Car Seat


All car seats are different and have different allowable weight and height ranges, as well as restrictions on the orientation in which you can go in the vehicle (forward or backward). This is why the weights indicated by CONASET in the informational image refer to what the market has to offer and not necessarily the rule in all cases. For example: there are convertible chairs that allow you to carry the child facing backwards up to 25 kilos!
It is extremely important to make an informed decision before purchasing a Child Restraint System (SRI) as it must fit our car and our child.


Reversed Car Seat:

The reversed car seat should be used for at least 2 years. The recommendation of world experts on the subject is that they travel in reverse for as long as possible at least up to 4 years regardless of their weight. Unless they are 4 years old and weigh less than 22.5 kg, they can continue to use a rear-facing car seat because there are only chairs that support a maximum of 22.5 kg.

The Reason?

The children’s spine has characteristics that make it more prone to injuries in the cervical area. The vertebrae are in the process of formation and ossification, so their stability is different from that of an adult. For example, the C1 ring (First cervical vertebra) reaches the normal size of an adult at approximately 4 years of age, the spine in this area is also hypermobile due to the ligamentous laxity typical of children, which makes it more prone to movements translation.

Finally, it must be remembered that younger children have a higher head / body ratio (in children the head can represent 25% of their body weight, while in adults it is only 6%), which that changes the fulcrum of motion in the neck. This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends rear-facing for children for “as long as possible” and this will be determined by US-made child restraint systems, which usually agree to allow rear-facing at least up to 16 kg. , coinciding with the weight of a child at approximately 4 years of age.

If we add to these data that the development of a child’s neck and muscles takes years to develop to the level of an adult, we can conclude that:

  • When the car seat is oriented forward, in a frontal collision the head acts like an arrowhead, pulling the neck strongly forward.
  • Because the musculature is weak, it only takes millimeters of stretching and over force to cause serious and irreparable damage.

The disproportion that exists up to 2 years means that there is a 500% more probability of severe injury or death in a frontal collision when traveling in favor of the march. And the risk (although it decreases by a few percentage points) remains enormously high up to 4 years!

Why do we talk about 18 kilos if what influences is age and not weight? Because on average a 4-year-old child weighs 18 kilos, but this rule is not always met.

That is why I always recommend that you look for chairs that allow the rear facing at least up to 18 kilos to be sure that your children can use the chair up to 4 years.

If your children are in high percentages of height or weight, they should ensure their rear gear until they are 4 years old, looking for chairs that allow it up to 20 or 22.5 kg.

In Sweden, where infant mortality on the motorway is practically 0, they know it. That is why their chairs allow counter-movement up to more than 22 kg and their children travel in this way until they are 6 years old.

The reverse gear should be prolonged as long as possible. At least up to 2 years and if we want the statistics to be on our side, extend it to at least 4 years.

While in Sweden the statistics approach 0% mortality, in the rest of the world 1 child dies every 4 minutes from accidents related to the car seat.

Countermarch Rules:

We agree that the safest way to travel with children under the age of 4 is in reverse, but not all seats allow it.

  • The only type of car seat that can be put into reverse are eggs (which can only be put in reverse), convertible seats, and all-in-ones (which can be put in reverse and forward).
  • Convertible chairs have a maximum weight and height in countermarch. If your child is 100 grams heavier than the weight allowed in reverse, you must turn your chair forward. For this reason, it is recommended that you look for chairs that allow a counter-march of at least 18 kg. If, on the other hand, the child reaches the maximum height allowed and still does not reach the maximum weight allowed, the chair should be turned over.
  • You should always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions. If your seat belt is very short and you cannot install it in reverse as the manufacturer says, that seat cannot go in reverse (there are tricks to solve that).
  • That the feet touch the seat and the legs are flexed will never be a reason to turn the chair. Absolutely nothing happens! Children are flexible and fixing a broken leg is going to be simpler than fixing a broken neck or spine.
    When the chairs are installed in reverse they take up more space. A rule of thumb on many chairs is that the back of the chair should not touch the back of the pilot’s or passenger’s seats. In some cases the manual says that there must be at least 2.5 cm of separation between the backrests, in others it says that they can barely touch without pressing and in others it does not say anything and it is assumed that they should not.

