Early this year, I reviewed the BeSafe iZi Up X3 car seat. I was extremely impressed with our choice – the features, especially SIP (Side Impact Protection); the fact that it comes from safety focused, award winning Scandinavian brand BeSafe; and of course that it’s a pretty good looking car seat, which is a prerequisite when you’re this cool. 👇🏼
A little while ago though, I found myself questioning this car seat we had been so, so happy with. We were making our way home after a mini groceries run, when a moron – who clearly has no respect for little things like rules, road safety, or life – turned right in front of us, causing Shawn to quickly hit the brakes to avoid hitting into his car.
The frantic braking caused Zee’s car seat to move forward and then back again, giving her a huge fright. Seeing and hearing how scared my child was, made me think immediately that perhaps we’d chosen the wrong car seat. All sorts of things ran through my mind. Why didn’t we just take the iZi Up X3 Fix instead? If it was an ISOfix car seat, the seat wouldn’t have shifted, and my little girl would feel safer, and be better protected.
I did some research to try and put my mind at ease (or to decide if we needed to take out a loan, in order to rush out and buy an ISOfix car seat), and this is what I found:
~ When a car crashes it stops suddenly, but the child car seat and the child carry on moving. A car seat is designed to protect your child by holding him or her in place, absorbing some of the forces of the crash, and actively controlling how their body moves to reduce injury to their internal organs, and delicate areas such as the head, neck and abdomen.
~ When a seat is installed using a seat belt, there is some give in the belt. This means the seat moves slightly more in a crash, but the forces transmitted to the seat (and hence the child) can be slightly lower, because of the energy absorbed as the belt flexes.
~ With ISOfix mounts the connection between the seat and the car is more rigid, and more of the crash force is transferred between them. In a sideways impact the car seat is often held more firmly on the seat, so there can be less sideways movement, and more force is transferred to the seat. However, some ISOfix car seats now have connectors which allow for a bit of sideways movement, to compensate for this (or in the more awesome case of the iZi Up X3 Fix, SIR – Side Impact Rotation, where in the event of an impact from the side the child car seat will rotate inwards towards the centre of the car so that the child is turned away from the point of impact instead of being thrown forwards against the door)
~ The main thing to remember is that ISOfix was introduced to make installing a child car seat much easier, and to lower the risk of getting it wrong. If a seat is installed incorrectly, it won’t give as much protection as it’s designed to, which could lead to a higher risk of serious injury. In other words, a properly installed belted car seat is just as safe as it’s ISOfix twin. The most important thing is that your child is safely strapped into one.
In case you’re wondering, “Why all the car seat fuss for an “older” child, a child who’s just turned 8?”
In South Africa it is illegal to travel in a car with a child under 3 years old not strapped into an approved car seat – most of us know this. But did you know that every child until roughly 12 years of age needs to be in a car seat to be safe in case of a crash?
Once a child outgrows the 5-point harness toddler seat, they should be moved to a full back booster seat with side impact protection until they are over 1.5m tall or over 36kg. At just 1.18m and 20kg, there’s no way I’m letting my little one travel in a car without a car seat.
A car seat belt is designed to be used by an adult male over 1.5m tall. The seat belt’s job is to distribute the force of a crash to the body’s strongest points – mid-shoulder, chest and pelvis. On a child however, the seat belt sits over their 2 most vulnerable points – the neck/throat and the belly area containing all the vital organs. The seat belt becomes a definitive threat to a child who isn’t using a child car seat to protect them from it.
As parents we’re always learning something new. Perhaps, before reading this, you weren’t aware of the facts regarding why it’s vital for “older” children to be in a car seat. I remember how shaken I was when the 2016 #CarseatFullstop campaign launched, and I learned that I was in fact making big mistakes (despite being someone who’s always felt so strongly about car seat safety) – I learned that I had moved Zee to a forward facing car seat WAY too early… and that I had been strapping her in with the harness fastened a little too loosely. Being surprised or shaken by what we learn isn’t enough though, we need to apply that knowledge.
Being on the #CarseatFullstop team this year, I want to do my part in sharing the lifesaving information we’ve learned, and are still learning with other parents.
With statistics saying that up to 93% of people aren’t strapping in their kids in South Africa… We ALL know somebody who is adding to that number.
You have the power to save a little life. One share, seen by one person, who straps in one child, saves a life. #CarseatFullstop. Every child. Every time. No matter what.
#CarseatFullstop is a very proud retailer for the BeSafe car seat range in South Africa. This means that if you purchase a BeSafe car seat through #CarseatFullstop, the profits go to maintaining this initiative! If you would like to have your little one as safe as they can be, be sure to join this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/supportcarseatfullstop/ or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you have a car seat that your little person has outgrown, please consider donating it to Wheel Well. Wheel Well is a non-profit organization that collects used car seats, which are then cleaned and refurbished in order to provide a safe option for parents who are unable to afford a new car seat. Seats can be dropped off at any Renault dealership.