Summertime is holiday time! There’s nothing more relaxing than getting away for a break. Most families with small children opt to use the car to go on holiday. When going on a longer trip, an important consideration is the safety and comfort of the youngest passengers. If they’re happy, everyone in the car will be happy! Maxi-Cosi has put together a few tips to help you prepare for a road trip with a minimum of stress!
• Is my child’s car seat still safe and suitable for its age?
If your child is almost ready to move to a next stage car seat, it’s worth checking whether you can switch to a larger car seat before the holiday to provide your child with more comfort and safety.
• Children up to 1.35 m in height must use a car seat
In most countries it is mandatory for children up to a height of 1.35 metres to use an approved car seat. In a number of popular holiday countries, the maximum height is 1.50 metres, so consider this before leaving. For older children ages 3½ and up, booster seats with a fixed backrest, such as the Maxi-Cosi Rodi and FeroFix, offer the best side support and side protection. Booster seats without a fixed backrest increase the risk of injury to such a large degree that consumer and automotive touring organisations strongly advise against this type of car seat and even refuse to test this kind of seat any longer.
• Choose extra protection
Car seats that offer extra side protection are preferable, given that 25 percent of all collisions are side impact crashes. For older children (ages 3½ to 12 years, weight category of 15 to 36 kg) Maxi-Cosi recommends a car seat fitted with AirProtect®. This innovative safety technology reduces the child’s chance of head injury by no less than 20 percent!
• Offer your child the same comfort as you would want for yourself
Driving long distances does not have to be a problem for your baby. It is said that babies should not spend more than two hours a day in a car seat. Consider this to be merely a guideline to prevent excessive daily use. Your child occasionally sitting in a car seat for longer periods of time, such as during a holiday road trip, has not proven to have any negative health effects. Of course it is good for your child - and yourself – to take frequent breaks. Make sure to remove your child from the car seat when taking a break so it can move freely.
• Pay attention to the orange label
When buying a car seat, always make sure it complies with the most recent European safety requirements. This can usually be identified by the orange ECE R44/04 certification label. This label indicates that the seat meets the minimum safety requirements. If you are interested in finding out which seat offers the most safety, user-friendliness and/or comfort for your child, see the test results of consumer and automotive touring organisations.
• Bring your car when buying a car seat
When buying a car seat, always have the sales staff inform you in detail about how to install, use and care for the car seat. Bring your car to the shop when buying a car seat to make sure the seat can be properly installed. Also check whether the new seat can be installed along with any other car seats you may have in use already. It is important that the seat be installed as securely as possible and that the buckle is easily accessible.
• Check for correct installation
Studies have shown that no fewer than 70% to 80% of parents with young children install their car seat incorrectly. Check to make sure the harness on the car seat can be opened, fastened and adjusted easily before setting off. Car seats for babies (up to 13 kg in weight) must be placed in a rear-facing position. Incorrect installation usually applies to how the seat is secured in the car. The seat must be installed securely to be safe. Make sure the harness and car seat belts are tightened securely and not twisted and that the buckle is not jammed.
• Keep it cool: handy summertime accessories
Wherever your journey takes you, these accessories keep your child sitting comfortably and entertained on longer trips. A terry cloth summer cover not only keeps the original seat cover clean, but also keeps your child cool during hot summer days. Make sure to place good sun shades on the side and back windows (important for babies travelling in a rear-facing position). When your car is parked, place a hand towel or a special heat-reflecting cover over the car seat so your child does not hurt itself by any hot (metal) parts of the car seat. Entertainment is essential during longer trips, so make sure you pack a play table designed especially for the car seat, several of your child’s favourite toys and/or its favourite movies on a portable dvd player.