The baby- safe ISOFIX
of modern passenger vehicles and offers an alternative to securing safety seats with just the vehicle’s seat belts – which allows a lot of lateral movement. “The nice thing about the ISOFIX (system) is that it’s solid, you can’t move it around,” says Niël Burger, who deals with new vehicle sales at Land Rover Cape Town. It’s a sad reality that South Africa has quite a high rate of child deaths as a result of traffic accidents. According to the World Health Organisation, 348 child passengers were killed in traffic accidents between 2008 and 2011 in South Africa, and in the Western Cape road accident fatalities included 146 passengers under the age of 14. Seventyeight of those children were discovered outside of the vehicle – a clear indication that they were not restrained. The new regulations require that all children between the ages of three and fourteen, except where the child is taller than one and a half meters, use a child restraint in the form of an infant or booster safety seat, or wear a seat belt in the absence of a safety seat. The system covers both Group 0 (rear facing baby seat from birth to six or nine months, or between zero and 10kg), Group 0+ (forward and rear facing baby seat from birth to 12 or 15 months, or between zero and 18kg), and Group 1 (forward facing child seat for ages nine months to four years, or nine to 18kg) child safety seats and is designed to secure a maximum combined weight, of both seat and child, of approximately 29.5kg. The rear-facing infant seat has been dubbed the ‘orphan seat’ as a result of children safely restrained in these devices often being the sole survivors of severe traffic collisions. The ISOFIX rear-facing infant seat works together with a base which remains secure in the car while the infant carrier can easily, but securely, be inserted and removed so as not to disturb the baby. “Following this there is then ISOFIT, where a seat is fitted to the same anchoring points, and the child is restrained using the vehicle’s seatbelt,” says Burger. The ISOFIT system is for Group 2 (High-back booster seat for ages four to six years, or 15 to 25kg) and Group 3 (boosted cushion for ages six to 11 years, or 22 to 36kg) seats, which anchor to the vehicle using the same three attachment points. The ISOFIT allows the child to be held into the seat using the vehicle’s existing seat belt system. Transport Minister, Dipuo Peters, has urged all parents to invest in child car seats saying that no amount of money will be worth the life of the child. The ISOFIX-base will cost upwards of R1 399 and the accompanying Group 0/0+ seats will cost upwards of R2 300.