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Isofix car seats and its benefits

If you are soon to be parents or already blessed with a baby, you can keep ISOFIX child seat at the top of your shopping list, They are essential for keeping your little one safe whilst you are travelling, in fact in many countries, the authorities won’t even allow you to leave the hospital if you are travelling by car and don’t have ISOFIX child seat.

One of the terms you may have come across whilst you were doing your car seat research is ISOFIX. But what does it mean? We took a closer look at what this term means, how it works and why it is important.

What is ISOFIX?

Isofix (styled ISOFIX) is the international standard for attachment points for child safety seats in passenger cars. The system has other regional names including LATCH (“Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children”) in the United States and LUAS (“Lower Universal Anchorage System”) or Canfix in Canada. It has also been called the “Universal Child Safety Seat System” or UCSSS.

Isofix is the International Organization for Standardization standard ISO 13216, which specifies the anchoring system for Group 1 child safety seats. It defines standard attachment points to be manufactured into cars, enabling compliant child safety seats to be quickly and safely secured. Isofix is an alternative to securing the seat with seat belts. Seats are secured with a single attachment at the top (top tether) and two attachments at the base of each side of the seat. 

It’s worth noting that the ISOFIX standard covers Group 0+ and Group 1 chairs, which is from birth to 4 years.  While Group 2/3 (4-12 years) car seats are categorised by a system called ISOFIT.

ISOfit is another piece of jargon that pops up from time to time. What is the difference? When your car seat has an integrated restraint (harness or shield) it falls into the ISOfix category. When your child reaches 105cm approx 4 years of age your car seat may still connect to the ISOFIX points but the adult seat belt does all the work.

How does it work?

It is important to note that not all cars are compatible with ISOFIX. For you to be able to install an ISOFIX car seat you need to have the ISOFIX points built into your car. Check your car manual to see if it is compatible before buying an ISOFIX car seat. The anchor points are often hidden within the car seat itself. ISOFIX was created in reaction to statistics showing that two-thirds of car seats are fitted incorrectly. The whole premise of ISOFIX is to reduce the risk of car seats being installed incorrectly, therefore increasing the safety of your little one.

The three approved forms of ISOFIX car seats

Universal – Uses either a top tether or foot prop, in addition to the attachment points, to fix the seat to an additional anchorage point for forward-facing seats.  Universal ISOFIX car seats should fit into most newer cars.

Semi-Universal – Uses a top tether, foot prop and connectors but is not compatible with all cars. Can be used with forwarding and rearward-facing (i.e lie-flat) car seats.

Vehicle Specific – Uses only the anchor point to secure the seat. This method is vehicle specific and is only compatible with certain vehicles. Always check the suitability of the make/model of the chair on the manufacturer’s website.

What are the benefits of ISOFIX?

The main benefit of ISOFIX is it decreases the risk of fitting your car seat wrong with it’s quick and easy installation method. This helps give parents peace of mind and reduces the chances of your child being hurt in an accident due to their car seat being installed incorrectly. ISOFIX helps create a rigid connection between the car seat and the anchor points in the vehicle itself for improved protection.

What are the downsides of ISOFIX?

The main downside of ISOFIX car seats is that they aren’t compatible with every model of car. so if you have multiple cars in the family there will be problem in swapping the car seats

You can also read how to convert your non ISOFIX compliant car into ISOFIX Child Seat compatible here: How to install ISOFIX Fittings in Car

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