FAQ article

Here you will find the most frequently asked questions on the subject to child car seats together with our corresponding answers.

The following principle applies:
The person to talk to about BRITAX products is your local retailer, where you can obtain extensive and competent advice.

We are available for your further questions, suggestions and information.

Q. A second hand child seat – can it be used without hesitation?

A. The problem is often, that you do not know the history of the seat. You may even take the risk of using a seat which was damaged in an accident. This is saving in the wrong place, because the purpose of the seat, i.e. to protect your child, cannot be fulfilled.


Q. Are replacement parts available for all previous child seats?

A. Replacement parts are available only for seats which are approved to the Child Safety Standard ECE R 44/03, which came into force 1995. Since manufacturers and trade since 1999 are not allowed to sell child seats with old approval, repairs and replacement part supply by the manufacturer – also for product liability reasons – are for old seats no longer possible.


Q. Can a booster cushion also be used without the backrest?

A. The minimum requirements under the ECE R 44/03 and 44/04 Standard allow the use of a booster cushion, without the use of a backrest, for children from 15 kg upwards. Normally, booster cushions offer sufficient lateral support in the lap area, but not in the head and upper body area. The use of a booster cushion/backrest combination, however, complies with the latest findings in child safety engineering, as well as providing good side impact protection. The head and body of the child are protected laterally, which is not only safer in the event of an accident, but also ergonomically more comfortable when your child falls asleep in the seat. Additionally, the integral belt guide in the backrest guarantees that the shoulder belt is positioned correctly over the shoulder to suit the height of the child.


Q. Can I buy direct from BRITAX?

A. No, all BRITAX products are exclusively sold via the trade.


Q. Can I use the infant carrier on a passenger seat equipped with an airbag?

A. Group 0+ infant carriers must be used rearward facing. These rearward facing systems must not be used on the front passenger seat in connection with an airbag. Please follow the explanations of the user instructions for your child seat and also for your car manual.


Q. Can ISOFIX seats also be installed with the vehicle safety belt?

A. Apart from the different approval types for the installation with ISOFIX most of the seats usually also have a universal approval for the installation with a 3-point belt. Please check the approved vehicle list.


Q. Can my child keep its winter coat on when sitting in the car?

A. If a child wears thick winter clothing, the safety belt cannot be tightened and is not positioned correctly. In an impact the belt first has to press the thick filling of the coat together, before it can hold the child back. This restricts the safety considerably. Therefore it is necessary to take the coat off. The seat cover and the inserts in the seat shell provide warmth for the child’s back and until the car temperature reaches a comfortable position, the child can be covered with a blanket. Ideal and more comfortable would be the use of auxiliary heating which (possibly with remote control) can be switched on before departure.


Q. How can I secure my child in a mini bus or any vehicle used for recreational excursions?

A. Principally the best suitable seat in the car is to be used to secure children, even when this is to the expense of an adult passenger.


Q. How long will the infant carrier be large enough to transport my baby?

A. In rearward facing seats the risk of injury in a frontal impact is considerably lower. The impact forces are spread over the large back surface of the baby and there is much less load on the cervical spine. For this reason the baby should be transported in the infant carrier as long as possible. Whether or not your baby’s legs are within the infant carrier is not so important. However, when your baby's head has reached the upper edge of the shell and your baby can sit up unaided, this is when you need to put your baby into a group 1 seat.


Q. Is an old seat still safe?

A. This depends on the condition of the seat. If you bought the child seat yourself and you know its history, nothing speaks against a further use, but please ensure the seat fulfils the current standard for child safety systems (at least ECE R 44/03, new 44/04).


Q. May I use a child seat on the car passenger seat?

A. BRITAX group 1 and group 2+3 child seats are designed to be used on the front passenger seat, but we recommend that the passenger seat is slid back as far as possible if the passenger seat is equipped with an airbag. Please follow the instructions in the user guide for your child seat and also the car manufacturer’s manual. Generally children should be placed on the rear passenger seat where there is less risk of injury.


Q. My baby perspires badly in its infant carrier. Is the cover of the infant carrier the reason for this?

A. Whether in the cot or in the infant carrier, parents time and again are concerned that their baby – particularly when asleep – perspires, although the outside temperature is moderate and its clothing and linen are suitable. However, perspiration is not always due to environmental conditions or clothing, but an indication that baby’s own body is not sufficiently developed to adjust.


Q. My car has a 2-point lap belt on the centre of the rear seat. Which child seat can I use?

A. How can I transport three children in this car? A rearward facing infant carrier must only be used with a 3-point belt. The same applies to boosters (also in combination with a backrest). For the installation with a 2-point lap belt the ECLIPSE and the PRINCE are suitable. They allow your child (or one of your children) weighing between 9 and 18 kg to be transported safely and comfortably in the centre position of the rear seat, even if it is only equipped with a 2-point lap belt.


Q. My child frees itself from the harness, although this is fairly tight. What can I do?

A. A harness which is too tight creates the desire for your child to free itself from the harness. This is why the harness should lie close to the child’s body, but without any pressure (a flat hand may fit between harness and the baby’s chest). Your child must learn that it is not allowed to take the harness off.


