Child car seats

Keeping children safe on the move

To everyone, children are the most precious cargo you ever transport on a journey. So it makes it even more surprising to learn how few of us really understand the importance of selecting and correctly installing the right child seat.

Life saving seats

A child’s body is delicate and, at this ever-growing stage, too small and fragile for standard car seatbelts. A correctly installed child seat can be a life saving measure, evenly distributing the force felt in a collision, and reducing the risk of severe injury and fatality by around 70% compared to an unrestrained child.

To put this into a harsh perspective, for an unrestrained child, an accident at 50km/h would be equivalent to falling from a 10 metre height, or from the third floor of a house.

And it’s worth remembering that the force necessary to restrain your child during an accident is tremendous, as the higher the speed the more force you will need to exert to hold on to them.

In the same accident at 50km/h, the tiny tot that’s cradled in your arms weighing 5kg would now be impossible to hold on to as they would be pulled from your arms with an equivalent weight of 100kg (that’s a baby elephant!).

Choosing the correct seat

So, where do you start when it comes to picking from the bewildering array of car seats? The most important thing to remember is that your child must be in the correct category of seat for their height and weight. These category regulations can and will change, so always be completely sure you are using the right type for your child.

As your child grows older don’t feel that you have to rush from one category to another. For their safety it’s important that they remain in their existing seat until they reach the category limits, which you can find in the child seat manual.

If the child seat category allows, you should only ever use child seats equipped with a safety harness; these ensure forces are evenly distributed across the body in an accident.

Because not all child seats are compatible with all cars, it’s really important that you get accurate information and advice. For example, if you select a seat within the universal category you must make sure you’re fitting it to a car that has a universal child restraint seating position.

If you have any doubt, refer to the child seat manual, vehicle owner’s manual or get expert advice on applicable seats for your car from your Toyota retailer.

Rear-facing child seats

As we mentioned earlier, small children are delicate commodities and their necks are particularly fragile. In the event of an accident with a rear-facing child seat installed, forces from their head will be transferred into the child seat rather than their necks.

Where the child seat allows, we would recommend your child is carried in a rear-facing seat from birth to at least 15 months of age (ideally up to four or five years old) – and if you’re looking to purchase a seat then be sure to select one that will accommodate your child rear-facing for as long as possible.

It is understandable that you will want your young child alongside you in the passenger seat while you drive, so you can keep a watchful eye and rest a comforting hand on them if they become distressed. Even so, we would strongly recommend they travel in the rear of the car at all times where your child will be at far less risk of injury.

If you can’t accommodate them in the rear and they will be travelling in the front of the car in a rear-facing child seat, it is of paramount importance that the passenger seat airbag is de-activated to avoid injury in event of the airbag deploying in an accident.

What is ISOFIX?

ISOFIX is a term you will quickly get used to seeing when you are considering a new child seat. It’s an international standard for fitting child seats by securely attaching them to mountings located at the base of the seats of your car. If you’re unsure on the exact location of the ISOFIX mountings in your Toyota, then seek assistance from your local Toyota retailer.

By using this quick and easy to follow method, you eliminate all of the fitting problems associated with installing child seats with seat belt fixings, and with the top tether or support leg, tipping and rotation of the child seat is reduced significantly.

To help keep the whole family safe whatever the journey, download our child seat guide so you don’t forget the important facts about child seats – and remember, buckle up on every trip!

This article is not intended as a replacement for the owner’s manual of your vehicle or the accessory. We advise you to carefully read through the owner’s manual. Toyota accepts no liability for the content of this article and/or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.

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