Topic pic Child Seats

“If you love your kids, buckle them up!” …it’s so easy! And use the proper child seats!

Studies show, that wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of death or serious injuries by 40-65% on the front seats, but for children, properly buckled up in child seats, this figure goes up to 80%!

There is NO excuse for not buckling up your child!

Even more so, as the UAE is introducing the ‘holistic seat belt law’ – including all back-seat passengers and children – will be effective as per 1st July 2017!

One Journey at a time

We are all responsible for the health, safety and wellbeing of our children. Creating awareness to ensure that babies and infants only travel by car when restrained in a car seat is the obvious way forward. From their first journey home from hospital and onwards as they grow its vital to ensure they are safe.

Why child seats?

An infant car seat is designed to protect your child in the event of a crash by forming a protective cocoon. New born seats are placed facing rearward so that a child will be pushed in to the seat on front-impact and the shell and inlay protect the spine and vital parts of the child. The higher sides next the the child’s head form a ‘side impact protection system’ in the event of a side collision and avoid the child’s head to move too much. The seats belts retain the child during your trip and avoid that they get out. They also strap the child into the safest position and holds it there in the event of a rear or side impact, just like the seat belts for adults.

What are the rules?

Currently there are no specific existing safety standards in the UAE yet when it comes to infant car seats and for that reason it is wise to follow the most stringent standards available, those of the EU mainland, the earlier mentioned 44-04 standard as set by the United Nations. It is discouraged to buy a second hand seat as you never know the history of the seat: It may have been in an accident or exposed to other harmful influences which can negatively influence the functionality of the seat. A non-professional is unable to determine if a second hand car seat is still safe to use as damages can be non-obvious.
The products of well know brands meet all the existing safety standards and again, we want to emphasize that parents should visit well known retailers to avail of those certified car seats and to engage with the resident experts on shop level. It’s a great service provided for free and we as parents should really take advantage of it!

EU rules: Babies, toddlers and children must use a car seat or booster cushion until they’re either 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first. The seat must be appropriate for your baby’s height and weight, and must be EU approved, as indicated by a label showing a capital E in a circle. Under the existing regulations, car seats and purchasing choice are classified by weight, so you know which seat to buy based on how heavy your baby is. However, a new EU regulation is changing this, which means that eventually all car seats will be classified by height of the infant instead.

But what about the UAE?

The UAE Traffic Law prohibits children under the age of 10 to sit in the front seat. Instead, they should be buckled up in the back. The police strongly recommend that toddlers and babies sit in child seats, which can reduce fatal injuries by more than 70% for infants and 54% for toddlers.

Sadly the statistics speak for themselves. Traffic accidents are the UAE’s Number One Infant Killer, with more than 62% of infant mortality caused by some form of accident involving a car. This is not surprising, when apparently only 2% of infants in the UAE are actually retrained in a proper car safety seat.

How to do it right:

Weight-based car seats

Your baby will need to be in a rear-facing car seat until he weighs more than 9kg. However, there’s no need to move him to a new seat as soon as he reaches this weight. In fact, it’s safest for him to stay rear-facing for as long as possible. You only need a new seat when the top of your baby’s head is level with the top of the seat, this is a big change, since before this new regulation babies were turned front facing from 9 months onwards.

When your baby reaches 15kg to 25kg, he can use a child booster seat instead of a baby seat. And once he’s over 22kg, he can use a booster cushion.

Height-based car seats

These new seats are known as i-Size seats, and can only be used in cars with Isofix points (Check your car manufacturer, if the Isofix is installed). If you choose this type of seat, your baby will need to be rear-facing until he’s over 15 months. After that, you can use any i-Size seat that’s appropriate for his height.

Whichever type you choose, never put a rear-facing seat in the front of your car if it has an active airbag. Even for forward-facing seats, check that it’s safe to use them with your car’s airbag before putting them up front.

Find out from your car’s handbook, or the manufacturer, how far the bag inflates, and make sure the car’s seat is as far back from the dashboard as possible. Only put your child in the front if you have no other choice.

Car Seat Groups

There are different categories of car seats suitable for different age ranges. Those that meet European safety regulations will have an E and 44.03/44.04 or .03/.04 on the label, meaning they meet European safety regulations. They’ll also show the group number, or weight range of child, for which it is designed. The new i-Size seats are slightly different, as explained below.

Weight ranges may vary from one manufacturer to another, but they tend to follow these guidelines:

  • Group 0 and Group 0+: rear-facing infant carriers for children up to 10kg and up to 13kg respectively (from birth to nine or 12 months).
  • Group 1: child seats for children 9kg to 18kg (about nine months to four years).
  • Group 2 and 3: Full booster seats and cushions for children from 15kg to 25kg (about three and half years to six years) and from 22kg and up to 36kg (about six years to 12 years). Many models in these groups can be modified to accommodate your child as he grows.

What’s wrong with children using adult seat belts?

If your child uses an adult seatbelt before he is tall enough, the lap part of the belt sits too high on his stomach. In a crash this could damage his internal organs. There is also a risk of him slipping under the belt.

source: JustKidding / Dutchkid FZCO

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