The 3rd–9th of June sees the return of the Child Accident Prevention Trust’s annual Child Safety Week campaign. Designed to help build confidence and skills in managing risks where children are concerned, it’s helped countless families over the years, and there are lots of free resources to help get you started.

To help spread their message to a wider audience, we’re running a series of blogs all week, and each day will focus on a different danger that your baby or toddler might face if the proper precautions aren’t taken; some of them you won’t even have thought of. 

We’re starting with the importance of car seat safety, and we’ll also cover topics as varied as bathing, feeding, and sleeping.

So be sure to stick around, as we give you hints and tips that cost nothing to implement but could save your child from serious injury.  

Let’s dive (safely) in.


Prioritising Car Seat Safety for Your Child

Ensuring your child is properly secured in a car seat is the most critical step you can take to protect their well-being while travelling. Let's look at why car seat safety matters so much and give you some installation tips to keep your little one as safe as can be on the road.


The Importance of Car Seat Safety

In the UK, it's a legal requirement for children to use a car seat until they reach a certain age, height, or weight.  

But why?

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and death among children, but properly installed car seats can greatly reduce the risk of harm. Using a car seat that meets safety standards not only provides crucial protection for your child in the event of a collision or emergency stop - it also gives you the peace of mind that your child is safe every time you step into your vehicle with them.  


Tips for Car Seat Safety

Now that you know why taking car safety seriously is so important, let’s look at how you can put it into practice. 


1. Choose the Right Car Seat

  • Select a car seat that’s appropriate for your child's age, weight, and height. Most car seat product descriptions will provide you with all three metrics, so you can easily identify what you need.  
  • There are two different child car seat regulations relating to when parents can allow their baby to travel facing forward in their car seat. The first, R44, covers seats that are manufactured based on a child’s weight. With these seats, your child can travel forward-facing from 9kg (around nine months old). The second set of newer regulations, R129 (also known as i-Size), covers seats that are manufactured based on the child’s height. With these seats, the child must travel rear-facing until they’re at least 15 months old.  
  • Regardless of whether you use an R44 or an R129 seat, it’s best to keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible. However, once the time periods stated above have elapsed, this advice is no longer enforced by law and is just a recommendation.
  • Know your R44s from your i-Sizes and your ISOFIXes! There are various safety standards for car seats, so brush up on UK child seat laws to make sure you’re fully compliant.
  • Look at versatile options like the Ickle Bubba i-Size Rotator 360 Spin, which is adaptable enough for use up to 12 years of age and offers convenient 360-degree rotation for easy access.


2. Ensure Proper Installation

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when installing your car seat.
  • Consider using a car seat base for increased stability. These securely attach to your vehicle and provide a firm foundation for your car seat; just make sure that your car seat is compatible with the base before you buy. If you’re in any doubt, speak to the manufacturer.  


3. Use the Harness Correctly

  • Position the harness straps snugly at - or just below - your child's shoulders.
  • To check the harness tightness, perform the "pinch test" to make sure there’s no excess slack.
  • This is especially important in the winter when layers of clothing are worn. Remove padded jackets before putting your child into the seat, as although it may seem like you’re fitting the straps snuggly, the coat actually creates space between the straps and your child, rendering the seat unsafe.
  • The best practice is to strap them into the chair without a coat on, then place a blanket over them to keep them warm.


4. Regularly Inspect and Maintain

  • Periodically inspect your car seat for signs of wear and tear, damage, or expiration.
  • Clean your seat regularly according to the manufacturer's instructions.


5. Replace After Accidents or Expiration

  • Replace your car seat after any moderate to severe crash, even if there’s no visible damage.
  • Although car seats in the UK don’t have to be marked with an expiration date by law, materials can degrade over time, so it’s recommended that you change your car seat every 5 years


Car Seat Safety: The Ultimate Non-Negotiable

Car seat safety is a non-negotiable when it comes to protecting your child while travelling. By choosing the right car seat, installing it correctly, and following safety guidelines, you can ensure your little one stays safe and secure on every journey.

If you have questions about any of our car seats, our expert team are always on hand to help wherever they can.  

We’ve got more valuable Child Safety Week 2024 safety tips on our blog, so make sure you read them all to keep your family as safe as can be.