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ISOFIX car seats, everything you need to know

December 26, 2016
ISOFIX car seats, everything you need to know

ISOFIX Car Seats - Everything you need to know

Introduced in to Australia in 2014, ISOFIX child restraint systems make fitting car seats easy.

Alarmingly, 70% of cat seats are not properly installed, despite the best intentions of parents. ISOFIX helps reduce incorrectly installed car seats with easy fittings now compatible with many cars.

Tinitrader has noticed that there is still confusion in the market place as to what ISOFIX actually means. So before you buy your ISOFIX car seat, read our guide on what you need to know.

What is ISOFIX?

ISOFIX is simply an alternative car seat installation method that makes it easier to ensure your child restraint is fitted properly. You still need to ensure you choose the correct car seat for your child.

The name ISOFIX stands for ISO (international standardization Organization) plus Fix (fixation).

What does ISOFIX mean?

ISOFIX seats provide added security for parents by attaching directly to the car through locking mechanisms. This makes it easier to install correctly - it's either in or it isn't. In addition, the seat is still required to be secured by a top tether strap.

Not all ISOFIX lower anchorage points are exactly the same width apart from each other; this may vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle.

ISOFIX car seats are available for children of all ages. For newborns to children of 6 months, reward facing car seats are recommended. Beyond 6 months, progression into forward-facing and booster seats is governed by age and shoulder height.

Do all vehicles have ISOFIX low anchorages?

No. Since 2000 some imported vehicles from Europe, Asia and United States have arrived in Australia fitted with ISOFIX low anchorages. This has been included on a voluntary basis by the manufacturer, so not all vehicles sold in Australia have ISOFIX low anchorages.

However Holden, pre-empted the revised standard change in Australia and ensured its VF Commodore range is the first locally-produced car fitted with the improved latching system.

How do I know if my vehicle is fitted with ISOFIX low anchorages?

Before buying an ISOFIX car seat check for the international ISOFIX icon along the back seats in your vehicle. The lower connectors can be visible or hidden depending on the make and model of your car.

Also check your vehicle’s manual to make sure your vehicle is compatible.

While you are there, check to see how many ISOFIX anchorages there are.

In general you will find the two outer-seated positions in the back row have lower anchorage points.

Keep in mind that ISOFIX carseats only allow child car seat manufactures to produce ISOFIX compatible rearward and forward facing car seats, no booster seats!

What are the safety benefits of ISOFIX?

This locking mechanism ensures the child seats are correctly secured each time they are used and reduces movement in both side and frontal impact crashes. When used in crash tests, ISOFIX car seats have a great improvement in the reduction of movement caused by severe side impacts.

Also, ISOFIX car seats are much more convenient to attach and remove than the current method of securing a belt through the back of the child restraint. Especially when moving from one ISOFIX car to another ISOFIX compatible vehicle.

The only disadvantage is ISOFIX car seats are a little but more expensive, but with so many on the market you are bound to find one to suit your family's budget.

Will all Australia car seats be ISOFIX compatible?

No, child restraints that use the vehicle seatbelt and top tether strap will continue to be available.

Regardless if you choose ISOFIX car restraint or not, here are some safety tips to follow to help keep your little one safe and sound while in their Child restraint.

Safety

  • Always make sure it has Australian standard AS/NZS 1754 label

  • Ensure the seat is the appropriate size for your child (the child’s size, weight and age must be considered)

  • When installing a child car seat, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Always ensure your child is wearing the restraint and it fits snug with no slack or twisted strap.

  • This is really important for your child’s safety and you should get into the habit of checking this every time you are putting your child in and out of the car restraint.

  • Also regularly check that the restraint is adjusted properly for the child’s size according to restraints user’s manual

  • Never leave your child unattended in the car.

I would recommend that you seek a professional car seat fitter, that fits car seats on a regularly bases, to fit your child car seat for you. Make sure you are with them when they fit the seat and learn about the key anchorage points and how to check if the seat is the appropriate size for your child. Ask questions if you are not sure about anything. Take responsibility for your child’s safety!

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