When a child is born, some families consider changing cars, especially so they can have a larger trunk that can hold the stroller and all the accessories that are needed when traveling with a baby.
Nowadays, experts recommend securing child safety seats in a car using a safety system called Isofix, which relies on attachment points located in the car.
All new cars feature these attachment points for at least two seats. In fact, on its website the DGT states that "In general, new passenger cars sold today must have at least two seats outfitted with two Isofix bottom attachment points and one Isofix top attachment point".
But if you buy a used car, it's important to see if it has this system for securing a child safety seat, since over time, child seats that are restrained with seat belts will stop being used, though they are allowed by law for now.
Moreover, it's important to make sure that the vehicle has good front- and side-impact protection systems.
The Isofix system consists of:
- Two attachment points between the seatback and the car seat that the base of the baby seat clips into.
- A third attachment point designed to keep the child seat from rotating in an impact and from moving forward due to the baby's own weight. This point can be found in a car in one of two ways:
- Top Tether: this secures the rear of the chair to behind the car seat, or to the vehicle's trunk.
- Support leg: this is a mechanism that connects the base of the chair to the floor of the car.
A seat secured by a seatbelt can be improperly attached (rendering it ineffective in an accident). In the Isofix system, the seat is anchored to the car.