Car seat with booster
A car seat is a child restraint designed to keep a child safe while traveling in a car. Only special devices can provide a sufficient level of comfort and protect children during a car accident.
Group 2-3 child car seats are designed for babies weighing between 15 and 36 kg. These are universal products that combine group 2 (weight from 15 to 25 kg) and 3 (22-36 kg).
Manufacturers do not equip car seats for group 2-3 with seat belts inside, so children are fixed in them with a car tape. The main task of the chair in this group is to hold the baby until the moment when the regular belt works.
The weight and height of the baby are equally important when choosing. The height of the backrest imposes restrictions on the possible growth of the child, and the weight determines how effectively the belt will work.
To pass the tape through the body of the baby at the right points, the height of the latter must be at least 95-100 cm. With this growth, the belts pass at the right points.
Group 2-3 car seats consist of a seat, a high backrest and a headrest (separate or built into the backrest). Some models are disassembled into a back and base – this is convenient for transportation or for using the base separately as a booster.
The booster is a portable seat with armrests that lifts the baby so that the belts are properly positioned on the body.
How to choose a booster car seat
When choosing a child car seat, safety is paramount.
Models that have been crash-tested by independent laboratories and received high marks are called safe, and not just certified, which often evaluates only the hygienic qualities of the model.
As a minimum, the car seat must comply with ECE R44/04 from the European Safety Standard. It means that the model has successfully passed the full test cycle. Passing the tests is marked with the corresponding ECE badge on the seat.
When carrying out crash tests of restraints, the safety of the passenger in a collision (frontal and side impact), comfort of use, ergonomics, content of harmful substances and ease of upholstery care are evaluated.
To assess safety, a dummy with sensors is placed in the test restraint that matches the baby of this age group in terms of average weight and height.
On a special stand, an accident is simulated and the damage received by the dummy is assessed. The strength of the attachment, the adjustment of the fasteners, the stability of the seat and the function of the head restraint are checked.
A “good” mark for safety is considered sufficient. Maximum “very good” chairs are rarely received.
Group 2-3 child seats are equipped with additional side impact protection. They are made in the form of protruding elements or pillows on the sides, and are designed to dampen the impact on the seat from the car door, taking it over.
But with such elements, the product becomes voluminous and takes up more space in the cabin.
The cost of a car seat is an important parameter when choosing, however, in this group of goods it is incorrect to consider “expensive = good”. A good car seat from 15 to 36 kg is not necessarily expensive, because. its design is much simpler than in the younger age groups.
In addition to the level of safety, when choosing a car seat with a booster, the following parameters should be considered:
- fastening method;
- backrest level;
- the ability to disassemble the product;
- way to support the head;
- internal and external dimensions;
- ease of upholstery care;
- armchair design.
According to the method of fastening category 2-3 car seats are divided into models with the Isofix buckle system (and similar) and fastening with a standard seat belt. Car seats equipped Isofix system (or Latch) provide more security.
This system provides for a rigid three-point fastening of the child seat – on two hooks that are located between the back and the car seat. They slide out and snap onto the appropriate brackets at the base of the car seat.
There is a third attachment point, the anchor is a long strap from the head of the child restraint that is attached to a hook in the trunk of the car.
In group 2-3, the isofix rigidly holds the model and allows it to move forward, for displacement upon impact until the standard belts actuate. With the Isofix system, the car seat is stable in the car and does not move when driving.
But in order to attach a car seat with isofix, the car must be equipped with the appropriate brackets. In the absence of such brackets in the basic configuration, you can install them additionally.
When fastening with standard seat belts they are passed through the guides in the car seat.
The belts must pass strictly through the guides (they are marked with bright red stickers with arrows that show the direction of the belt tape) and not twist at the same time.
The regular tape, when properly positioned, runs along the shoulder and hips, without going over the neck and stomach.
Baby car seats are different backrest level. The back of products of group 2-3 is either not fixed rigidly with the base and easily accepts the tilt of the car seat, but does not unfold into sleeping positions.
A slope of 5-10 degrees is considered safe; at a larger angle, the baby can slip out from under the tape. Or the car seat is equipped with a special inclined bowl, which helps to rotate the seat in a horizontal position by pressing a special key.
Head support in group 2-3 child restraints is performed using a special head restraintwhich is adjustable in height.
The more positions in the adjustment range, the more precisely it can be adjusted to the height of a particular child and the better the head is protected.
In some models of car seats, the headrest is fixed in 4-5 positions, in others – in 10-12. The headrest better supports the head of a sleeping baby due to the protruding side parts.
