Tuesday 11 March 2014

Extra Gadgets and Accessories to Protect Car Child Passengers

Car seats and boosters are now mandatory for children up to the age of 12 or until they reach 135 cm in height. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure children use the appropriate restraint until they are 14 – all part of being a car owner, along with obtaining learner driver insurance that’s cheap and taking the car for its annual MOT. Most people use car seats without any problem. But did you know that there are many other gadgets and accessories you can use alongside them to improve safety and the child’s travelling experience? 

Isofix is the system used for child car seats, designed to standardise the way car seats are manufactured and installed. Seats and carriers are placed in mounting points in the car, which works well if both car and carrier have the appropriate Isofix points. Otherwise, seat belts need to be used to attach the car seat, which can be problematic and is not so secure. This problem has been addressed with the manufacture of car seat bases which come with a range of adjustments to suit different vehicles and types of carrier. Using a base means that the car seat is able to attach securely to the vehicle without relying on the seatbelt to hold it in place. This is both a far more convenient method and means the seat is more likely to be fitted correctly - even the highest quality car seats can fail to provide good protection unless they are fitted well. 

Like bases, levellers are designed to ensure the car seat fits securely. The problem arises when carriers tilt backwards, leaving the child sitting at the wrong angle from a safety perspective. Levellers provide firm, solid support to correct the angle of seats so they don’t tilt and make sure the child is seated at the right angle. They are preferable to the use of rolled up towels or clothes to tilt car seats, which is somewhat common but can be unsafe if they flatten. A range of adaptors are also available from suppliers to help parents use their car seats as securely as possible. 

All parents want to keep their child in view when they’re travelling and it can be tempting to look back to see how they’re doing. Obviously, this isn’t always safe or desirable, so manufacturers have come up with safe view mirrors for use with front facing seats which allow the child’s face to be kept in view. They have wide angles and can be rotated and extended as required, and they fit to the rear view mirror with a simple adhesive. 

Other accessories address the child’s comfort, with a variety of support pillows, snuggles, footmuffs, blankets and sleeping bags specifically designed to fit car seats. Padded strap covers can relieve discomfort caused by straps and seatbelts and prevent kids trying to loosen them, while head rests and cradlers support the head in a comfortable position. Car seat raincovers are handy, not for use in the car but for transporting children from the car to home without disturbing them. The sun can be more of a concern than the rain, however, and sun shades for in-car use are available to block the heat and rays of the sun. 

Toys can be useful to distract children from playing around with their seats and buckles, so bring along their favourite games, puzzles, dolls and home comforts. Handy storage containers can clip and fix on to car seats or the back of seats for convenience and to stop the car becoming cluttered. 

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