Monday 9 September 2013

Beyond Group 1 - What Next?

Beyond Group 1, What Next?  Mark Bennett, Car Seat Safety Expert from BRITAX explains that as children move to a Group 2/3 stage car seat, safety whilst travelling should remain a key priority.

With many children starting school this week or next, parents up and down the country are bracing themselves for the years of school runs ahead.  Whilst a new uniform, new shoes and school bag may seem like your child’s number one priority, you need to ensure that little ones get to school safely and on time. 

It may feel that only yesterday you were buying your first car seat for your newborn and then just when you were getting to grips with Group 1, the next stage car seat will sneak up on you, around about the time they will be finishing pre-school.  Whilst your little one may appear to be a strong big boy or girl as they reach the age of four, keeping them safe whilst travelling is still top priority. 

Mark Bennett explains, ‘As your child moves into a new phase of their life with school, it is a good time to do a ‘health check’ on your travel safety.  Many parents are still unaware that it is required by law for children to travel in a car seat until they are 135cm tall or 12 years old – whichever comes first - so the final Group 2-3 stage car seats will see your child from the age of four all the way until they are 12 years of age.

At the age of four or 15 kg, children are old enough to move to an adult seat belt but this doesn’t mean they don’t need protection.  Many parents believe children will be safe on a booster cushion, a small platform that lifts them up on the seat, however these are not safe as they do not have the all important side impact protection of deep side wings and a protective headrest.’

In fact, car seat safety technology for children aged 4 years plus has advanced so much that a new era of car seat travel for stage 2-3 has been born with BRITAX setting new safety standards in the industry.  The arrival of the new KIDFIX XP SICT features the latest technology for keeping your child safer than ever.  The new seat features an innovative XP-PAD, a cushioned seat belt pad, which works in the event of a collision by taking the energy of crash forces away from the child’s chest area and supports their neck as the chin hits the compressed cushion, should the child’s head jolts forward.  This reduces high neck loads by up to 30% in comparison to a normal 3-point seat belt.
Side impact protection is a key priority for BRITAX as side impact collisions are one of the most frequent and dangerous types of collisions on the roads*.   BRITAX has developed energy management cushions known as Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT) which offers superior side impact protection.  The new flexible SICT cushion is on both sides of the KIDFIX XP SICT, but only needs to be activated on the side closest to the door, ensuring space and comfort on the side of the seat for additional passengers.  These ground breaking cushions work to absorb the forces of a side collision before they reach your child, making these seats the safest Group 2-3 seat currently offered by BRITAX.

To find out more about the new KIDFIX XP SICT, visit

Mark Bennett has compiled some FAQ’s to help parents understand the final Group 2-3 car seat stage.

Q.  What is a booster cushion?  If they are sold why are they not safe?
A.  At BRITAX, we’re always striving to ensure that we offer the maximum protection for your children as they develop.  With recent research showing that side collisions are one of the most frequent and fatal types of crashes on the roads*, BRITAX decided to stop selling booster cushions.  Booster cushions are better than no car seat, however they offer no side impact protection.  BRITAX recommend a BRITAX ‘highback’ booster, which offers deep protective side wings and head support.  These work to absorb crash forces in the event of a collision whilst protecting the child’s head.

The reason they are still sold is because EU safety standards don’t currently test for side collisions, but here at BRITAX, we do to ensure children are protected from every angle of impact. 

Q.  How do I know when my little one is ready to move to Group 2-3?
A. You should move your little one from a Group 1 to a Group 2-3 seat when they reach the weight limit of 18kg, or if their eye-line is higher than the seat’s highest point – whichever comes first.  This is usually at the age of four years. Alternatively, you can extend the time your child can enjoy the safety of a five point harness to 25kg by using the new BRITAX XTENSAFIX.

Q.  Can I buy an XP-PAD to add to my old Group 2-3 seat?
A. No.  The XP-PAD is integrated into the KIDFIX XP SICT.

Q.   What actually is the current law when it comes to car seat safety for 4 + year olds?
It is required by law for children to travel in a car seat until they are 135cm tall or approximately 12 years old whichever comes first.

Q. How do you fit a Group 2-3 car seat?
A Group 2-3 car seat can be fitted by ISOFIT, where the child safety seat is attached to the vehicle body with connectors in the same way as ISOFIX.  It is classified as ISOFIT rather than ISOFIX as the child is secured by means of the adult 3-point seatbelt. ISOFIX is a term used in Group 0+/1 where the child is secured by means of a five point harness, and the car seat is fitted to the ISOFIX connections points.

Q. How do I know which is the best Group 2-3 seat for my family?
Every family is unique and has different considerations and practicalities to consider when choosing a seat.  To help simplify the process, BRITAX has created a unique online tool that assists a parent to identify the right seat for their child and their car.  For each seat, Fit FinderTM will also inform the users what seat positions are approved in the vehicle and the appropriate fitting method.  You can view the latest Fit FinderTM here

* Casimir “Child Car Passenger Fatalities – European Figures and In-Depth Study”; Alan Kirk; Loughborough University, UK; Conference:  Protection of children in cars, Munich, 2011

Disclaimer: I am sharing this as a Britax Mumbassadar and because I think it answers a lot of questions that I have asked. I have not been paid or compensated for this post.

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