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Safe travelling with the correct child car seat

If children are travelling by car, they require a suitable child car seat. This is mandatory and prescribed by law. Girls and boys are only allowed to ride without a child car seat from the age of twelve or from a minimum height of 1.50 metres. What types of child car seats are there and how do they differ from each other?

Safe travelling with the correct child car seat

If children are travelling by car, they require a suitable child car seat.This is mandatory and prescribed by law. Girls and boys are only allowed to ride without a child car seat from the age of twelve or from a minimum height of 1.50 metres. What types of child car seats are there and how do they differ from each other?

The right child car seat for every developmental stage

A child car seat must always be adapted to the child, because only then it will offer sufficient support and optimum safety. Standard groups were introduced years ago as a guide and to make it easier for parents to choose the appropriate car seat for their little ones. For a long time, this was exclusively the European test standard ECE R44-04, but meanwhile the standard ECE R129 (i-Size) has also been introduced. However, sometimes these two standards can cause some confusion. In Germany, both standards are currently valid side by side. Down below, we show you how the standard groups are classified and how you can find the right child car seat.

Child car seats are divided into the following groups:

Most child car seats in Germany are still approved according to the safety standard ECE R44-04. The classification is based on the weight of the child, which means that height and age only play a subordinate role.
  • Group 0+: Suitable for newborns and babies from birth up to a maximum weight of 13.0 kg
  • Group 1: Suitable for babies and toddlers weighing 9.0 to 18.0 kg
  • Group 2: For babies and toddlers with a weight of 15.0 - 25 kg
  • Group 3: For toddlers and children with a weight of 22.0 - 36.0 kg
Group 0+ thus includes infant car seats for the very little ones. Fundamentally, these must only be used in a rear-facing mode. Some manufacturers equip their models with a special newborn insert. This insert usually has particularly soft, shock-absorbing foam pads that optimally hold and protect your baby. Technology-wise quite a bit has happened as well in recent times. Manufacturers such as Britax Römer have already developed an innovative side impact protection technology that effectively directs the forces away from your baby in the event of a side impact. Good to know: If you want to place the infant car seat on the front passenger seat, please note that this is only permitted when the front passenger airbag is switched off.

In group 1, you will find the classic child car seats which can also be installed in a forward-facing mode. Depending on your child’s requirements, they provide them with a comfortable sitting, lying and sleeping position.

As soon as your child has reached the age of four years, you can move on to a group 2 child car seat. However, manufacturers often combine groups 2 and 3, which means that the seat grows with your child from the age of four up to the age of twelve. These child car seats usually consist of a padded booster seat, stable head and shoulder protectors, a backrest and a headrest.

The following new child car seat classifications are valid as well:

With the new standard called ECE R129 (i-Size), the car seats are no longer classified according to weight, but according to body height. Also, there is no strict division into groups anymore. The manufacturers take care of the classification themselves, however, during the approval process it is checked very strictly whether the child car seat actually offers optimal protection in the specified size range.

So far, the following i-size classifications have been established on the market:

The i-size standard basically stipulates that babies up to the age of 15 months must ride in a rear-facing mode only. In addition to this, ISOFIX applies to i-Size child car seats. We'll explain what it's all about in one of the following sections. Incidentally, it can be assumed that the new ECE-R 129 (i-Size) standard will eventually replace the "old" but still valid ECE-R 44/04 standard. However, the time when this will happen is not yet clear, but there is no need to worry: There are currently no plans to ban the use of standard ECE-R 44/04 child car seats, which means that you can of course choose such a model without hesitation.

Rear-facing or forward-facing: Which mode is best for my child?

