The Highway Code prescribes it and common sense as well: children must be sufficiently secured in the car, so that they are protected in case of an accident. This should not be saved, because a high-quality child seat can protect the life of the child and may even save.
Depending on age, size and weight different child seats are used. Here you can choose from a variety of models and variants. In addition to the design of the child seat, there are also various methods for secure attachment.
The right child seat for every age
Under the Highway Code, children under 1.5 meters tall must be carried in their car in child seats meeting the ECE 44-03 or ECE 44-04 standards by the age of 12. Basically, the child seats can be divided into three different categories, which are based on the weight and size of the child.
Baby seat (class 0/0 +):
Up to a weight of 9kg children in the car must be transported contrary to the direction of travel. The baby can be transported there as long as the head still rests completely in the infant carrier and the maximum weight is not exceeded. A passenger seat transport is possible, but only if the passenger airbag can be deactivated. Otherwise there is an acute danger to the baby in an accident!
Child seats of class 1:
Here the child is already sitting forward. These seats are approved for a weight of 9-18kg. As a rule, children can use these seats up to the age of about 3 years. The attachment to the passenger seat is purely legally permitted. However, an activated passenger airbag can cause injury in the event of an accident. The safest place is in the back seat.
The safest, however – as many tests have confirmed – but the so-called reboard seats, where the child is still sitting with his back to the direction of travel in the back seat. In a possible accident, the impact energy in these seats is well distributed over the back of the child. Many experts recommend that children up to the age of four be transported in a reboard seat.
Child seats of class 2/3
These child seats are suitable for children from 15-36kg and can be used from the age of 3 years until the elimination of the child seat requirement. From a weight of 22kg, these seats can usually be rebuilt so that only the booster seat is used.
In addition to these classes, there are several variants that allow the use of a single child seat across several weight classes.
For a long time the attachment with the three-point belt was the only alternative for securing the child seat in the car. This is still acceptable and allowed. The standardized Isofix fastening, in which metal tongs hold the seat in the car, is considered to be safer. Other fastening systems are anchored in the trunk and hold the child seat on a belt system. When buying, make sure that the fastening systems in the vehicle are compatible with the child seat.
What to look for when buying a child seat:
Be sure to buy the child seat in a specialist shop. There you will be advised by competent salesmen. A qualified sales person asks about the age and weight of the child, the vehicle and its equipment (airbags, harness systems, Isofix) and provides information about the advantages and disadvantages of each seat as well as about the installation.
Take child and car with you. This is the only way to guarantee that your child will sit comfortably and that the child seat will be securely fastened to the vehicle.
Pay attention to the recommendations of the vehicle manufacturer
Choose a child seat that fits the correct ECE weight class and only purchase a child seat with the ECE mark
Study the numerous tests for child seats of all weight classes
Tests for safe child seats
The road safety of child seats is the focus of a number of institutions, such as the ADAC, Stiftung Warentest or various car magazines. The results can be different depending on the test methods used.
Prices for child seats
The prices for child seats of different classes range from 30 € to about 400 €. Very cheap child seats, which can usually be found at the discounters, should be examined very carefully with regard to the relevant criteria such as traffic safety and ECE test marks. Cheap models with good or very good results in the qualifying tests usually cost between € 130 and € 200.
The child seat should not be too economical. At the latest in the accident, the investment in a high-quality and safe child seat is well worth it. Apart from that, fines and penalty points are due in Flensburg when using a child seat that does not comply with the valid standards.