Is an isofix car seat install safer than a vehicle belt car seat install?

car seat installation, Car seats, isofix, product guide, safety -

Is an isofix car seat install safer than a vehicle belt car seat install?

We do get a bit geeky at times about installs of car seats. One of the hot topics these days is the topic of isofix. 

These days a lot of newer car-seats, especially European standard, come with isofix. But what is isofix and, more importantly, is it safer for your child?

What the heck is isofix?

Isofix is an international standardising fitting systems for car seats. The ISO part actually is an acronym for International Standardization Organisation. Fix is short for Fixation.

Isofix systems use specific points in the car to affix to the car-seat base. Usually there are two specific points in the seat which are the isofix points that the seat attaches to.

Can you double the safety, by using isofix and a seat belt to install?

If you install a car seat with an isofix, then you will not usually use the vehicle's seat belt for the install too. While it may be tempting to do both, it's usually recommended that you don't because the seats are not tested with both in use and the manufacturers cannot guarantee you won't compromise safety.

Some seats will offer the option between a seat belt install or an isofix (or latch) install. These can be useful because you get to choose and can opt for the install method that keeps your seat more stable. 

That said there is an exception to this general rule: the Rodifix Booster seat. This uses isofix to stablise the seat itself, whilst the vehicle belt secures your child and their seat, for added security.

Is isofix safer than a seat belt?

Overall a properly installed car seat using isofix is not necessarily safer than a properly installed car seat using a vehicle belt (and vice versa).

However, the true benefit to the isofix, over the vehicle belt install, is that it's really really easy to install the isofix correctly while sometimes it's hard to get a vehicle belt install tight enough. Obviously a correctly installed car seat is safer 100% of the time than an incorrectly installed one.

To increase safety with either install, it's important to also use an anti-rotation tether or support leg if you have one on your car seat. These basically stabilise the chair and keep it from shifting. This decreases the movement of your child in the event of a sudden stop or crash, and therefore minimises the risk of injury.

What would we recommend: isofix or seatbelt?

That feels like a million dollar question! The answer is very boring though: whatever works for your Child, your Vehicle, and your Lifestyle.

Isofix is great if you find it difficult to install your car seat firmly into your vehicle using the vehicle belt, or if it's being used to provide added stablisation to a booster.  It's also nice having a car seat that has all i-size European safety features (which would include isofix and extended rear-facing).

A seat belt install is often better for Japanese imports which don't necessarily have isofix, or for heavier children. Similarly, if you are likely to move the seat from car to car, and share pick ups with people in different vehicles that do not contain isofix, then your best bet may be to opt for a vehicle belt install.

Have you got questions?

I hope this brief article helps you understand isofix a bit better. If you have any general questions please pop them in the comments below as we're sure other parents will have similar ones.

Otherwise, if you have any questions about isofix, or whether isofix is installed in your car, please come in and chat to our Child Restraint Technicians in store. Or email carseats@babybox.co.nz - we're always happy to help.


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