Installation Matters: Proper Car Seat Set-Up for Maximum Safety

Choosing a reputable car seat is just one part of travelling safely with children. It has been reported that 37% of children’s car seats are not fitted correctly, meaning over a third of children are at risk of injury when travelling. That is why at Kiddies Kingdom, we believe installation matters. 

If you are a parent looking for advice on installing a car seat safely, you have clicked on the right article. In this blog, we will discuss why installation matters and how you can mitigate risk through selecting the best products as well as choosing a professional installation. 

What Are The Rules for Child Car Seat Safety in the UK?

When looking for support and guidance for fitting a car seat in the UK, you are in luck as clear recommendations that are bound by law are published. ECE R129 is the EU/UK’s safety standard for car seats, highlighting some key advice for parents to follow. R129 car seat rules focus on the child’s height and specify that infants younger than 15 months must travel in rear-facing seats. In the UK, only R129 car seats are legal, which is explained more in this blog post, ‘Parents’ Guide to Car Seat Regulations’.

Another term you will commonly see when researching car seats is i-Size. As an extension of the rules contained within R129, i-Size focuses on using Isofix installation points to install car seats safely. i-Size is a legal control measure that supersedes the previous R44 rules.

How to Install a Car Seat Safely?

To install a car seat correctly, you must take the right steps to the task at hand. Before starting the fitting task, we recommend reading through the instruction manual, as each supplier will have a specific method to fit correctly. Furthermore, if additional support is needed, visiting the manufacturer’s website or seeking professional assistance is a good idea.

In the UK, i-Size bases and Isofix fittings must be used, so you must ensure that the vehicle in question is suitable for these fixings. If not, achieving a safe car seat installation will be impossible. 

To find out how to fit a car seat correctly, click the link to access our complete guide.

Where Should a Car Seat Be Installed in the Car for Maximum Safety?

Another consideration for optimising safety with a quality installation is where the car seat needs to be fitted. Rear-facing car seats must always be fitted in the back, ideally in the middle where the car allows. This accounts for safety by ensuring the child has a protected posture, is not exposed to our airbags if deployed and ensures they are central in the car, which is the safest place should an accident occur. 

Once the child is older than 15 months, a forward-facing seat can be used, but this must still be positioned in the back of the car. At this age, all seats in the rear can be used, but be sure to check the placement of airbags. Some cars had side deploying options, so if this is the case, using the middle rear seat may still be ideal. If not, just ensure the child is correctly fastened with the appropriate padding and support, depending on their age. 

A car seat should never be fitted in the front of the car. This is because children younger than 12 years or less than 135cm tall must not travel in the front. The reasons for which are all safely related.

9 Months - 4 Years

9 Months - 6 Years

4 Years - 6 Years

Car Seat Checks To Make That Ensure Safety

To set a car seat up with maximum safety ensured, you should run through the following list of tips. Paying close attention to detail in this list makes the chance of achieving a quality installation more attainable.  

Check that the visual indicators on the car seat are aligned. 

i-Size seats will include visual measures highlighting when a seat has been correctly installed. When the seat is correctly aligned, all indicators will show as green. Furthermore, if more work is needed to position correctly, it will be obvious where the error lies. The best way to use this to enhance safety is to check the supplier instructions. 

Ensure that the seatbelt and harnesses are not twisted. 

Although a car seat is essential for travel safety, that doesn’t mitigate the importance of harnesses and seat belts being in the correct position. A correctly installed seat will likely rely on a seat belt to guarantee a secure installation. Be sure to test if the belt is tight enough. A twisted seat belt could mean the seat is not being held tightly enough, leading to the child’s chance to move around as travel commences.

Check the position of the shoulder pads and headrest.

Once a car seat is positioned correctly, the shoulder pads and headrest will further enhance the child’s protection. To ensure everything is in the right place, firstly, you must check that once the child is seated, the shoulder pads are level with their shoulders. If they are not aligned, the harness is not in the right place, which could lead to injury should an accident happen. 

The base of the car seat should also be checked, as it must be flat against the seat. If the pads and headset are misaligned, it could be a sign that an installation error has occurred. 

Make sure the end of the seatbelt is not bent.

If the metal end of the seat belt stretches around the car seat, it could cause the system to fail in case of an accident. Often an issue in older cars, it should be ensured that during installation, the base of the car seat is not pressing anywhere on the buckle section of the seatbelt. 

Where Can I Find Support for Installing a Car Seat?

Installing car seats correctly ensures the child is protected as much as possible when travelling in a vehicle. Car seats are excellent safety measures, but only when they are free from errors. We know it can be daunting installing a car seat, which is why we offer an installation support service via our showrooms. Open 7 days a week and also available for virtual sessions, we have a team of product experts on hand ready to support you with the correct installation of a car seat. Although looking online and reading instruction manuals is a great wait for assistance, the most effective way to guarantee safety is to experience a safe installation first-hand. 

As well as showing you how the car seat can be installed, our experts also offer advice on other travel protective measures, such as which car seat accessories to choose and what additional products can be used alongside a travel system to improve usability (such as the best pushchair). Other benefits of booking an appointment with us to learn about car seat safety are as follows:

  • Our experts can ensure the car seat you are planning to buy or have already purchased is compatible with the vehicles it needs to be used for. 
  • An approved expert can instantly answer any questions during the installation process to eliminate any worries or concerns.
  • We sell various car seats at Kiddies Kingdom, meaning our product knowledge is at the next level. This is not a benefit that all installation teams have, as some people will only specialise in certain branded items. 
  • You can also use the appointment to quiz our experts about your other child-related travel queries.

To book a 30 or 60-minute appointment in person or virtually, click this link. You can also contact our team if you have any quick-fire product questions that don’t require an appointment. Installation matters, and by setting your child’s car seat up correctly and knowing the coming errors to look for, you can have peace of mind in knowing you can travel risk-free.

Why Choose Kiddies Kingdom?

At Kiddies Kingdom, we specialise in supplying quality products for children. From car seats to toys and gifts, our website features curated collections designed to take the guessing work away from buying the best products. 

When choosing a car seat, we understand the significance of the purchase. As well as wanting to guarantee safety, it’s also important to ensure budget needs are met as, let’s face it, children are expensive! By only supplying quality accessories, we have made it our aim to ensure that parents have a place to shop that has already done the groundwork for them. 

Our car seats include safety advice and clear specifications and are supported by an expert team who can answer any questions. Once armed with the knowledge in this article and our extensive collection of car seats, selecting your perfect model is a breeze. 

Do you still have a query? Contact our team today.

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