Friday, 24 August 2012

ISOFIX- What's it all about?

 "International Standards Organisation FIX"

ISOFIX or LATCH (in American)! is an innovative car seat design that eliminates the need for a seat belt. The result - a fool proof way to secure your car seat in a vehicle, hence I'm a big fan!

In a nutshell, ISOFIX is a standard system for securing car seats into cars without having to use the adult seat belt. Instead it attaches the car seat to anchor points already fitted in the car. ISOFIX is super because it solves incompatibility problems, reduces the risk of incorrect installation and (my own personal favorite) eliminates the hassle of fiddling around with seat belts! 

Most cars manufactured after 2006 and some before will have the required anchor points for the use of an ISOFIX car seat. Two points will be located where the seat cushion of the car meets the back cushion (as per the below image). Unfortunately if your car does not have the anchor points required for ISOFIX, they cannot be retrofitted. Be sure to check that your car has the required anchor points (particularly if yours is an older model!) before you buy an ISOFIX car seat. Take a look at the back seat of your car, near the buckle. Look for the symbol (above) on a button or a fabric patch, In the absence of this symbol, feel between the seat cushions for the anchor points as they are not always visible.

Some car seats can be secured in a car with either an ISOFIX system or the traditional seat belt system.You need never use both seat belt and ISOFIX together, it will not enhance the safety of your car seat by doing so. 

Ultimately ISOFIX is not deemed "safer" than the seat belt system, it does however reduce the high occurrence of incorrectly installed child seats and that's good enough in my book!


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