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Child Seat Safety

When travelling with children, you have enough things to worry about without your child’s safety being one of them. Take a read of our small, handy guide to fitting and choosing the correct child seat for your hire car.

(From Which? Best Buy Guide to choosing the right seat) Child car seats are designed to protect children’s soft bones and vulnerable internal organs at each stage of development, from birth to the age of 12. Babies need different levels of protection to toddlers and older children, so you need to make sure you’re getting a car seat that is suitable specifically for newborns and younger babies.

Keeping babies safe in car crashes

To reduce the risk of injuries to your baby in the event of a crash, you need to:

  • Make sure that your baby’s head doesn’t move around, causing the neck to stretch
  • Stop the head banging into other surfaces
  • Surround your baby with a protective shell to prevent them being hit by bits of car or debris
  • Distribute the pressure from the child restraint as widely as possible over the strongest parts of the body: in an infant, the strongest part of the body is the back. The best way to achieve this is by keeping babies and younger children in a rear-facing infant carrier or child car seat for as long as possible.

Almost half (48%) of 1,476 parents we surveyed in 2015 thought that front-facing car seats would offer the same protection, but this is not the case. In a frontal impact (the most common type of crash) a rear-facing seat pulls the child into it, supporting the head and back and limiting the movement of the head on the neck.

We recommend that you leave your baby in a rear-facing child car seat until they are least 15 months old, or the first of these events occurs:

  • They reach the weight limit of that seat (13kg for Group 0+, 18kg for Group 1)
  • The crown of their head is level with the top of the car seat.

 

Easirent offers both types of seat, infant, toddler and booster seats all at the fixed cost of £5 per day added onto your hire (when booked online – prices may vary at the desk). Due to health and safety regulations our staff are not permitted to fit your child’s car seat for you but can advise on how to fit it to the particular model of car you are given.

Always remember to check your seat each trip to make sure it’s installed firmly and is adjusted to suit the height of your child.

Fitting your child’s car seat safely

If you have trouble fitting your car seat, you’re not alone. In our 2015 survey of more than 1,400 UK parents, we asked what were the most common issues they’d had when fitting or using their car seat. By far the biggest issue was a twisted seatbelt.  All of these issues can easily be identified and corrected with regular checks of your car seat. Read here to find out how to spot common issues and the danger your child could face.

 

Remember to check these essentials:

Seat belt Check it’s long enough to secure the child car seat, and make sure you can feed the seat belt through the slits in the child car seat without obstructions. It should be easy to adjust and secure the car seat’s harness and should leave enough space for your child to stretch their legs.

Movement If fitted properly, your car seat should have minimal forward or sideways movement. When you open the buckle of the adult belt, the car seat should spring upward slightly.

Buckle crunch Only the seat belt webbing should touch the child car seat’s frame, not the buckle. Otherwise pressure on the buckle could make it fail, meaning your child won’t be securely restrained in an emergency situation. Check the child car seat’s fitting booklet for more information.

Airbags Disable the airbag before fitting a rear-facing seat. If the airbag goes off, the force can be fatal for a baby.

Car seat accessories Don’t place anything beneath the child car seat to protect your car seats (a blanket, for example).

 

If you know in advance what seat you will be needing, you can book your child seat by calling our helpful, friendly Reservations team on 0800 075 80 75. If you’d prefer to wait until you see the seats and wish to test them out for size simply ask in branch when collecting your vehicle.

For the full legal terms on car hire and baby seats please click here.