Check stability: After fastening and tightening the Top Tether strap, check that the car seat is stable and does not move more than 2.5 cm in any direction.
The Best Isofix Car Seats With Top Tether
When it comes to choosing a child car seat, safety is paramount. Isofix car seats with Top Tether offer enhanced safety thanks to their stable and secure attachment system. Here is our selection of the best isofix car seats with Top Tether that have received excellent results in ADAC tests.
Isofix Swivel Car Seats (Group 1)
Maxi Cosi AxissFix i-Size
The Maxi-Cosi AxissFix is a 360° swivelling isofix car seat designed for children from 61 to 105 cm (approx. 4 months to 4 years). It complies with the European i-Size regulation for enhanced safety, offering a rear-facing position up to 87 cm (approx. 2 years) for better head and neck protection. The seat can be used in both rear-facing and forward-facing positions, with an adjustable headrest and a 7-position harness that grows with the child. Its ease of use and practical installation thanks to isofix and Top Tether fixings make it an ideal choice for parents concerned about their child's safety and comfort.
- Axissfix is an Isofix car seat, suitable for use from 4 months to 4 years (from 61 to 105 cm).
- Swivel car seat 360° to easily get your child in and out of the car
Joie i-Spin Grow
The Joie i-Spin Grow is an isofix swivelling car seat designed for children from 40 to 105 cm (up to around 7 years old). It meets the standard i Size, this model stands out for its ability to swivel 360°, making it easier to install and transition between rear-facing and forward-facing positions. It is equipped with VeriFit™ technology, which uses audible and light warnings to signal incorrect installation, ensuring increased safety. The seat also offers a 6-position recline for optimum comfort, even while the child is sleeping. It also has isofix connectors for a firm and seamless installation. The Joie i-Spin Grow is renowned for its comfort and safety, meeting the needs of children at every stage of their development.
Isofix Car Seats (Group 1 2 3)
Britax Römer Advansafix IV R
The Britax Römer Advansafix IV R is a group 1 2 3 car seat that complies with the R44/04 standard for children from 9 kg to 36 kg (approx. 9 months to 12 years). This convertible car seat incorporates an Isofix anchorage system and a Top Tether strap for forward-facing installation from 9 to 18 kg (Group 1) with a 5-point harness. Between 15 kg and 36 kg (Group 2/3), the car seat can be installed with the vehicle's safety belt and Isofix attachments, or with the safety belt only. The Britax car seat Römer Advansafix IV R offers three adjustable recline positions, even when the child is already in the car. This model has been awarded a "Good" rating by the ADAC.
- Britax Römer child car seat - Made in Germany
- FLIP&GROW - easy transition from the integrated 5-point belt to the vehicle's 3-point belt
Maxi Cosi Titan Pro i-Size
The Maxi-Cosi Titan Pro i-Size is an expandable car seat designed for children from 76 to 150 cm (approx. 15 months to 12 years). Compliant with the i-Size standard, this model can be installed facing the road and is easy to attach thanks to its isofix fixings and Top Tether. The Titan Pro i Size features advanced side-impact protection and a 5-point safety harness with magnets, making it easy to install. The car seat offers enhanced comfort thanks to its AirProtect safety cushions integrated into the headrest, which provide extra protection in the event of a side impact. With a 4-star ADAC safety rating, the Maxi-Cosi Titan Pro i-Size is recognised as one of the safest car seats available.
- GROUP 1/2/3 CAR SEAT: this multi-age seat offers protection, comfort and durability for children aged 15 months to 12 years (76-150 cm, 9-36 kg) and can be installed quickly using ISOFIX and the Top Tether strap.
- I-SIZE SAFETY: designed for long-term safety, Titan i-Size meets the highest i-Size safety standards and ensures your child's safety and comfort as he or she grows.
Cybex Pallas G i-Size
The Cybex Pallas G i-Size is a shield car seat facing the road, designed for children from 76 to 150 cm (approx. 15 months to 12 years). i-Size compliant, this model incorporates an impact shield that offers extra protection until the child reaches 21 kg. After that, the impact shield is removed, and the seat transforms into a booster with a backrest, secured by the vehicle's safety belt. It is also equipped with a reclining headrest to prevent the child's head from tilting forward while sleeping, and a linear side impact protection system (L.S.P. Plus). The Cybex Pallas G i-Size is easy and safe to install thanks to its isofix attachments and Top Tether strap, with visual indicators to confirm correct installation. This car seat is renowned for its comfort and safety, adapted to the needs of children at every stage of their growth.
- Stable, high-quality car seat with a long service life - For children aged between 15 months and around 12 years (9-50 kg)
- Patented 3-position reclining headrest, Integrated side impact protection (L.S.P. System)
Britax Römer Trifix 2 i Size
The Britax Römer Trifix 2 i-Size is a forward-facing car seat suitable for children measuring between 76 and 105 cm (approx. 15 months to 4 years). Complying with the i-Size standard, it provides maximum protection thanks to its reinforced side panels and a headrest specially designed to offer increased safety in the event of a side impact. Installation is simplified thanks to the isofix hooks and Top Tether. The Britax Römer Trifix 2 i-Size also offers great comfort with several reclining positions and an easy-to-remove cover for easy cleaning.