The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Greek Automobile and Touring Association ELPA provide the following guidelines.
- If your child is 12 years old or younger, then the child must be seated in a special seat that will provide increased protection not only in the event of an accident but also throughout the duration of the journey.
- Select a car-seat according to the child’s weight and height, and not based solely on the child’s age. Refer to the following table for help:
|TYPE OF CAR-SEAT||CHILD’S WEIGHT
||INDICATIVE CHILD AGE||SEAT SPECIFICATIONS|
|0+||Up to 13 kg||0 – 15 months||UN ECE Regulation 44.03|
|0+ , Ι||Up to 18 kg||0-4 years||UN ECE Regulation 44.03|
|Ι||9-18 kg||9 months – 4 years||UN ECE Regulation 44.03|
|Ι,ΙΙ,ΙΙΙ||9-36 kg||1 – 4 years||UN ECE Regulation 44.03|
|ΙΙ,ΙΙΙ||15-36 kg||4-12 years||UN ECE Regulation 44.03|
- For a seat to meet the latest safety standards, it must bear the indication UN ECE Regulation 44.03.
- Remember that car seats placed facing the back of the car (re-board) are suitable for children under the age of one. The adjustable car-seats which resemble a small chair and face the front part of the car are suitable for children aged between 1 and 4 years old. Both types of seats come with harnesses which keep the children safe in their seats. The booster seats which are equipped with arms on the left and right are suitable for children aged between 4 and 8 years old. These seats allow the child to sit in an elevated position so that they can be fastened more safely using the car’s seatbelt. For older children, booster seats without side supports are also available.
- Make sure that the car-seat is compatible with your car. If in doubt, consult both the seat manufacturer and the car manufacturer. It would also be advisable to ask the shop assistant to show you how the seat is installed in the car and how the child is secured using the harness on the day of the purchase. This way you will also be able to realise how much space the seat takes in your car. Also, do not fail to study the car-seat’s instruction manual.
- Make sure that the car-seat is securely fastened in your car.
- The car-seat must always be placed in the back seat of the car. However, if you wish to place it in the front seat, you must definitely deactivate your car’s passenger airbag. If you do not know how, consult your car maker. This is particularly important because if the airbag tears open, then it can endanger the life of a small child sitting in the special car-seat.
- Secure your children tightly but comfortably in their seat.
- Check the seat and the seatbelts holding the seat secure in its place regularly for possible damages.
- Cover the car-seat when your car is exposed to the sun because if the metallic parts of the seat overheat, they might cause burns to the child.
- Change the car-seat regularly. You will know that it is too small for your child if the child no longer fits in it or if the child’s head overhangs the back of the seat.
- Never transfer the child anywhere, not even for one metre, without the child being safely fastened in the seat.
- Never transfer the child sitting in the front passenger’s seat.
- Never fasten the child using the car seatbelt.
- In no way should you ever tamper with the seatbelts keeping the car-seat secure in its place.
- Never leave the child unattended in the car, not even for one second.
- Older children (over the age of 12) must be fastened during every journey using the car seatbelts. Make sure, however, that the upper part of the seatbelt is placed along the chest and not along the neck of the child and that the lower part of the belt passes through the ischium and the thigh. Should you notice that the seatbelt is not appropriate for your child, buy a seat booster even if your child is older than 12 years old.
- Set a good example. The seatbelt can save your life. So, before setting out, fasten your seatbelt and do not unfasten it before you reach your destination.