The OCU calls on drivers who carry children in car seats


Many drivers do not heed these recommendations on how to safely carry children in the car. They are called boosters and are used when the child has grown up and the child's car seats have become too small. Its use is legal from the age of four, provided that it is approved and the minor weighs more than 15 kilos.

However, for the OCU Consumer and User Organization, using them instead of the car seat is a decision they do not recommend. Also, do not disassemble the backrest of those seats that allow it.

Children's car boosters

According to this organization, the elevators do not guarantee sufficient protection to the child in the event of a side-impact, a relatively common type of accident in cities. As the child grows, the correct way to act should be to acquire larger seat models, those corresponding to groups two and three, that is, adapted to their new measurements. This is the safest option and the OCU has verified that it does not have to be the most expensive.

For example, if the child weighs from 15 to 36 kilos and is between four and 12 years old, you have to opt for group 2/3 chairs from a recognized brand in the market. From the OCU they assure that there are options starting at 90 euros.

It is also advisable to use the seat until the child measures 1.50 meters, as is the case in other European countries since at this height the car seat belt is more effective. In Spain, the limit is 1.35.

Regarding the placement of possible accessories, special care must be taken, especially with the harness buckle protectors, double belts, extenders, and adult belt guidance systems. The problem is that sometimes they are not approved systems that can make it difficult to untie the child in an emergency.

In the OCU they remember some key aspects to choose the right child car seat. First of all, it must be adapted to the child's measurements, height and weight.

Approved child seat

The problem is that today two homologation systems coexist, something that can be confusing for many buyers.

  • Depending on the weight of the children, there are several groups of car seats (0, 0+, 1, 2, and 3). In addition, there are mixed chairs that seek to serve the children as they grow (group 0/1, group 1/2/3 ...). Each one corresponds to minors of a certain weight. For example, the 0+ applies to those up to 13 kilos.

  • The other system focuses on height and is called iSize.

Although both options are legal, it is best to buy a chair with good results, regardless of the standard with which it has been approved, and make sure to install it correctly.

In this sense, the laboratory analyzes carried out by the OCU show that chairs that seek to be useful for children of very different weights fare worse in terms of both safety and ease of use.

Some seats are installed with the car seat belt, others with Isofix anchors and, finally, there are those that allow both ways.

Isofix type fastening is the one that provides the most advantages. This system has been available in newer cars for years and is widely used. There are two kinds:

  • Those that have two Isofix points on the back where the backrest and the base of the chair meet,

  • Those with a third point on the back.

  • Finally, the OCU advises to take these aspects into account before buying a child car seat :

  • Children under 135 cm tall must travel in approved car seats.

  • You must buy a seat adapted to the child's dimensions, and change it when it is no longer adequate, due to age or weight.

  • Before using it for the first time, follow the instructions provided to the letter.

  • Change the parts of the chair when and as indicated in the user manual.

  • Never place it in the opposite position to the march in a front seat with the airbag activated. If deployed it can be fatal.

  • Make sure the chair is well anchored. Then adjust the belt to the child's body. It should be smooth and the buckles should not touch the rigid parts of the chair, because with the contact they could accidentally open.

  • The child must not manipulate the mechanisms of the chair by himself.

  • Regularly check its status.

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