Car Seats and what is ISOFIX?..

  • by Katie Adamson-McMinn

Now there is one very critical purchase we (the other half and me) have been putting off and that is of our car seat.  Yes, yes I know we have left it late, we have a week to delivery day, or D day as my grandad refers to) but in our defence, the other half knew he would need a bigger car, sadly the Convertible has had to go.  I don’t know if you are aware but taking your new born baby for an overnight trip to say at your parents, is the equivalent of taking the Queen on a nine month commonwealth tour of the southern hemisphere! The sheer volume of stuff is unbelievable, I am sure if there ever was a mission to Mars they wouldn’t take as much stuff. So my man has now purchased an Audi estate .  We had to wait until he had chosen his car as we didn’t know if it would ISOFIX fixings or not (more on ISOFIX shortly!)

We needed a bigger car not only for the vast array of stuff, but we both had small cars, so one of had to be upgraded and it made sense to have one that would see us for a few years.

Car seats come in two basic forms simple ‘belted’ car seats and ISOFIX car seats although there is some variation with ISOFIX, so let me explain (as it was explained to me by the exceptionally knowledgeable lady that runs our local independent baby store.

ISOFIX is a worldwide standard that was made compulsory for all new cars manufactured after 2012, for fixing infant and child car seats, ( I am sure there may even be pet carriers too!) essentially it is two ‘U’ shaped pieces of metal that are welded as part of the car chassis, making them exceptionally strong anchor points.  An ISOFIX car seat has ‘arms’ that clip onto the pieces of metal locking the seat to the car frame, which I am told makes it safer in the event of a collision. Now that’s not to say belted seats are not safe, far from it, but they do need to be correctly fitted and tightened.  With ISOFIX it’s much easier to get the fitting right, as it clicks into place, and the manufacturers give you handy little green or red indicators to help you know you have done it right.  The interesting variations are that you can have a standard fixed ISOFIX seat, you can have a spin seat, where you can rotate the seat part to either face the door or face forward while you load or unload baby then spin it back to rear facing.  You can also have a seat that it fixes onto an ISOFIX base.  This is the option we prefer as we can buy one car seat but two ISOFIX bases, so the car seat can easily be swapped between cars without the need to take baby out.  We also opted for a seat that would give us maximise usage in terms of time, with a new born insert that can be removed as baby grows.  A lot of us spend a lot of time in our cars, and if I am honest it is most likely place we are putting our offspring into peril. So I have no issues with spending decent money on a decent car seat that will protect the most important person in my world should the unexpected happen.

Of course all car seats have to reach certain standards, but do you want one that just passes or one that easily passes the tests.  If you need to see evidence of what happens to our bodies, especially babies bodies in a crash, spend fifteen minutes on car seat safety testing on YouTube, it’s a real eye opener!

The other thing you may not know is babies and children must travel facing backward (the term is actually rearward), again because it is safer.  Any one that has travelled in a military aircraft will tell you that with the exception of the pilot and co-pilot who need to see where they are going, all seats face rearward for safety.. SO car seats are designed to offer our offspring the greatest chance of minimising injury and surviving a collision by facing then rearward.  As baby grows it is important that all members of the extended family that may take little one in the car follow the same rules and not get tempted into letting them face forward or you will have a problem.  Plus anyone that has tried to place an eighteen month old in a car seat when they don’t want to go, with the child stiff as a board and won’t bend in the middle. I remember going out with my cousin when she was little and my auntie had a real job trying to get her into the seat. God I’m not looking forward to the toddler stage already!

So 4 hours in the baby store again,   trying all the different options and £500 lighter for 2 bases and 1 car seat and we are sorted.....come on bump we are officially ready for you.


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