Car Seat Fitting Guide
For a child car seat to fully protect your child in the event of an accident, it must be fitted properly. Take a look at this car seat fitting guide from Halfords to help you get it right.
Astonishingly, around two thirds of child seats are incorrectly fitted*, putting children at higher risk of injury should they be involved in a crash. Halfords understands that this is a big worry for parents. That's why we strive to offer you expert guidance, as well as free fitting on all our car seats.
Getting one of our professionals to install your seat and give you a fitting demo is by far the safest thing to do when buying a new car seat. This offers you peace of mind, and means you can be more confident when you come to fit the seat yourself - for some general guidance, see our tips below.
BEFORE FITTING A CAR SEAT
Before fitting a car seat, you need to check that it's right for the weight and size of your child, and that it will fit into your car. For help, see our car seats buyer's guide or call into your local Halfords.
Also remember that different models of seat will come with different fitting instructions. This article offers some general fitting advice, but you must ALWAYS refer to the manufacturer's instructions for specific guidance.
HOW TO FIT A CAR SEAT - GENERAL ADVICE
- It's safer to fit child seats in the back of the car. If you do have to place a child in the front, put the seat as far back as possible. NEVER put a rear-facing car seat in the front if an active airbag is present - if it goes off it could seriously injure your child.
- Always read the manufacturer's instructions and follow them carefully. Keep the instructions in the car so you can refer to them again if you need to.
- If you're using an adult seatbelt to secure the seat, make sure it passes through all the correct points. The child seat should rest firmly on the seat of the car, with no slack in the seatbelt, and hardly any sideways or forwards movement.
- For a child seat with an internal harness, the harness should fit snugly. On a rear-facing seat, the straps should sit on or just below your child's shoulders. On a forward-facing seat, the straps should sit slightly above the shoulders.
- The harness buckle should be positioned as low as possible across your child's pelvis. You should be able to slide no more than two fingers between the harness and their collar bone.
- When using a booster seat, always make sure the adult seat belt is properly positioned. The seat belt should sit against your child's collar bone and shoulder. It should not cut across their neck, face, or be positioned under their armpit.
- If you have an ISOFIX car seat, ensure the connection points have turned green to signal that the seat is correctly installed.
FITTING CAR SEATS INCORRECTLY - BUCKLE CRUNCH
If using an adult seatbelt to secure the child seat, check that the seat belt buckle is not in contact with the child seat frame. If it is, you could encounter a problem called 'buckle crunch'.
'Buckle crunch' happens when the seat belt buckle bends around the base of the car seat. This results in a weak connection - the buckle could break or come undone in an accident.
You must make sure the fabric part of the seat belt is supporting the seat and not the buckle. In the event of a crash, the seat belt fabric will stretch to help absorb the impact.
FREE FITTING ON ALL CAR SEATS
At Halfords we know that your child's safety is paramount. That's why when you buy a car seat from us, you'll get:
- Expert advice from over 2,000 specialists in-store
- Free in-store fitting on all child seats
- A demonstration and 16-point safety checklist to help you do the job yourself
- Fitters trained to the highest standards, accredited by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)
Reserve your car seat online and collect in-store, where you'll be given the option of free fitting. Alternatively you can order online for home delivery, then contact your local Halfords to arrange your free fit. That's helpful, that's Halfords - drive away with total peace of mind.
(*Survey by the AA and Britax, from 16,500 respondents)