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Guidelines on car seats

Rearward-facing baby seat

Suitable for: Babies up to 13kg (29lb)

Approximate age range: Birth to 12–18 months

Rearward-facing baby seats offer greater protection for the baby’s head, neck and spine than forward-facing seats. The RSA recommends keeping a baby in a rearward-facing seat for as long as pos¬sible and only upgrading to a forward-facing seat when the child has exceeded the maximum weight for the rearward-facing baby seat, or when the top of their head is higher than the top of the seat.

The RSA recommends having rear¬ward-facing baby seats in the back rather than the front of the car. These seats should never be in the front passenger seat when there is an active airbag.

Forward-facing seat

Suitable for: 9-18kg (20-40lb)

Approximate age range: Nine months to four years Children should be moved into a forward-facing seat when they have exceeded the maximum weight for their rearward-facing seat, or the top of their head is higher than the top of the seat.

High-back booster seat

Suitable for: 15-36kg (33-79lb)

Approximate age range: Four to eleven years

Booster seats and cushions raise the child to a level where the diagonal part of the seatbelt goes across their shoulder and not their neck, and the horizontal part of the belt goes across their lap rather than the abdomen.

The RSA advises parents buying booster seats to pay particular attention to side protection – or headwings – as they protect your child in a side impact collision.

Booster cushion

Suitable for: 22-36kg (48-79lb)

Approximate age range: Six years to 11/12 years

A booster cushion is vital for ensuring that the child is high enough that the seatbelt won’t cause them damage in a collision. Tony Kealy’s recommends the use of a high-back booster as they pro¬vide additional protection in the event of someone or something hitting the side of your car.

The RSA has a dedicated Child Safety in Cars website at www.rsa.ie/childsafe¬tyincars where you can read the Child Safety in Cars booklet and watch the Child Safety in Cars DVD. Both the book¬let and DVD are available free to order either on the website or by calling LoCall 1890 50 60 80.