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Car safety questions answered

Plus, discover our brand-new range of car seats

Author Hamish McPhillips
Categories   Car Safety

The Edit

Choosing your first car seat? Or perhaps you’re looking for a next-stage seat now your little passenger is getting bigger.

Our brand-new range of car seats has just launched – providing safety, comfort and security on every journey, at every age. The Edit caught up with Silver Cross Head of Car Safety, Hamish McPhillips, to answer all your car safety queries and provide parents with information on advice when choosing a child car seat.

Dream i-Size

Dream i-Size

Suitable from birth to 15 months

1. Can I use my Dream I-Size infant carrier in the front passenger seat of my car?

Little ones are safer in the back, but if you need to use the front seat (there’s no room in the back for example!) then yes, you can fit your Dream i-Size in the front. Be sure to deactivate your airbag – check your vehicle handbook for information on how to do this. If it is not possible to turn off the airbag, then the seat cannot be fitted.

2. When should I move my baby onto a next-stage car seat?

All car seats will outline the maximum weight or height limit for which they can be used, the seat is outgrown when either the height or weight limit is reach – whichever comes first.

3. What’s the maximum journey time when using the Dream i-Size infant carrier?

We recommend a journey time of two hours maximum, ensuring regular checks on little one throughout. A great way to keep an eye on them is using a car seat mirror which fits onto the vehicle headrest. If your baby has underlying medical conditions, low birth weight or is premature, you should reduce the amount of journey time.

4. Is Dream i-Size safer when used with a seatbelt or the ISOFIX base?

ISOFIX and belt fitted seats can offer equal levels of safety when fitted correctly However due to the increased risk of incorrectly fitting a belted seat, ISOFIX is considered safer. For more information, visit the Baby Products Association website.

5. What type of seat is best to use once a baby has outgrown the Dream I-Size infant carrier?

What suits you best will depend on your individual family needs and circumstances. We recommend, where possible, using an extended rearward facing seat. This allows you to keep your little one rearward facing for as long as possible.

Motion All Size 360 offers rearward facing up to 4 years old, together with 360° degree rotation to enable you to strap little one in safely and easily. Alternatively, if you decide to turn them forward facing, then a multi-stage forward facing seat such as Balance i-Size would be another option, providing the child is over 15 months and 76cm tall.

Motion All Size 360

Motion All Size 360

Suitable from birth to 12 years old

1. When should I remove the inserts on my Motion All Size 360 car seat?

This ultimately depends on the growth rate of your child, but typically as a guide:

  • Head hugger can be outgrown from 3-6 months 
  • Side wings between 6-9 months 
  • Main insert body, anywhere from 9 months onwards

Please note however, the inserts can be kept in for longer if needed.

2. Why does the Motion All Size 360 have an age limit of 12 years old?

After the age of 12, children no longer require a car seat as the car’s seat belt and safety systems provide the protection that’s needed. Motion All Size 360 will accommodate your child until they no longer need a car seat.

3. Does Motion All Size 360 offer extended rearward facing?

Yes, Motion All Size 360 offers extended rearward facing until 18.5kg or 4 years old. The main body of the seat has been designed specifically to accommodate little ones for longer to reduce the chance of them outgrowing the height before the weight limit.

4. When can I move my child to forward facing?

The Motion All Size 360 car seat must be used rearward facing until at least 15 months and 76cm. After this point, you can choose to use the seat forward or rearward facing up to 4 years old with the harness. Once the child reaches 18.5kg, the harness can then be easily stowed for continued use as a forward-facing high back booster.

Balance i-Size

Balance i-Size

Suitable from 15 months to 12 years old

1. Can I use Balance i-Size’s recline positions at any age from 15 months to 12 years?

Yes, the recline positions can be used throughout the use of the seat to offer the most comfortable position for your child.

2. When should I switch my child over to using the adult seatbelt?

Balance i-Size has an extended 21kg harness limit, which is ideal for ensuring your child remains securely fitted in the harness until they are ready to use an adult seatbelt.

3. What is a top tether for on Balance i-Size?

The top tether anchors the back of the child seat to stop it tipping forwards in an accident, diverting energy through the seat and vehicle and away from the child.

Discover i-Size

Discover i-Size

Suitable from 4 to 12 years old

1. What’s changed on the Discover i-Size high-back booster?

The Discover i-Size is a completely new model packed with lots of fantastic features. It includes:

  • 4 recline positions and extendable thigh support for ultimate comfort
  • 10 adjustable headrest positions for great longevity 
  • Side Protection System for superior safety 
  • Super-soft, antibacterial bamboo fabrics to provide the best in comfort
  • An improved Easy Lock ISOFIX system 
  • i-Size approved

2. Do I need to use Discover i-Size with the ISOFIX fixture?

No, the seat can be used with or without ISOFIX – however, we always recommend using ISOFIX where possible.

3. Can the Discover i-Size recline positions be used at every age?

Yes, the recline positions can be used throughout the use of the seat to offer the most comfortable position for your child.

What else do I need to know?

1. How will I know when my child is ready to travel without a car seat?

In the UK, a car seat is legally required until children reach 135cm or 12 years of age – whichever comes first. To assess if your child no longer needs a seat after 135cm, check the following five steps:

1. Back – Can the child sit with their back against the vehicle seat?
2. Knees – Do their knees bend on the front edge of the seat cushion?
3. Lap – Is the seatbelt sitting firm across the pelvis and not on the child’s tummy?
4. Shoulder – Does the diagonal belt sit in the middle of the shoulder?
5. Slouch – Can the child sit without slouching in the seat during the journey?

If your child doesn’t meet any of the five steps above, you should continue to use the car seat. Note, the Silver Cross Balance i-Size and Discover i-Size car seats can be used up to a maximum height of 150cm – beyond the 135cm UK legal requirement.

2. Do I need to replace a car seat that was in the car when I had an accident?

We recommend replacing car seats after a crash. Even though the seat could appear to be OK and still function, it is possible there could be damage to the shell or integral safety structure of the seat, which may not be visible and could reduce the potential safety performance.

3. What does i-Size mean?

i-Size is a term taken from the latest European car seat safety regulation (Regulation 129). It was introduced to offer better compatibility between the child and the car seat, using the height of the child. The new regulation also includes additional side impact testing, the latest crash test dummy technology and the requirement for rearward facing for longer (up to 15 months of age).

4. How do I know my car seat is fitted correctly?

You can check the fitting of your car seat using the unique Silver Cross app. Our app includes clear CGI videos, showing fitment broken down into five simple steps. Also, you can check whether your vehicle is compatible with your chosen car seat.

5. Is it safe to use a second-hand car seat?

We do not recommend using second-hand car seats. Only use restraints if you are certain of their integrity (for example, there is no damage and it has not been involved in an accident). Please bear in mind that not all damage is visible. If the car seat has been dropped or knocked, there may be damage to the structure of the seat that is hidden by padding.

Author Hamish McPhillips

Hamish McPhillips is the Head of Car Safety at Silver Cross, with over a decade of experience in the design, testing and manufacture of child car seats. Hamish has a passion for engineering, starting his career as a test engineer, initially conducting crash testing for formula one cars. This lead to a focus in child car seats - even though the occupants are smaller the safety principles and engineering behind them are similar. Joining Silver Cross in 2018, Hamish has led the development of our market-leading car seat range, achieving best in class ADAC results and some exciting product firsts along the way.

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