Counter-march is safer only if all the rules are followed. It is advisable to invest in a car seat that allows the counter-march up to 18 kilos since the consequences of carrying a child who weighs less in favor of the march can be fatal.

Incorrect reclyning in the Counter-march:

The recline always has to be between 30 and 45 degrees. The smaller the child the incline should be closer to 45 degrees.

Each chair is different and therefore has different reclines. There are chairs that allow several positions and there are some that allow only one. There are some that allow you to correct recline with a rolled towel or a “pool noodle” (float) and there are others that do not allow you to correct it with anything. Some chairs have a bubble or ball that indicates the level of recline, others have a line and others that simply do not indicate anything about recline (those are the most difficult).

The point is that a good recline is the key to the success of always using in reverse.

The downside of many cars is that their space does not allow good recline (even if the seat allows it) and limits the compatibility of seats that can be used.

The manuals of the chairs and their reclines should be reviewed well. Remember that you should never do something that goes against the manufacturer’s instructions. If the chair does not allow recline correction and they feel that their children are sitting too much and it bothers them, sometimes the only solution is to change the chair or the car.

Reclining to Countermarch:

Newborns have the biggest problem regarding resting. For them, recline is more than essential to avoid postural or positional asphyxia.

What is the rule?
The general rule of thumb says that rear-facing car seats should have between 30 and 45 degrees of recline from a line perpendicular to the ground.

What is the proper recline for my child?
If you are a newborn or do not yet have head and neck control, 45 degrees. After that stage the recline is “optional” to all the possibilities that the chair gives you. The only rule that is very important is that of the youngest: if the child is 1 and a half years old and hates to lie down so much, you can put him less reclined.

Should you buy used chairs?

Do not do it because you have no idea of the history of the chair: if it was hit, if it was in crashes, if it was disassembled and reassembled wrong, if it was washed improperly, if it is expired, if it does not have all its parts if you don’t bring your manual, etc.

But if you decide to buy a used chair, this is a list of things that you have to look at or that you have to ask before doing so:

  • Know the whole story: especially if it is “3 in 1” or “4 in 1” because it can mean that at some point they may have disarmed it to advance to the next stage. You have to make sure that if it went back to a previous stage, it was put back together correctly.
  • That I’ve never been in a crash.
  • That has not been hit.
  • All its parts are present, including the manual (especially the manual!).
  • That it is not expired or very soon to expire.
  • That the mat has not been washed with abrasive products and that the harness has never been washed contrary to what its manual says.
  • If you are American, do not have a recall report on the NHTSA website (American chairs are sometimes recalled due to failures)

What is the exception?
When we buy it from someone VERY close, in whom we blindly trust that he is not going to lie to us just to sell it to us.

Chair in the Middle

It is not obvious that a child restraint should not be put in the center. If the car has a 3-point belt in the center, many assume it can. And if the car has a 2-point belt in the center and the seat can be installed with that type of belt, it can also be assumed that it can. The big problem is generated by private and public entities (such as clinics and government entities) that campaign on the use of restraint systems and only limit themselves to saying that “the center is the safest place”, which causes that people install the seats in the center of the car without hesitation.

Yes, the center is the safest place, but only if the car allows the installation of seats in the center. If the car does not allow it, we are putting the child at risk of not being held in that seat in a crash.

And then I don’t install it in the center?
¡No! Don’t do this until you are 100% sure your car allows for downtown installation.

Installation in the center should be done only when permitted by the manual. If you have the slightest doubt if you can, the chair should not be installed in the center. Care must be taken with removing the manual from the internet: the models that arrive in Latin America are not the same as in Europe or the US. Even though they have the same name, only the manual that comes with the car should be used.

