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FAQ's on Car Seats

FAQ's on Car Seats

Posted by Eurobaby on 1st Feb 2024

Choosing a car seat for your new baby or child can be difficult. Everyone wants to make sure their child is as safe as possible while travelling. With changing regulations and evolving car seats it can be confusing to pick the right one for you. so we have answered some of our most common questions.

Q: What is the car seat law in Ireland?

A: The car seat law within Ireland states that the driver of the car has a legal responsibility to ensure all passengers under the age of 17 are wearing their seat belt or suitably restrained. By law, all children under 150cm in height and 36kgs in weight must use a car seat that is suitable for their weight and height. It is essential that you always choose the right child seat, fit it, and make sure it remains securely fitted. If you are unsure about the fitting of, the car seat, you can pop into our Eurobaby store and ask the experts to help fit it, we are more than happy to help and give you that extra piece of mind.

Q: What is the most recent car seat safety standard?

A: In Europe, the standard you must look for within a car seat is R129 also known as i-Size. R129 was introduced into the world of car seats in 2013, ensuring travel for your child was even safer than before. It is now considered the safest standard with improved head and neck protection. It is clear to say, parents are more aware of their child’s height rather than weight which makes choosing an R129 car seat easier. 

Q: What is an ISOFIX base and why is it recommended?

A: ISOFIX is known worldwide, as it is the standardised car seat fitting system. The anchor points (two metal clips) can be found between the back and the base of your back seats. The ISOFIX fitting points allow your base or car seat to automatically lock onto them making sure they are secure and fitted in place. It is always recommended to use an ISOFIX base or car seat, as it lowers the risk of installing it incorrectly. There are indicators on the ISOFIX base with guides you and will indicate a correct installation. Using an ISOFIX base with your infant carriers offers a click and go service. It allows you to fit the car seat onto the base with a simple click and then you are ready to go. Also, some ISOFIX bases will take the brands next stage car seat which is always a bonus. 

Q: What checks would you recommend before every trip?

A: When it comes to taking your baby out in their car seat, we would always recommend

  • Removing thick coats before strapping the baby into their seat so the harness it fitted to their body instead of to the bulky coat.
  • Make sure the child’s harness is straight with no twists and tightly fastened (1 finger max between the chest buckle and the child’s body.
  • When adjusting the harness, always pull the two shoulder straps together this prevents no twist.
  • Make sure if using ISOFIX everything in lit green and correctly fitted. 

Q: How long should my child travel rear-facing?

A: This is one of our most asked questions when it comes to car seats. i-Size (R129) car seats meet the highest-level safety standards. By law, if you are using an i-Size car seat your child must travel rearward facing until they are 15months. When travelling rear-facing, the car seat spreads the force across the whole back protecting their head and neck. As we say, it does not matter if their legs and arms are hanging over the car seat once their head and neck is protected that is the main priority. Although it is law to have your child rear-facing until 15months, many car seat experts advise for rearward-facing until around 4years. The longer you keep little one rear-facing the better and safer it is. It is the safest option for children to travel rearward facing until their muscles and bones have developed properly.

Q: How long can my baby stay in their car seat?

A: There is no published evidence which states how long babies should be kept in their car seat. However, infant healthcare professional, safety experts and most car manufacturers recommend that babies should not be in a car seat for longer than 2 hours at a time. Although brands such as Cybex and Maxi Cosi now have car seats that have an ergonomically lie-flat feature, it is still recommend if travelling for a long distance to take regular breaks and let them stretch outside of their seat. To be very honest, you won’t get very long out of a new born without them wanting feeding or some attention.

Q: How do I know when it’s the right time to move to next stage car seat from the infant carrier?

A: Remember the height and weight recommendations are a guideline as it all depends on each individual baby. Most infant carriers will take a child from birth – 13kg, but you may need to switch even if your child has not reached the maximum weight. To make sure you follow all the safety instructions, we recommend moving up to the next stage car seat when the top of your baby’s head comes over the back of the seat. A top tip that will give you peace of mind and ensure you are doing it correctly, we recommend putting your hand on the top of the back-seat, does the top of their head touch your hand? It is time to move up to a new car seat! 

Q: Can I try my car seat before I buy it?

A: Yes, of course you can! This is something we always recommend. You can come in and take a look at the wide range of car seats we stock and test them out. You can quite literally get the feel of the seat and also, test it in your car. Purchasing your car seat and ISOFIX base is an expensive purchase, so we want to make sure you choose the right one for you and to ensure it is compatible with you car. 

Q: Can I buy a second-hand car seat?

A: It is never recommended to purchase or use a second-hand car seat as there are certain things you must look out for and know about the seat. You must ask how old the seat is as legislations may have changed in the meantime. Most of the time, car seat manufacturers recommend use of car seats for no more than five years due to wear and tear and possible weakened parts. If the seat has ever been in a crash, it must have been inspected thoroughly as damaged parts may not be visible.

Q; Do I need to replace my child seat after a crash?

A: Yes, after a crash we always recommend replacing the car seat. Damage or weakened points may not be visible and the child car seat may not perform as well as it should in a collision. 

Q: There is a passenger airbag in front of my car, can I put a rearward-facing baby seat in the front passenger seat?

A: Although there is no law against children sitting in the front seat if they are using the correct car seat for their height and weight. However, it is illegal and dangerous to put a rearward-facing baby seat in the front if there is an active airbag fitted on the passenger side. If there was a collision, with the back of the baby seat being rather close to the dashboard and the airbag deployed in the crash, it would hit the car seat with great force and cause serious injuries to your child. Airbags are designed for adults, even if the child is sitting in the correct child seat, the position of them does not resemble a position of an adult. It is always recommended to check with your car manufacturer and follow their advice as well as consulting your insurance company to make sure your insurance policy covers you to have children in the front of your vehicle.