When we’re doing our carseat checks we often came across an unsecure installation of the child restraint system (CRS).
The reasons for such problem, particularly in a forward facing CRS are the recline angle of the vehicle’s seat backrest and the headrest.
One of the key in getting a secure installation of the CRS is for the vehicle’s seat backrest to have the same angle as the CRS backrest. This is to allow for a maximum energy transfer from the CRS to the vehicle seat during impact, ensuring minimum stress acted upon the occupant of the CRS, which is your child.
Here’s a few steps that you can achieve this (focusing on forward facing only):
1. Put the CRS at the position you’d like to install it – making sure as far as possible to have all occupants below 12 at the back passenger seat.
2. Recline the vehicle’s seat according to the recline angle of your CRS, making sure that the backrest of the CRS lies parallel or almost parallel to the backrest of the vehicle seat.
3. Install the CRS as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Most often, the back passenger seats also have headrests that will caused a small gap in between the vehicle’s and CRS backrest.
The difference when headrest is present and when it’s taken out during installation of CRS.
When installing a forward facing CRS, it is best to remove the seat’s headrest (and store it in a secure place to avoid projectiles in the vehicle cabin). By removing the headrest, we can ensure that there will be no gap in between the backrests in order to optimize the safety features of the CRS.
In the event that the head rest is causing the child restraint to bulge, look into your car manual on how to manage it. Some says to reverse the head rest, some allow you to remove it altogether. To ensure you are not compromising the safety of your child and the safety feature of your car, read the instruction manual of both your car and child restraint for the best installation.
Remember safety is only achieved through proper installation and usage.