When it comes to child car seats, you will come across the term “Reboarder” again and again. What does it mean? The explanation is very simple: Reboarders or rear-facing child car seats are all those child car seats that - just like the infant car seats - are mounted against the direction of travel. In Germany, children with a weight of less than 9.0 kg are required to ride in this mode. And there is a good reason for this: Because the neck muscles of the little ones are still extremely weak, they could hardly absorb the enormous forces in a frontal impact. In the worst case, transporting them in a forward-facing mode could result in serious injuries or even a broken neck. However, if your baby is travelling in a rear-facing mode, their head, which is still quite heavy in relation to the overall size of their body, is not tilting forward, but pushed gently against the padded headrest of the seat, which absorbs the load considerably. Since Reboarder child car seats have generally proven to be extremely safe in traffic statistics, the EU has even decided that in future the obligation to ride in a rear-facing mode should apply to babies and tots up to the age of 15 months. Thus, it’s best to transport your baby in a rear-facing child car seat for as long as possible. If you ever want to change the "direction of travel", many child car seats can be mounted in the car both in a forward-facing and in a rear-facing mode! This gives you a lot of flexibility and you can adapt the car seat to your child as needed.

Installation options for child car seats in the car

There are two ways of installing the car seat securely in the vehicle: installation via the car’s own seat belt and via ISOFIX. Mounting the car seat by using the seat belt is the classic way. To do this, you have to strap the child car seat to the seat of your car by using the belt. It is very important to ensure that the belt is routed correctly. The belt position is colour-coded on many child car seats. But you should also take a look at the instructions for a step by step assembly!

Child car seats with ISOFIX are currently becoming increasingly popular. The term ISOFIX is an artificial word that consists of the abbreviations for "International Standardization Organization" and "Fixation". Here, we are dealing with a modern and very safe system for installing child car seats. It includes two specially developed metal brackets or anchoring points that you can find in the car between the backrest and the seat surface. All vehicles built from 2013 are equipped with these brackets. Sometimes the ISOFIX anchor points are a hidden: Then you may have to remove a small part of the upholstery or a cover. If in doubt, you can find appropriate information in the manual of your vehicle. With the brackets, the child car seat can then be firmly connected to the body of your car.

How do I fasten my child in the car seat?

Again, there are several different options. The classic harness is particularly widespread. It can be either a three- or a five-point harness. Both versions can be adjusted in height. You can often find the three-point harness (also known as "Y belt") in an infant seat for the little ones. It runs between the child's shoulders and is then to be fastened between their legs. In the infant car seat segment, there are also very comfortable five-point harnesses with shoulder pads. Child car seats at for toddlers usually also feature an easy-to-use and safe five-point harness. This harness is fastened above the child's belly and also runs left and right around the hips. In general, it is important for these harnesses that the straps fit your child's body as tightly as possible, because only then they offer optimal support. As a rule, you should make sure that only your flat hand fits between the baby and the belt. On cold days, you should therefore rather cover you baby with a warm blanket after fastening them, than making them ride in the car seat with their jacket on. If the harness is optimally adjusted, the kids can sit safe and secure in their seat.

Another option is the child car seat with impact shield, which is to be fastened with the belt of your car. The impact shield is then positioned in front of the child's belly. When using these systems, the forces that occur in the event of a frontal impact are lower than in systems with harnesses, since the forces acting are distributed over the entire upper body and do not only accumulate on the head and neck. In the event of a collision, the child rolls over the soft-padded impact shield, which reduces the strain to a minimum due to the cushioning effect.

If you are using a booster seat for older children, they are to be fastened by using the regular three-point seat belt of your car. The shoulder strap must run centrally over their shoulder.

Buy infant car seats and child car seats online on

At you will always find the right child car seat for your little one: from infancy up to school age. The different models do not only score with impressive quality standards and functionality suitable for everyday use but also with a high level of user friendliness. In addition to this, you have the choice between many different designs, which are characterised by great child-appropriate looks and are aimed at all age groups. Why don’t you take a look around: We also offer numerous high-quality child car seats with Isofix! If you have any questions about our infant car seats and child car seats, our experts will be happy to advise you and support you in choosing the right model for your child.

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