The lockdown is no excuse not to have your child’s car seat checked to see if it is correctly fitted writes Suzanne Keane
The Road Safety Authority has been running the free “Check it Fits” service for a number of years. Usually, they tour the country all year round providing an invaluable service to parents checking that child car seats are correctly fitted and making sure that children are in the right seats for their age, weight and height. Statistics show that 4 out of 5 seats are fitted incorrectly and the RSA aim to change this one seat at a time.
Virtual Seat Checks
However, due to Covid 19, this wonderful service couldn’t continue as it was. We’re all moving towards a more virtual lifestyle, so the RSA Check it fits team have moved online and are now offering free virtual seat checks via Microsoft teams.
Booking is very simply done online where you pick a time and date that suits you, fill in your details and you’ll receive a confirmation email. When booking you need to select the number of children on the top of the screen before you can see the available dates. On the day of your check, you’ll get an email with a link to your Microsoft Teams meeting. If you’ve never used this app download it in advance and try it out beforehand. It helps to have the make and model of your seats written down along with your child’s ages, weights and heights. Be sure to connect to the appointment where you’ve got good data coverage – our WiFi dropped a few times during the call!
How it works
The appointment we booked was with the legendary Ron from Check it Fits. Firstly, we checked on the Axkid Minikid – this is a versatile rear-facing seat that will do a child up to 25kg and fits in most cars. Ron asked to see the seat belt path, looked at the tethers, how they were attached and asked me to try and rock the seat along the belt path so he could see how steady it was – he felt it could be a little tighter so showed me a video he has prepared of how he gets the Axkid Minikid fitted really securely. Ron also asked questions about Eoghan’s centiles (age 3 and 10 months) and explained why the Minikid was a good seat for him until he reached 6 or 7.
Next up we checked on the Maxi Cosi Cabriofix which was fitted using the Easyfix base. This seat is suitable from birth to 13kg and is one of the most popular infant seats. Again, Ron asked to see the seat concentrating on the ISOFIX indicators (to make sure everything was green), how the base sat on the car seat and that the leg was correctly in place.
We then fitted Méabh (age 1) into the Cabriofix and Ron advised it was time to take out the head hugger (wedge was taken out when she was 4 months) and move the straps to the top slots – he demonstrated how to do this using a Cabriofix on screen. Charlie the Check it Fits mascot on the screen kept Méabh occupied during the check. We also chatted about the positioning of the rebound bar (handle) and how its position when driving varies from seat to seat – always UP in the Cabriofix. We also talked about making sure that straps are tight enough and when Méabh was likely to grow out of the seat – height before weight in our case.
Follow up info
Following the call Ron sent me a copy of the Axkid Minikid videos and a bonus video showing how to get a good fit for the Cabriofix using the seat belt with no base.
I’ve been a regular user of the Check it Fits service since I started using child seats almost 4 years ago – I did wonder how a virtual service would work but the way the checks are carried out and the follow-up videos really help to make sure you’re confident fitting your own seats. They also recommend that parents book a follow up appointment to recheck the seats after they make adjustments if they are unsure about anything.
You can book your free RSA Check it Fits appointment at here. Appointment lengths vary depending on the number of seats being checked so make some use of your free time during the lockdown and get the safety of your child seats checked!
19th November 2020