Buying and installing a car seat is one of the most important tasks faced by parents. Your child will need a car seat from the moment you leave the hospital until he or she is about 12 years old. Not having the correct car seat for your child’s age and weight is not only extremely dangerous, but it’s also against the law. The law of the Cayman Islands states that a person under the age of 14 years must wear an adult seatbelt or a child restraint, except in certain and very limited circumstances. The law states that a rear-facing child restraint seat must not be fitted in a seat protected by an active frontal airbag.
Car seats are divided into three main groups, depending on your baby or child’s age and weight:
GROUP 0+: Rear-facing car seats suitable for babies aged up to 15 months or who weigh up to 13 kg (29lb).
GROUP 1: Forward-facing seats are suitable for children who weigh 9-18kg (20-40lb) or between the ages of 9 months to 4.5 years.
GROUP 2/3: High-backed booster seats are suitable for children who weigh 15-36kg (33lb-5st 9lb) or between 3 to 12 years of age.
As you can purchase both European and American cars in the Cayman Islands, parents should be aware of the different safety systems and how to fit their child’s car seat properly.
i-Size is a new European standard for car seats. i-Size seats are fitted into a car using the Isofix system, which reduces the risk of car seats not being fitted properly. Most cars made from 2007 onwards are fitted with an Isofix system, so fitting a car seat should be simple and easy for everyone.
Isofix anchorage points allow you to fix the seat securely and rigidly, provided the points are compatible. Isofix points make fitting the seat correctly much simpler, as you just slot the seat in.
Isofix anchorage points are found in the back of the car, in the gap between the upholstery. There may also be insertion aids for the connectors that will lock into specific points or a top tether or supporting leg that needs to be in place. (www.babycentre.co.uk)
In the US, all child safety seats and vehicles manufactured after 2002 must be compatible with the LATCH system, which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. Some cars manufactured between 1999 and 2002 also have the LATCH system.
The LATCH system is designed to make installation of a car seat easier and safer by attaching the car seat directly to anchors permanently attached to the vehicle instead of using the seat belt to secure the seat. Although only front-facing infant and toddler car seats are required to have both the upper and lower attachments, all child safety seats with a five-point safety harness (including rear-facing infant car seats) are required to have the lower anchors. (www.babycentre.com)
Car City and Tony’s Toys both offer a car seat fitting service to ensure that your car seat is fitted safely and securely.
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