WHEN SHOULD THE CHILD CAR SEAT BE CHANGED?

The children grow and so new restraint systems are required. The weight and age information on the child restraint systems are guidelines that should be adhered to whenever possible. The new child seat standard ECE R129 is no longer based on body weight, but on the height of the child. It is up to the manufacturers to decide in which size ranges they divide the seats.

Which safety seat for which age?

AgeRestraint device
up to 13 kg, 18 monthsBaby seat: transport the toddler in it for as long as possible. Only change the child seat when the head is no longer in the baby seat. Feet that touch the back of the rear seat bench have no effect on safety. Use baby seats only for transporting children in the car. Always mount the baby carrier facing backwards and ensure that the belt guide is correct. When the front airbag is activated (normal state), the baby seat may only be used on the rear seat! Generally, assembly on the back seat is recommended.
9-18 kg, 9 months to 4 yearsSeat shell: Only use when the child can sit independently. Make sure that the child seat is securely connected to the car. The lying position makes it easier to transport but achieves poorer safety marks compared to the sitting position. The child’s belt should be tight on the child’s body (be careful with winter clothes). Occasionally adjust the height of the child belt to the size of the child. Change the child seat when the head noticeably protrudes over the seat shell. In the meantime, there are also seat shells for small children, which, like the baby seat, are mounted backward in the car ( so-called boarders ).
Small children can continue to travel against the direction of travel in so-called reboard child seats. This reduces the risk of serious or fatal injuries compared to sitting forward-facing by over 80%. Child seats complying with the ECE R129 standard must be mounted against the direction of travel up to the age of 15 months.
15-36 kg, 4-12 yearsChild seat: only use when the child no longer fits into the seat shell. Since 2010, children up to 12 years of age or 150 cm tall can only be transported in the back of the car with an approved child seat or booster seat (preferably with a backrest) with the ECE R44 or R129 certification mark. Booster seats are cheaper, more expensive products with backrests offer protection in the event of a side impact. Only use the seat belts when the child is 150 cm tall.
from 150 cm or 12 yearsVehicle seat belts : The change from child seat to vehicle seat takes place from the age of 12 or with a body height of 150 cm (whichever comes first). Only then have children reached the smallest adult size tested. The belt geometry of the vehicle belts is designed for adults. When buckling up, make sure that the 3-point belt, as with adults, is taut over the pelvis and centered over the shoulder.

Child seats should only be used with the ECE R44.03, ECE R44.04 or R129.

The general rule is: the child seat may no longer be used after an accident!

Child seats that grow with the child

These safety seats are developed for newborns up to 36kg. They are mostly heavy, bulky seats. Installation is laborious and in some cases only possible with additional straps. This increases the risk of operating errors. Child seats that grow with the child are usually a cheaper option, but they are difficult to use.

Strap adapters are not permitted.

According to the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO), shoulder strap deflectors (strap adapters) without ECE approval are not permitted in Switzerland. The TCS has advised against the use of such belt adapters for years. The belt adapter (e.g. triangular cuff) keeps the diagonal belt away from the child’s neck, but at the same time changes the lap belt guide over the abdomen. As a result, in the event of an accident, the lap belt presses into the stomach and can cause serious internal injuries.

Child seats for a single weight class

Handling these car seats is much easier. In child seat tests, individual systems do better than those that grow with them. It is easier to adjust the weight of the seats to the child since the period of use is shorter.

Integrated child seats

This type of safety seat is offered directly by some vehicle manufacturers at an additional cost. These are permanently installed child seats that are located between the seat surface and backrest (Isofix) and on the back of the seat or in the trunk of the vehicle (top tether). They are suitable for children from 9 months or 4 years and can be used up to 12 years. Like the widespread accessory child seats, they are approved according to ECE R44.

Advantages of integrated child car seats:

  • The seat is always available in the vehicle
  • It is relatively easy to use
  • They take up little space in the vehicle
  • Belt extensions with a new belt strap are possible

Disadvantages of integrated child car seats:

  • In systems with a vehicle seat belt, it is often more difficult to adapt the belt route to the child
  • If the child is to be transported in another vehicle, the integrated child seat cannot be converted
  • With a fixed vehicle choice, you are set on a child seat
  • The seat cover usually cannot be removed for cleaning
  • Seats with an integrated child seat have a slight loss of comfort for adults
  • Not a full replacement for a conventional child car seat as it cannot be changed to another car!

Safe travel with kids:

  • Set a good example! Never drive off without properly securing the child and yourself.
  • Secure your child even on short journeys, because two-thirds of accidents occur in urban areas.
  • Activate the child safety lock on the rear vehicle doors.
  • Make sure you drive calmly, have enough fresh air (do not smoke), and eat properly (fruits, drinks).
  • While driving, check whether the child is still buckled up.
  • Provide play and activity opportunities during the journey.
  • Plan enough breaks on longer journeys and then allow the children enough exercise (never leave children alone in the car).
  • Only let children get off on the side facing the road (prevents a spontaneous race over the road)!
  • Avoid transporting sharp-edged or pointed objects within the reach of children or other vehicle occupants (risk of injury).