There is much talk about child in-car safety and one of the most common ways to ensure the safety of your precious cargo is with the aid of ISOFIX fittings. But what exactly are they and how do they work?
The word ISOFIX is derived from the words “International Safety Organization” (ISO) and “Fixation” (FIX). It is the international standard for attachment points for child safety seats in passenger vehicles. They are U-shaped brackets welded to the chassis of a car for the sole purpose of securing an ISOFIX compliant child seat or base. Almost all cars come standard with ISOFIX points. They are not optional extras nor can they be removed. Should the car owner not need to use them, they remain unobstructive and do not interfere with passenger seating comfort.
Why do I need them?
Prior to ISOFIX fittings and ISOFIX compliant car seats, there was a myriad of different sizes and shaped of car seats on the market. It can’t have been easy for parents to know which car seat was best for their child. ISOFIX however was designed to give parents peace of mind and security, and by virtue of their design, added protection for children in the event of an accident.
Does my car have them?
Most manufacturers mark the location of the ISOFIX fittings with either the words ISOFIX or a symbol. Some are covered with hard plastic flaps whereas others are covered by the upholstery of the vehicle. They are generally located either in the front passenger or rear seats.
How do I find them?
To identify them, push your hand through the gap where the backrest and seat meet and run it across from one end to the other. Within seconds you will come across the first metallic U-shaped fitting. Continue sliding your hand across the gap until you locate the second.
What do they do?
Those with more grey hair than they care to admit will remember a time when in-car child safety meant securing the car seat with the use of seatbelts and a prayer for the best! ISOFIX fittings however, keep the car seat firmly in place drastically reducing the possibility of your child tumbling out of his seat in the event of an emergency braking scenario.
Asides offering optimal safety, ISOFIX and compliant products include:
- Ease of use
- Quick and simple to install
ISOFIX fittings in a car are so important that they have become major considerations in the car buying process. They minimise the risk of incorrectly installing a car seat and provide a solid and permanent connection between the car and the framework of the child seat. Should you be in the family way, ISOFIX compliant car seats are a bit pricey but then again, what price wouldn’t you pay to ensure your child’s safety?