In other models, head support is implemented in the form of a one-piece back, which is not adjustable in height. They need to carefully evaluate the height of the back so that it reliably covers the child up to the age of 12 years.
For those kids who grow faster than their peers, this version of the car seat is not suitable.
To assess the level of comfort it is determined how comfortable it is for the baby to sit when traveling, the width and height of the seat are assessed – is it enough for children of the maximum allowable weight and height.
Some models of child seats are adjustable in width, which makes it possible to choose the size of the car seat for babies of different builds, change the size in winter, when wearing warm clothes.
The width of the model at the level of the shoulders of the child for comfortable use is at least 35 cm.
Easy upholstery care – a significant parameter for this group of child seats, because they will be in operation for a period from 3-4 to 12 years. During this time, the surface will be subject to wear from friction, get dirty.
The most resistant to wear are polyester fabrics; they do not fade in the sun, do not wipe off, and dry quickly. But covers made of such fabric are less breathable; in hot weather, children sweat in them. Upholstery made of natural fabric is pleasant to the skin, but more difficult to care for.
To keep the car seat clean, choose those models where it is allowed to remove the cover and wash it in the washing machine.
Keep in mind that some manufacturers recommend only manual cleaning of the upholstery (if it is made of delicate fabrics such as velor), it is not always possible to remove the cover from the chair entirely.
The environmental friendliness of the model is determined by the content of harmful substances in the fabric coating. With their high content, the car seat can harm the health of the child. The best rating is “minimum” for this parameter.
The attractive appearance of the model is an additional advantage for children. Choose the color of the child seat to match the upholstery of the car interior or, conversely, in contrast with it.
There are car seats with prints in the form of animal skins or designed as cartoon characters.
For child car seats, additional accessories are produced that will come in handy on the road:
- The cup holder will help to place a water bottle.
- On the folding table, the children will put toys.
- The car seat back cover will protect against dirt from your feet.
- Sunblinds are mounted on the glass of the car and protect the eyes from the sun’s rays.
- A special pillow in the shape of a horseshoe will support the head of a sleeping child.
- Replaceable covers made of breathable fabric will make trips in the heat more comfortable and extend the life of the main upholstery.
After detaching the backrest, the group 2-3 car seat transforms into a booster seat. Unlike a full-fledged child car seat, it is lighter and more compact, it is easier to rearrange it or take it with you on a trip.
But the level of safety of the booster is lower than that of a car seat, due to the lack of protection on the sides and in the head area.
Boosters are made of foam, plastic and based on a metal frame. Styrofoam – cheap, light, but fragile. Plastic is stronger and light enough, not expensive. Boosters with a metal frame are heavy, but the safest.
The metal base is laid on top with a special material that absorbs shocks, everything is covered with a soft cloth on top.
According to the mounting method, the boosters are either placed on the car seat and secured with a regular belt. This is not safe enough, the baby can fly out of the chair. Or fastened with isofix, which is more reliable.
The autobooster is recommended for use by children with a height of at least 120-130 cm, with such parameters, the back rests quite reliably on the back of the car seat. The weight of the child must exceed 15 kg, which happens on average by 5 years.
The booster can be used both in the rear and in the front seat with the airbag turned off.
How to use a booster seat
Even a child restraint carefully selected according to the above parameters, if used incorrectly, may not perform the main function – protecting the child in case of a possible accident.
Mistakes made during installation and use of the chair:
- Improper car seat installation.
For normal operation, the child seat is installed in compliance with the manufacturer’s requirements – with maximum belt tension, without twisting, with accurate passage through the guides.
Failure to follow the instructions will reduce the child’s safety level.
- Operation of seats that were in use or after an accident.
In an accident, the child seat gets damaged, and slightly visible cracks will lead to major damage next time. Manufacturers recommend not using the seats even after minor accidents, and in this case, replace them with new ones.
- Incorrect fixation in the car seat.
Some parents forget to fasten the child in the seat or fix them partially for convenience, passing the belt only over the hips. This position is more comfortable for the baby, but it increases the likelihood of injury in an accident.
The manufacturer’s instructions in this section must be strictly followed and the proper belt passage must be observed.
- Changing the fabric cover.
The fabric covering of the car seat is directly involved in ensuring safety, changing the cover (removing individual parts, putting on a cover from another model, putting additional material inside) can also work negatively in an accident.
- It is undesirable to use child car seats on a car seat equipped with airbags. – front or side.
Regular airbags are not designed for children and, if triggered, will cause them additional injuries. Side airbags are especially dangerous for those Group 2-3 car seats that are not designed to protect against a close side impact.
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