Understanding ISOFIX does not necessarily have to be a complex task left to the Child Restraint Professionals, it is a task every parent should see as their duty to understand and implement measures for the safe travel of their child regardless of whether isofix is used or not.
What is ISOFIX
ISOFIX (International Standards Organisation FIX) is a new standard for car seat installation that's being adopted by car seat and vehicle manufacturers worldwide. The system operates through ISOFIX points on the back of the child car seat that plug into ISOFIX fittings in the car, creating a solid link between your child's car seat and your car.
In 1997, BRITAX launched ISOFIX together with VW in the Golf V. This safety system has become an international installation interface for standardised anchorage points between a child seat and a vehicle. The ISOFIX system is another attachment mechanism.
Only 30% of child seats are installed correctly when using an adult seat belt, 96% when using the ISOFIX system!*
* Source: The German Insurance Institute GDV, Group 1
ISOFIX fittings remove the need to use the adult seat-belts to restrain the child restraint; this significantly decreases the risk of a parent installing the car-seat incorrectly.
Types of ISOFIX attachments
Rigid ISOFIX connectors
- A pair of rigid connectors are located at the base of the child restraint which connect to the vehicle’s ISOFIX low anchorages. The top tether strap must be anchored to the vehicle. The vehicle seat-belt will not be required when the rigid connectors are being used.
Flexible ISOFIX connectors
: A pair of flexible straps with connectors are located at the base of the child restraint which connect to the vehicle’s ISOFIX low anchorages. The flexible connectors are then adjusted to secure the child restraint firmly to the vehicle. The top tether strap must be anchored to the vehicle. The vehicle seat-belt will not be required when the flexible connectors are being used.
Tightness of the child restraint
Many parents will notice that when they install the ISOFIX child restraint, there is more lateral motion than normally would be with a standard seat belt installations. Provided both the ISOFIX indicators are fully showing green, then you have installed the ISOFIX child restraint according to how it was meant to be installed.
It is an Urban MYTH that the child restraint installation must be ROCK hard, infact it is better to have some movement than no movement at all
Is ISOFIX any safer
ISOFIX is simply another attachment mechanism, to keep the child restraint in place preventing lateral motion. The current Australian system for Installing a child restraint is just as safe and secure as newly introduced (September 2014) ISOFIX System.
WHY Australian ISOFIX is SAFER
Many Europeans are under the mis-guided impression that the European ISOFIX is SAFER as Volvo has been involved at some point and that EUROPE introduced ISOFIX before Australia. Here are the FACTS relating to WHY Australian ISOFIX is SAFER
The ISOFIX compatible system for Australia represents a combination of changes to the Australian Design Rules for vehicles (ADR 34) and the Australian/New Zealand Standard for child restraints (AS/NZS 1754).
The Australian Design Rules have been amended to set design and performance requirements for any new vehicle being supplied to Australia with ISOFIX low anchorages. Vehicle manufacturers, from 1 November 2012, could voluntarily include ISOFIX low anchorages in new models of vehicles, and from 1 November 2013 for all other new vehicles of existing models.
Within the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1754 child restraints are required to:
- have a top tether strap (that is independently tested for strength)
- have a rebound prevention feature (to keep a rearward facing child restraint in the correct position in the event of a crash)
- be tested in a side impact (in the event of a side impact crash)
- be tested in an inverted position to test for occupant ejection (to ensure the child does not get ejected from their child restraint if the vehicle rolls)
Europe is just beginning to introduce the Top Tether strap.
Non Australian ISOFIX Seats
It is illegal to use a child restraint from Europe and other countries as these child restraints have not passed the Australian standards. Additionally ALL child restraints in Australia MUST use the top tether strap to attach to an Certified and tested anchor point in the car.
If you are having trouble installing your ISOFIX child restraint in Melbourne Contact an Accredited Child restraint Fitter in Melbourne