Q. My child opens the buckle, even during the journey. What can I do?

A. In this case the consumer journal "Stiftung Warentest"* (issue 9/97) recommends to stop the car as soon as possible, to do up the buckle again and to teach him or her about the dangers before the trip is continued. If need be, this „educational measure“ may have to be repeated several times. In any case avoid praising the child for opening the buckle and discourage the demonstration of his or her skills to others. Please remember that in the case of an emergency a rescuer will have to release the child quickly from the child seat. A buckle which is difficult to open or which cannot be opened at all may prevent this. *Independent Consumer Test Organisation (Government foundation)


Q. My child weighs over 36 kg. Does it still have to use a child seat?

A. The legal limit for the use of a child seat is either 1.35m (1.5m in Ireland) or 12 years of age. Child seats for older children are restricted to 36kg for test reasons.


Q. Side airbag and child seat – how does that work?

A. In contrast to front airbags on front passenger seats (these must always be deactivated when a group 0+, rearward facing infant carrier is placed on the front passenger seat), an inflated side airbag is quite flat, and rarely comes into contact with the child seats. Therefore, if your child is correctly secured in the child seat and cannot lean out of it (this normally applies to both infant carriers and group 1 seats), there is no danger from side airbags. For older children, to prevent the child from falling to the side when it is asleep, we strongly recommend the use of a booster seat with a backrest and lateral support.


Q. The child was in the child seat when an accident happened. What is to be done?

A. In an accident at a collision speed above 10 km/h the seat can have suffered damage. Please refer to our recommendations in the section Customer service.


Q. What do I have to observe regarding child seat and airbag?

A. Principally all warnings on the child seat and in the car and all instructions in the user guide for the child seat and in the car manual have to be observed.


Q. What do I have to observe when I buy a child seat?

A. Please read our recommendations carefully in the section Safety Center.


Q. What is ISOFIX and since when is it available?

A. ISOFIX is the term used for the standard interface between vehicle and child seat. This method of installation simplifies handling and reduces respectively avoids misuse in the installation of child car seats. ISOFIX is an alternative to the conventional installation with the vehicle belt and results in lower loads on the child, thus reducing or entirely avoiding injuries. ISOFIX was shown for the first time by VW in co-operation with BRITAX on the International Motor Show IAA 1997. Today ISOFIX is standard equipment in many new vehicles or can be obtained as extra feature when purchasing the vehicle or as an upgrade.


Q. What is the "current list of approved cars" in connection with ISOFIX?

A. Child seats are approved to ECE R 44/03 and 44/04 in various categories, always for different modes for installation and use. In some cases, especially for the installation with ISOFIX, the cars in which the seats are approved are shown in a "current list of approved cars". For some BRITAX seats several installation modes are applicable, and depending on the installation mode the list of approved cars may have to be observed.


Q. What is the price of the BRITAX products from the trade?

A. Our dealers are free in their pricing method, we only recommend prices. We therefore ask for your understanding when we pass you on to our dealers for price information.


Q. When should the child change to their next child seat?

A. Your baby has outgrown the group 0+ infant carrier once its head is above the upper edge of the shell. Seats in group 1 can be used until the upper edge of the shell is about level with the height of the child’s eyes. Then it is time to move to the next group. Please pay particular attention to the weight categories in respect of each child seat. Changing over to the next group of child seats too soon is not recommended in the interest of your child’s safety, particularly changing to group 2+3. For safety reasons the child should not move to a group 2+3 seat weighing less than 15 kg, preferably not until it weighs 18 kg. The reason for this is that group 2+3 child seats are wide enough to offer space for the bigger child, but a small sleeping child can easily slip out of the belt. At this stage the child’s shoulders are too small and inadequate to guide the belt correctly and securely.


Q. When should the cover of the child seat be replaced?

A. In time, the seat cover will start to show signs of wear through sunlight, dirt etc. With normal use we recommend to replace the cover after about 3-4 years. Please note that the cover represents an essential part of the seat and as such is included in the official approval. Therefore only original BRITAX covers must be used. BRITAX original replacement covers can be obtained from your stockiest.


Q. When the harness gets too tight for my child, do I need to use a follow-on product?

A. This question is frequently asked, particularly in winter when children wear thicker clothing in the car. When the harness starts getting tight, it would normally mean that your child has reached the upper weight range for that particular child seat category, for which the child seat is designed. However, rather than change to the next child seat category too soon, an easier solution would be to put your child in less voluminous clothing when it is in the child seat. The basic safety principle is that the closer the harness is to your child’s body, the safer the entire child seat will be for your child. We therefore recommend that you dress your child to suit the temperature inside your car and that you only purchase a larger seat when your child has reached the weight for which the child seat has been designed and approved.


Q. Why do older children have to be secured on booster cushions?

A. By using booster cushions – ideally with a backrest for best safety – the adult seat belt (3-point) is adjusted to the body of the child. The elevated seating position ensures a controlled lap belt routing and therefore avoids the lap belt sliding into the abdominal area. Besides the shoulder belt runs over the mid shoulder of the child without contact to neck and face. Important: When buying a booster cushion, ensure your child has a good lateral support in the pelvis area. The combination of a booster cushion and backrest additionally provides an age-based support of the head and upper part of the body – provided the side wings of the headrest are extended far forward and as close as possible to each other (maximum head width of the child).