1. Baby
  2. Parenting
  3. Child safety
  4. Baby car safety
  5. Restrain the right way

Restrain the Right Way

A new little person has entered the world; in to your life. It’s an exciting experience for most although the new routines can feel almost overwhelming at times.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to plan well in advance for that first journey home.

Secure and Stable

Right from the start, your baby needs to have his or her own baby seat – properly anchored, correctly fitted and facing the rear of the car.

When you will need to move on to the next child seat will depend on the type of seat you start with. When the baby has grown so its head reaches the top end of its seat or beyond, the time has come to change to a bigger seat.

Heavy Head, Weak Neck

The head of a new born baby makes up half the total body weight.

This oversized head – in conjunction with not fully developed neck vertebrae, muscles and ligaments – makes the baby’s neck a weak point.

When forward-facing in a frontal impact, the body is restrained by the safety belt while the head moves forward and puts load on the neck.

Depending on crash severity and size of the child, this load can be fatal. Therefore, a newborn baby should always be placed facing rearward in the car.

A child in a rearward-facing child seat is approximately 90% less likely to be injured in an accident compared to an unrestrained child.

Young Children

Energetic and individual and equipped with strong will and emotions, smaller children are great fun but can be a handful. Not least in cars.

Once seated, they normally look forward to the drive. Just remember though, they should remain in a child restraint for as long as possible.

Although growing up fast, older children still need support in the car. Booster cushions give them a safe and comfortable ride until they are ready for the adult seat.

Booster Seats for Peace of Mind

Children, who have outgrown child seats should use a booster seat. The main reason for using a booster cushion is not to help the child to enjoy a better view, but rather to achieve the right belt geometry.

The booster gives the child an increased height and directs the safety belt over the stronger parts of the body during an accident. The less slack, the better the belt will protect your child.

1. Never place the torso belt under the arm or behind the back;
2. The diagonal section of the belt should sit firmly across the shoulder and chest. It does not matter if the belt touches the neck;
3. The lap section of the belt must always be worn as low down as possible and not across the stomach;
4. Remove any slack after you have fastened the child’s safety belt.

Restrain the Right Way

Research shows that it doesn’t matter if the belt is partly on the child’s neck. It may not look very comfortable, but it certainly won’t strangle the child if there is an accident.

The risk is much greater if the diagonal belt is worn too far out on the shoulder. This could allow it to slip further down the arm in the event of an accident.

The child should never travel with the diagonal belt under both arms. In a crash, the child would be thrown further forward, with the risk of hitting some part of the car interior.

At a speed of only 40km/h, a child who normally weighs only 30kg will suddenly weight the equivalent of one tonne in the event of a collision with an unyielding object. If that child is unrestrained in the back seat, he or she risks serious injury or even death if the car collides head-on. Using a booster cushion and safety belt, the runs an approximately 75 per cent lower risk of being injured compared to being unrestrained.

This car safety information has been provided by Volvo. Safety is as important to Volvo today as it was over 80 years ago when the company was first founded. Volvo’s commitment to safety has culminated in one clear vision called ‘Mobility 2020’. Visit the Volvo website to find out more.

For more information see Child car safety FAQs