Harness Height:

The rules for harness height are:

  • Backward: at shoulder height or lower.
  • In favor of the march: at shoulder height or higher.

Important things to remember:

  • There are chairs in which the harness is adjusted manually and others in which it is adjusted automatically.
  • If the harness is felt to be coming out too low in reverse, it should be moved to the next height. If the next height is higher than the shoulder (even centimeters), it must be lowered again.
  • Many times the height of the harness that we choose, suddenly no longer looks the same as 10 minutes before; This happens because the child does not sit fully back and thus fastens the harness. The child slides into the chair and changes his position completely.
  • If the child is in favor of the march and is very far from the maximum weight allowed by the chair, but the harness at its maximum height is lower than the shoulder: the chair is too small.
  • There may be two children who are the same height and one of them fits the harness height and the other does not; This is because there are children with longer trunk and leg lengths and other short trunk and leg lengths.

Car Seat with 3 and 5 Point Harness

3 point harness:
are the chairs that have a part that comes out from each shoulder and a part that comes out from the crotch

5 point harness:
These chairs have a part that comes out from each shoulder, a part that comes out from each hip, and a part that comes out from the crotch.

The chest clip is not a point on the harness.

Many people think that the difference between three or five points is whether or not they have a chest clasp.

The chest clip is there just to make sure that in a crash the upper harness is passing over the collarbones; After fulfilling its function, it is most likely to go down to the navel or break. It is not allowed to add a brooch that does not come with the chair or is allowed by the brand. It is a myth that chest snap chairs are safer.

Many parents simply fasten the chest clip, confusing its function and trusting that it will retain the child in the event of a collision and they cannot imagine how wrong they are.

The chest clip is plastic and its function is not to keep the child in the chair. The impact force of a body in a crash is calculated by multiplying “mass times acceleration”, which causes a 15 kg child in a crash at 50 km / h to suffer a 750 kg impact! The piece of plastic would not withstand such a force.

There are thousands of stories on the internet telling fatal outcomes of this common mistake: children being thrown out of the car in a crash after the clasp breaks, and children left sleeping in their seat with only the chest clasp fastened, both of whom slide the clasp reaches the neck.

There are chairs that have a chest clasp and others that do not. They are all just as good because the chest clip is not an extra point of retention.

Harness Adjustment

One hand (snug) must fit between the harness at chest level and the child’s body.
A good fit of the harness makes all the difference, especially in children without head, neck and trunk control. A good fit prevents postural suffocation and can make a giant difference in a crash.

Keys to a good harness fit

  • The harness should be at shoulder height or lower when the chair is in reverse
  • It should be at shoulder height or higher when going forward.
  • The harness must not have twists.
  • The chest clip (if the chair has it) must go at the level of the armpits.
  • If the chair comes without a chest clip, you should not put one on it (unless the brand of the chair authorizes it indicates which one) .
  • The harness must not be pinched at shoulder height.

Uneven Harness

Both parts of the harness should always be released at the same time, before unbuckling the child. Each part should not be released separately afterwards. Although it is thought that the child can be removed faster without first lengthening the harness, this is not the case since there are no twisting arms in the form of a contortion to be able to remove them.
Try starting to loosen the full harness before unbuckling each time you want to remove them from the chair. This will involve re-adjusting the harnesses each time you want to put them on.

Travel Car Seat

Traveling with children is a hassle, why deny it. Unfortunately there are many moms who say “I’m not complicated! I travel light, I don’t have a chair and I try to walk as little as possible in cars ”; The only thing I can tell you is that if you want to travel light, take only two shirts, pants and a pair of shoes, but the chair must go. Security is not a choice or a lavish commodity. A light suitcase on the way out can weigh a lot on the way back if we return without our child. Until an irresponsible hit you while you were driving slowly and respecting all laws. There, the word “exaggerated” is going to take on a completely different meaning for you.

