5 Child Car Safety Tips You Should Know

  • RSA says 4 out of 5 car seats are fitted incorrectly in Ireland
  • 59 people killed or seriously hurt on Easter weekend from 2012-2017
  • Children are our most vulnerable road users

Easter weekend is one of the busiest times on our roads with many families taking advantage of the days off work and school. Unfortunately, with increased road usage comes increased road accidents. Approximately 59 people have died or suffered serious injuries on the roads on Easter weekend between 2012 and 2017.

Children are our most vulnerable road users so we’re sharing our tips to help keep your little ones safe in the car this Easter.

Child Car Safety Law in Ireland 

Children under 150cm or 36kgs in Ireland must use a child restraint system while travelling in a vehicle. Depending on your child’s size and weight they will use a type of car seat or a booster cushion. Taxis are the only exception to this law.

Can a child sit in the front seat of a car in Ireland?

There is no law against children sitting in the front seat of a car but it is illegal for a child to be in a rear facing car seat in the front if the car has an airbag system. Drivers caught doing this will receive a minimum of 3 penalty points.

You’re responsible for any passengers under the age of 17 in your car. We recommend that all children should travel in the back of the car to avoid the airbag system.

European Standards for Child Safety Seats 

Car seats sold in Ireland must comply with the EU Standards, i-SIZE. Seats with the i-SIZE seal of approval (marked with an “E” sticker) provide extra support for the child’s head and neck and can be fitted in most cars with ISOFIX approved attachment points.

What is ISOFIX?

ISOFIX is the international standard for car seat attachment points. Using these points will reduce the risk of your child’s car seat fitting incorrectly. Most modern vehicles are built with ISOFIX points. 

Types of Car Seats 

The types of car restraint systems are placed in groups based on the weight and height of your child. There are four groups: 0, 1, 2 and 3. Types of car seats include:

  • Rearward facing baby seat (Group 0)
    It’s recommended that you keep your child in a rearward facing baby seat for as long as possible because they provide greater protection for your baby’s head, neck and spine. Remember to never put your child in the passenger seat if there is an airbag system.

  • Forward-facing child seat (Group 1)
    You should move your child into a forward-facing child seat when their eye line is level with the top of the seat or they have outgrown the manufacturer’s recommended weight for the rearward facing seat.

  • High back booster seat with removable harness (Group 1, 2, 3)
    These seats raise your child to a level where the seatbelt is positioned correctly on their bodies while protecting your child’s head, neck and spine. The seatbelt should be positioned on your child’s shoulder and pelvis and there should be no slack in the seatbelt when it’s fastened.
  • Booster cushion (Group 3)
    Booster cushions are usable for children weighing 15kg upwards. They don’t provide as much protection to the neck, spine and head areas as the high back booster seat but raises your child to level where the seatbelt fits them correctly.

The most important thing to consider while choosing the correct type of car seat is the weight of your child. The RSA have an up to date chart of the correct car seats to suit your child’s weight and height.

Tips for Buying a Car Seat

  • Measure your child’s weight and height
  • Make sure the seat fits correctly into all the vehicles your child will use
  • Get expert advice from the car seat retailer when choosing a seat
  • Ask for an installation demo from the car seat retailer
  • Ensure the seat meets the EU iSIZE standards by identifying the orange ‘E’ mark
  •  Check that the instruction manual is included and that you understand it
  • Complete all the above steps before purchasing your child’s car seat

Should I buy a second-hand car seat?

It might be cheaper to buy a second-hand car seat but it’s not always the safest option. Manufacturers recommended use of a car seat is 5 years. This is due to wear of important parts.

If you are going to buy a second-hand seat, check the history of the seat to confirm any possible damages and complete the above steps.

Fitting your Child’s Car seat

Retailers should show you how to install and fit the seat correctly but if have any concerns, the Road Safety Authority has a free, country-wide fitting service called Check It Fits. If in doubt, check it out!

Ensuring the safety of your child in the car is so important. It’s also important to have a car insurance policy that protects you and your family in the event of an accident. At AIG we’ve been protecting families for over 90 years so you can rest safe in the knowledge that we’ll take good care of you. Get an online car insurance quote in just 4 minutes.


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