Your childs baby capsule / child restraint has a lot of engineering and design that has gone into ensuring your child will stay safe, with revision ever couple of years with the latest update in September 2014, which saw the introduction of ISOFIX and the G type child restraint. These simple safety tips and pre-cautions may help you travel safer with your child
Top Tether / Upper Tether strap
Australia was the first country to introduce the top tether to stop forward motion in case of an emergency braking or being hit from behind in case of an accident. The Top Tether is mandatory and should always be attached to the anchor point (please check your vehicle manual for the approved anchor point). DO NOT wind the upper tether around the head rest, the upper tether should only be attached to an approved anchor point.
Child restraint installation
Seat Belt Installation
When using a seat belt installation, always ensure that the seat belt is pushed in fully to the buckle. it can be very easy for friends to accidentally reach behind and disconnect the seat belt or for your cuild to reach and and disconnect the seat belt
ISOFIX Installation (Safety tips)
When using an ISOFIX installation, please ensure that the ISOFIX indicators are full solid green color. If you can see some red press the seat down and re-tighten.
Buckle up the Harness
When you insert the tongues, there should be a very audible click when you insert the second tongue into the buckle. The order does not matter, but on the second tongue you should hear an audible click. If you have not heard that click, it usually means that you have not inserted one of the harness tongues in to the buckle fully.
If the child restraint is several years old, there may be food crumbs in the buckle in which case rinse out and clean the buckle.
Staying safe with longer rear facing child restraints
It is well know fact that children travelling in rear facing child restraints are safer, as there is no stress placed upon your child’s neck, shoulders, arms and chest and they are pushed back into the restraint in the case of a sudden stoppage. Note all other aspects need to be secured such as top tether, seat belt etc. An example of a longer rear facing child restraint is the INFA Kompressor which based upon the 50th percentile will help to keep a child rear facing until 24 months.
A secure harness for safety
In Forward Facing child restraint, one of the most important aspects is the tightness of the child restraint. When the child restraint harness is loose, it is possible for children to take their arms and shoulders out of the harness and the child would be shot forward in the case of a sudden stop, this would happen even if the child has not taken their shoulders and arms out.
There are two tests; parents can do to check the tightness of the harness, 1/ try to grab a fold in the harness, if you can grab a fold; the harness is too loose, 2/ place two fingers under the harness at the shoulders, if you can get your finders under the harness and it is still loose, re-tighten the harness.
When your child is wearing alot of clothes, pay closer attention to tightness of the harness as there is a tendency to not make the harness tight with alot of clothing on
Shoulder and Harness Height
Most child restraints with in-built harnesses feature multiple shoulder strap slots; so you can move the harness up as your child grows. Ensuring that the correct slot is used can help prevent a loose harness fit; improve shoulder strap placement and can also contribute in preventing harness escapism.
In rearward facing restraints, you should use the slot that is level or slightly above your child’s shoulders. Do not use a slot if it is below your child’s shoulders.
In forward facing restraints, you should use the closest slot to your child’s shoulders, but not more than 25mm below your child’s shoulders.
When you adjust the height of your harness, ensure that you’ve correctly re-attached the straps to the spreader / G plates on the rear of the restraint.
There are some child restraints that are easy adjust and do not need manual re-threading. Exampes of child restraints that do not need manual re-threading include, Infa Secure Evolve, Maxi Cosi Euro and Hera, and nearly all Child restraints from Safe n Sounds / Britax.
Twisted Harness straps
It is very easy for the shoulder straps of the child restraint harness to become twisted, when putting on the harness day in, day out. Though it may appear innocuous, these twists can create a pressure point on the shoulders and may cause bruising or more. A flat harness on the other hand distributes the forces more evenly in the event of an accident, evenly across the point of contact with your child, reducing the forces being applied to their shoulders and chest.
To minimise strap twisting, you can fasten the harness when not in use, and straighten the harness each time you use it, so you don’t end up with an overly twisted strap that takes longer to untwist.
Fixing twisted harness straps
The easiest was to remove the twist in case on a child restraint that needs to be manually re-threaded when adjusting for the shoulder height is to undo the harness at the spreader bar and re-thread the harness so that it is now straight. When your child restraint uses an easy harness adjustment then the way to untwist the harness is to create a 45 degree fold in the harness and slide the clip over the fold.