These are the 3 convertible chairs that are the best option to travel as light as possible. If your child still fits in the infant car seat, choose that. It is much easier to transport as long as it is a good one.

All the following chairs allow counter-movement up to 18 kg, they can be installed with a belt (2 or 3 points) or with a latch (have an H plate to block the belt), they cost less than 100 dollars (cheaper than renting chairs), they are ultra lightweight without sacrificing safety (none is the most comfortable on the market, you can’t ask for everything)

  1. Cosco – Scenera NEXT
  2. Safety 1st – Guide 65
  3. Evenflo – Tribute LX

If you are going to travel by plane, you have to decide if you are going to take the chair in the cabin (if you bought a seat for the child) or if you are going to document it. In order for the chair to be lifted into the cabin, the sticker on the side of the backrest or the base must say that it is an approved chair for use in aircraft. It will always be better to take her into the cabin, not because the child is safer, but because that way they do not lose sight of her in any second and do not risk being mistreated along with the luggage. In case of severe turbulence (although it is rare) it is always better that the child is seated in his seat.
If you decide to send the documented chair, the best option is to wrap it in towels or blankets, put it in a box or bag and stick stickers that say “FRAGILE”.

Install with isofix / latch and seat belt

Using a combination of more clips is not better. It can even be worse.

99% of the chairs on the market do not allow the use of both anchors.

Although it makes no sense to use “more” security, these are the most basic reasons manufacturers respond when asked:

  1. Plastic can break if it receives double force.
  2. The chair can be rotated because the two fasteners work differently.
  3. Because when tested with both anchors, the chair does not pass crash tests.

How do I know if my chair allows installation with both?
It assumes that it does not allow it, unless you read otherwise in the manual.

If you use the two safety elements because you feel that with only one the chair moves, you are doing something wrong. The chair must move less than 2.5 cm from side to side from front to back, installed with only one of the two elements.

How do you accommodate a newborn in your car seat?

  • The basic thing you have to know is that, whether you choose egg or convertible chair, you have to pay attention to the minimum weight allowed for its use.
  • Every chair in reverse should have between 30 and 45 degrees of recline. The chair of a newborn baby should have 30 degrees of recline to avoid postural suffocation.
  • You should never add extra elements that you think are beneficial to your posture. Head positioning cushions can cause postural suffocation, interfere with harness fit, and be highly flammable. What you can do is add two tightly rolled tubes and put them on the sides of the head, after having correctly adjusted the harness.
  • If your child restraint has a chest clip, you have to make sure that the harness covers do not interfere with the height of the harness. If so, most manufacturers indicate that they should be removed until the child is older. Read the manual for your chair.
  • Never be afraid to adjust the harness properly. Improper adjustment could cause the child’s body to hunched over and the airways to become blocked.
  • Remember that young babies should not sleep in their egg or chair, so try to keep them in that position for as little time as possible.

Did you know that your child’s percentile is important when deciding his retention system?

Have you heard of “percentiles”? Do you know how they influence the choice of your child’s chair?

For example: when a child is the 30th percentile in height, it means that if he is compared with 100 children his age, there are 30 children who are going to be shorter than him and 70 who are going to be taller.

How the percentile affects the retention system

We have a girl and a boy: she is 10th percentile for weight (compared to 100 children her age, 90 would be heavier and only 10 lighter) and 6th percentile for height (94 children would be taller and 6 would be shorter). The child is 99th percentile for weight and 99.9th for height. In this case, the child’s parents would have to choose a chair that allows them to reverse up to 22.5 kg; otherwise they will have to turn it over before age 4. While the girl’s parents, since she is small, you can choose a chair that allows her to reverse up to 18 kg and 1.01 m.

Torso height:

Most Child Restraint Systems give you a maximum height allowed for use. Height is measured with the child standing. The problem is that not all bodies are the same. If your child has a long torso and short legs, they will exceed that maximum height sooner than the chair indicates.

