Improve your children's in-car safety

We explain to you what different fastening systems there are and the types of protective chairs that are required by law

According to the latest DGT data, the use of a child restraint system (CRS) in the car lowers the risk of death by 75% and the risk of injuries by 90%. Child safety seats for cars are classified based on the child's weight or height.

1. New car? with the ISOFIX system

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.

2. Required Child Restraint Systems (CRS)

The Law specifies that children up to 135 centimeters tall must ride in a certified protection system that is tailored to their characteristics.

Currently, Spain has two regulations:

  • EC R44, which classifies seats into five groups: 0, 0+, 1, 2 and 3. Some seats combine groups 0+ and 1, and even 2.
  • ECE R129 I-Size, which went into effect in 2013 and classifies seats by height. I-Size seats must pass an additional side impact test.

The regulation that a specific seat satisfies is shown on its certification label.

On I-Size seats, the manufacturer indicates the height range for the seat.

Once the overlap period between the two laws ends, only I-Size seats, which conform to the Isofix system, will be available.

Group 0 and 0+ up to 13 kg

  • These are convertible seats (designed for use by children of different ages) or carriages.
  • A carriage has to be placed at right angles to the direction of motion. It takes up two seats and is restrained by a three-point seatbelt.
  • Child seats always have to be facing the rear to better protect the baby's head, column and spine.
  • These seats have to have a five-point harness to restrain the baby. Its central closing point needs to remain positioned in the centre of the child's chest, never around the abdomen or neck.
  • The baby has to transition to a new seat, and thus group, when he/she goes over the specified weight (13 kg) or when his/her head is higher than the back of the child seat.

I-Size 40 – 87 cm

For babies 40 to 85 cm tall, the seats are anchored to the car seat using the Isofix attachment system. They have harnesses to hold the baby and must always be installed facing backward.

Group 1 (approximately 9 to 18 kg)

  • The seats are a little higher than the ones in group 0.
  • The restraint harness must rest completely against the child's body.
  • It's important to make sure that the structure of the child seat doesn't allow the baby to stick his/her arms out so as not to accidentally release a clasp.

I-Size up to 105 cm

Backward-facing baby carrier with harnesses and Isofix anchorages to improve the child's safety on longer trips.

Group 2 (up to 25 kg) and 3 (up to 36 kg)/I-Size 105 to 135 cm

  • From July 2017, children under 125 cm tall have to use a booster seat with a back.
  • The seat has to raise the child so the seatbelt can be worn snuggly. The diagonal band must cross over the collarbone and shoulder without touching the neck. The horizontal band has to be as close as possible to the hips and thighs, never over the abdomen.
  • I-size seats are attached using the Isofix anchor points.

From 135 centimeters tall

  • Legally, children 1.35 meters and taller can wear a seatbelt without a booster seat, but the use of a CRS is recommended. certified up to 1.50 meters.

3. Children can ride in the front only if there's no other option

Until recently, children under 12 years of age could ride in the front seat, with a restraint system if they were under 135 cm and with just the seatbelt if they were taller than 135 cm.

Now they can only ride up front if the rear seats are occupied by other minors, if there are no back seats in the vehicle or if restraint systems can't be installed on every seat, because the car is small and the child seats don't fit.

In taxis, children can ride in the back seats in the city without using a restraint system. On the road, the person responsible for the child's safety is the parent or adult traveling with the minor at the time. Ask for a taxi with a child seat, or take one with you to protect the child.

It's also important to know that:

  • Children are safest in the back seats.
  • If a baby must ride in the front seat, the airbag has to be disabled.
  • If the child is riding in a forward-facing restraint system (groups II and III), the airbag doesn't have to be disabled.
There are currently two ways to classify a CRS: by weight and by height. In time, though, only the classification by height (I-Size) will remain in use

4. BBVA Coche Online Loan

Purchasing a new car requires a monetary outlay that can't always be paid at once. To help you, BBVA offers the Online Car Loan, which you can request quickly and easily.

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