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Thursday, August 25, 2011

ISOFIX has been around a while now

ISOFIX has been around a while now, so it was a surprise not to see more articles out there that talked about this incredibly important safety feature of modern vehicles (then again, I haven’t yet written my thrilling and James May-esque post about airbags). 

Car seat cushions and seatbelts are used to restrain adults in the event of a crash of sudden stop of a vehicle, yet they’re also used to anchor child restraints. The problem with this is that not all seats for children are suitable for the setup of all cars. 

ISOFIX was brought in as an ‘International Standards Organisation FIX’ – or a way in which, internationally, to solve the problem of child safety fixings within any given vehicle. Technical standards were proposed back in the nineties but have only recently been agreed on as a way forward (early this decade).
When cars are manufactured, many of them now feature ISOFIX points. These points allow for the installing of a child seat in a much more easy and simple way – as well as ensuring the secure positioning of the seat itself. 

I thought it might be useful to offer the definition from Wikipedia at this point:
“Isofix is International Organisation for Standardisation 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. The full set of anchor points for this system were required in new cars in the United States starting in September 2002.” 

Generally speaking, the anchor points of ISOFIX in the vehicle will also make it very difficult (if not impossible) for a child seat to be positioned incorrectly within the vehicle. This is also another benefit of the scheme and furthers the safety credentials of ISOFIX. 

There are a variety of ISOFIX classes, which denote what height of seat should be used along with the age of the child (toddler or young child), as well as (even) which way the seat should be facing. The biggest recommendation though is to check your vehicle handbook prior to purchasing any seat, as this will give you an indication of suitability and clear instructions on how to approach the attachment of the seat into your car.

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