Child safety seats are a grey area for many parents and while you want to keep your child as safe as possible while riding in the car, it can be hard to understand the rules and recommendations regarding child seats. Thankfully, we’re here to spell it out in black and white. So, without further ado here are the dos and don’ts of child safety seats.


The law and child safety seats

To abide by the law, your child must use a child car seat up to the age of 12 or 1.35 metres tall. Children over this age and height must then use a seatbelt. The child seat you use must also be tested to European safety standards. You will know your seat adheres to these standards by the sticker on the seat which will specifically cite regulation 129 or regulation 44. These regulations are sometimes abbreviated to i-Size or R44 respectively.


Never buy second-hand child safety seats

It seems a shame to distrust preowned child safety seats, both for the cost savings and the ethics of reusing expensive goods. However, it’s recommended that unless the child seat is vouched for by a friend or family member, it’s best not to use a second hand seat. This is because child safety seats are specialised safety items that can only be used once in the event of a crash. If you can’t guarantee the history of the seat, then do not buy it.


Use an appropriate model for your child’s weight and size

Check your child’s measurements before you shop for a child seat. It may sound obvious but many parents accidentally buy a seat that is not intended for their child’s age range. If your child is sitting in the wrong size of chair this compromises their safety.


Use an ISOFIX attachment system

It’s been a long road to the design of safe, affordable child seats that we enjoy today. Back in 1997, to make life easier on parents who were afraid they weren’t fitting seats properly, a new retention system called ISOFIX was introduced. The ISOFIX system allows you to fit a child car seat without using the seatbelt which makes it quicker and easier to fit correctly. However, check with the manufacturer of your car and seat to ensure you are able to safely use ISOFIX car seats.


Child car seats and your MOT

If you take your car for an MOT and there is a child seat strapped in place using either the seat belt or ISOFIX, the tester is not allowed to remove the child seat. This will not fail your car’s MOT but will be noted as an advisory because the seat belt cannot be tested legally. This is standard practice and is not something to worry about. However, we recommend that you remove your child seat before an MOT test if you want to avoid an advisory notice.


Book your next MOT at one of thirteen branches of Universal Tyres spread throughout London, Essex and the South East. We’re the number one independent, family-owned mechanics located this side of England and are proud to have served our area for over 90 years. Our branches are open six days a week and are kitted out to undertake any repair or maintenance service on any make or model of vehicle. Contact us today for more information or to talk to a friendly member of staff.