We don’t have any specific laws in Ireland dictating the safest child seat positions in the car, probably because it depends on the make and model of both the car and the child seat. That said, preferably not in the front seat and if you really have to, remember to switch off the AIRBAG if it’s a rearward facing seat. Otherwise you can position a child seat anywhere in the back… BUT depending on the car there are a few things to consider before installing the seat. Here are some guidelines.
- If the seat has a ‘leg’ on it down to the floor, such as the Britax Max Fix or the Maxi Cosi Easyfix Base, make sure the leg rests on the floor of the car; not on a matt and not on an underfoot storage cabin, which some cars have. Always remove the matts, and if there is a storage cabin, consider a different position. In an accident the leg would easily break through the storage cabin lid and dislodge the seat.
- Some cars also have a handbrake bank running through the centre of the middle back seat – you know where, if you sit in the back, you have to sit with your feet on either side of the bank… well you can’t position any car seat that has an isofix leg or any support leg here either.
- If you are hiring a seven seater, for your sanity install Group 1 seats in the very back and at least one highback boosters beside a window in the middle… you will need access to the back seats and it’s much easier to take a highback booster seat in and out, than it is to try and un-install / re-install any other seat.
- If you want to be able to reach your children, especially the youngest, put the seat on the opposite side to the driver as it’s easier to reach diagonally across from the front, rather than behind you.
- We get asked all the time which family cars take 3 child seats across the back, so before I forget again I’m writing them down! A lot of cars have bench type back seats, as in one long seat with three seat belts… they won’t, in our experience, fit three child seats, as really it’s only two and a half seats wide. Any cars that have ‘individual’ seats means you can install three child seats. Such as:
- Citroen C4 Grand Picasso
- Volkswagen Sharan
- Ford C Max
- Peugeot 5008
I’ll try and keep adding to that list…there is a renault as well, but I can’t remember which one! If any of you out there know of any, please feel free to jump into the conversation and share:)
And one last thing – I remember a customer saying that in Australia, if there is only one child seat in the car, then there is a preference as to which side… please someone get in touch and let us know which side and why!