While height and weight are key indicators, if you have a child with a long torso you should make sure that:

  • If you are going reverse, the highest part of your head should be at least 2.5 cm from the highest part of the chair.
  • It goes in favor of the march, the harness must be at shoulder height or higher (never lower). If in its highest part it comes out below the shoulder, it means that that harness is already too small.

The maximum height allowed is sometimes not the only indicator that the seat / harness is too small for them. Pay attention to these indicators.

Hanging head

Dropping the head in the car is not dangerous, as long as the following criteria are met:

  • The child has neck control.
  • It he sits good on its own and without help.
  • The chair has the recline allowed / suggested by the manufacturer.
  • The harness is snug. A maximum of one hand (tight) should fit between the harness and the child’s chest. It should not be possible to pinch at shoulder level.
  • The child does not have any major medical conditions

If all this is fulfilled, nothing happens if their head falls, even if it seems uncomfortable. I know it seems very uncomfortable and you project yourself and think that you would wake up in pain, but calm down, luckily, they are not us, they are practically plastic and generally, they do not mind.

What can we do about it?

  • Put them in reverse with a good recline. If you have him in favor of the march and his head falls (and it bothers you), find him a car seat where he can travel in reverse and reclined.
  • The reverse is much more comfortable. If you have the child in reverse and his head falls off, check if your chair can recline more.
  • Check that the harness height is correct. Remember that if you are traveling in reverse, the harness has to come out at or below the shoulder; and if they travel in favor of the march it has to leave at shoulder height or higher.
  • Tighten the harness well, do not be afraid to tighten them; be afraid to let them loose.

What should we not do about it?

  • Put head bras on them. They are strictly prohibited, without exception. Not even if they sell one that according to them is “approved.”
  • Add cushions or any type of accessory that does not come with the chair and passes over or behind the child’s head.
  • Recline the chair more than allowed.

Cold Cover

They are not allowed unless sold by the same brand for that particular chair model.

They are not allowed for two main reasons:

  1. Because all chairs cover their fabrics with fire retardant chemicals so that in the event of a crash, if a spark jumps, the chair does not catch fire. Although the child’s clothing is flammable, surrounding the chair with something more flammable is unnecessary and dangerous.
  2. Because they interfere with the fit of the harness, it doesn’t matter that they have large holes for the harness to pass through. For manufacturers this is considered interference and they do not allow it. Besides that it lends itself to errors, there have been cases where the parents have the harness very high and as the cover is, they do not realize it.

What can we do?

In the winter it is easier, we tie them well and we put a thick blanket on them. In the summer it gets complicated, you have to start by wearing them as undressed as possible and preferably with 100% cotton clothing; Outside of this, one option is to put a thin cotton cloth behind the back. Be careful with putting it behind the head because they could make them take a dangerous position. In the United States they sell some flexible tubes that make the air conditioning come back; you can search for it as “the noggle” on amazon.

Toys in the Car

Any toy that passes the shock test can be used. What does it consist of? in that before passing a toy in the car, we have to hit ourselves with it on the head (moderately) and if we feel the need to say “ouch” (don’t be brave) it means that it is not a suitable toy for car.
Remember that according to physics, something that weighs 2 kg can be turned into a 30 kg projectile if the car is moving.

Do not be so exaggerated about the projectile. Cost versus benefit must be balanced objectively. If the child is going to be happy with a book and it is not huge and heavy, there is nothing wrong with having a hard cover. We have all suffered from car hysteria at some time, so as long as you ride in a good seat well tied up and in reverse, you can be a bit more forgiving of toys on long trips.

Food and Drinks in the Car Seat:

The rule is no, never. With the car in motion, even if an adult goes behind with the child, if they choke they would have to remove the child from the seat and that is not safe. But we know that there are very specific cases in which we have no other option, so we can choose very well what foods we are going to give: they have to be very soft foods and they should not be given to children under 2 years of age.

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