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Why is it important to securely install your child's car seat?

Why is it important to securely install your child's car seat?

When installing a car seat, it's common to wonder if it is installed correctly. One of the main jobs a car seat has to do is reduce the movement of a child in a crash.

Why is it important to securely install your child's car seat?

This is important because, this will mean less (or no) injuries to your child in the event of an accident.

What we want from a car seat, is for it to stop the child from moving is quickly and as safely as possible.

What happens if a car seat is loose during an accident?

If the seat itself has a lot of uncontrolled movement, put simply, this means that your child is moving more than needed as well. The sudden and fast movements in an accident - particularly one where speed is involved - means your child is moving more than they need to.

A car seat should slow or reduce the impact of speed on your child in an accident. This prevents or reduces injury.

How do you know if your child's car seat is installed tightly enough?

There’s a simple test to do to be sure a child restraint is secure. Hold it beside its belt path (the point where it’s connected to the vehicle) and pull it side to side. Does it move more than 2.5cm? If the answer is yes, it’s not securely installed.

It is also important to check your car seat’s instruction manual to find out how much movement is allowed with your particular seat. There are various ways that manuals will refer to this movement, such as: “less than 2.5cm” “firm against the vehicle seat” “not too much movement” Using the “2.5cm rule” gives you a simple, precise measurement to use.

This is not a lot of movement so, don’t be surprised if you find your car seat is not secure enough. 

Over 80% of car seats in New Zealand are not installed securely.

It’s not uncommon to have trouble getting a car seat secure. Your instruction manual should guide you as to how to install your child restraint securely but if this is not clear and you need help doing so, make contact with your local child restraint technician who can offer knowledge, support and expertise. 

Here at Baby Box, we have child restraint technicians available to help our locals. The NZTA website will list other child restraint technicians working around the country.



  • Article based on material from SitTight Child Restraints
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