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Child Car Seat Installation

Friday, 7 May 2010

Check it fits!

Research conducted at the Road Safety Authority's 'Check it Fits' Roadshow over the past four years has revealed that 3 out of 4 parents fit their child car seats incorrectly. Furthermore, over half of all child car seats checked would have provided little or no protection to the child in the event of a crash*.

Be sure that the:

Car seat is suitable for the child

Car seat that's suitable for the car 4/5 main problems - child in a seat that doesn't suit the child. Wither too young or old, - weight and height.

Car seat is compatible with the car. 4 different types of seats for cars.

What might be suiting one Volvo may not suit another Volvo. Some car seats may fit behind one seat not another.

Car seat is installed properly - not being shown properly how to install, also may be just in a box and people may not read the

Most shops don't fit the car seats at all, or may fit them incorrectly. Noel Brett, RSA will say it is irresponsible for a store to sell you a car seat without checking that it installed correctly.
If a store does agree then you need to be sure they know what they're doing. Have they gone on a training course to learn this? If not go elsewhere.
Be aware that if the car was in a crash then the Child Car Seat may be condemned, i.e. not safe anymore.


1. According to the Road Safety Authority as many as 3 out of 4 child car seats are fitted incorrectly in Ireland

2. Make sure your child car seat is suitable for your child's weight, height and age and that it conforms to the latest EU safety regulations, look for the 'E' mark. Don't use age only as a guide as every child is different.

3. When buying a child car seat only buy from a retailer who is trained and will 'check it fits' and use the correct child restraint for your child every time you get into the car, no matter how short the journey.

4. Visit for more information on selecting and installing a child car seat

5. The Road Safety Authority 'Check it Fits' Roadshow will take place (twice annually) from Sat. 8th May to 12th May in the following locations where a team of 5 experts will check your child's car seat, free of charge, and give you the peace of mind that your child is travelling safely. Paul will be at all 5 of these:

Date Venue Time
Sat. 8th May Nutgrove Shopping Centre, Dublin 14 10am - 5pm
Sun. 9th May Tesco, Tullamore Retail Park, Cloncollig, Co. Offaly 12pm - 6pm
Mon. 10th May Tesco, Moorefield, Newbridge, Co. Kildare 10am - 5pm
Tue. 11th May Poppyfields Retail Park, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary 10am - 5pm
Wed. 12th May Tesco, Killarney Park, Killarney, Co. Kerry 10am - 5pm

Will stores fit it for you? Most won't but there are some stores, many stores are training their staff to install the child car seats correctly. Beware that you can be sold the wrong one for the child or car - or that it doesn't get installed correctly. Ask in the store if they have an expert to install it for you. Most stores are happy to do that for you. Don't just take it home in a box.

Which is the right seat for your child?
Some of the bigger brands are more universal in terms of the cars they fit. It needs to fit the car and the child. Don't just use age as a guide. Some 6months babies are smaller, some bigger. Grouped into categories: rearward car seat for the smallest children as their necks are not strong enough to face forward. Then move to forward facing. Then to a booster seat and then a booster cushion. The children move up the ladder of seats.

Rearward facing car seat - 0-1year approx. (0-13kgs)
Forward facing car seat - 9mths-4years approx. (9-18kgs)
Booster Seat - 4-11years approx. - (15-36kgs)
(Booster Cushion - 6-11years approx.- (22-36kgs))

How tight should the belt be?

If you can only fit 2 flat fingers under the harness, though the legs and up around the body, then that is perfect. Any looser is too loose. The seat shouldn't move at all.

EU Directive

Since the introduction of an EU Directive in September 2006, it is now mandatory for all children up to 150cms in height (roughly 11/ 12 year of age) to be restrained in an appropriate child restraint. This means using a child car seat, booster seat or booster cushion. The new regulations provide that:

. Where safety belts have been fitted they must be worn
. Children under 3 years of age must not travel in a car or goods vehicle (other than a taxi) unless restrained in the correct child seat
. Children aged 3 years or over who are under 150cms in height and weighing less than 36 kilograms (i.e. generally children up to 11/12 years old) must use the correct child seat, booster seat or booster cushion when travelling in cars or goods vehicles
. Children over 3 years of age must travel in a rear seat in vehicles not fitted with safety belts
. Rearward-facing child car seats must NEVER be used in the front passenger seat of cars with an active airbag
. Child car seats must be in accordance with EU or United Nations- Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE) standards
. Drivers have a legal responsibility to ensure passengers aged under 17 use the correct seat, booster seat, booster cushion or seatbelt

The Road Safety Authority has a dedicated Child Safety in Cars website where you can read the 'Child Safety in Cars' booklet and watch the 'Child Safety in Cars' DVD. Both the booklet and DVD are available FREE to order online at or by telephone at LoCall 1890 50 60 80.