Last week, we kicked off our three-part public safety video series – created in collaboration with Proton – on child safety seats, looking at why these items are one of the most important things to get for your car. Today, we’ll tell you how to choose the right seat for your child, as well as how to install them properly.

Yesterday’s tragic accident on the North-South Expressway – in which a three-month-old baby was killed – highlights the dangers of improper child seat installation. Although a seat was found at the scene of the accident, it was thrown out of the car, and was not initially noticed by a passerby who was lending help.

Before we get to installing the seat, however, you need to be aware of the kind of seat to purchase, depending on the height and weight of your child. It should also be noted if your car comes with just seat belts, or dedicated ISOFIX child seat anchors that make installation much easier, with a lower margin of error – although an ISOFIX seat is more expensive than one that is only designed to be secured with a seat belt.

Then there’s the matter of actually fitting the seat securely into place. Although the methods can vary significantly from seat to seat (always closely follow the instruction manual), there are a few universal tips.

Firstly, make sure that the child is seated in a rear-facing position for as long as possible. Only when the child reaches the maximum weight limit of the seat should they move to a forward-facing seat, as this gives them the best possible protection in most accidents.

The seat itself needs to be secured properly – using a seat belt, make sure that the belt is pulled as tightly as possible to ensure a snug fit, while users of ISOFIX seats need to ensure that the installation markers are green, indicating that all connections are properly fitted. Lastly, secure your child using the safety harness, remembering to tighten the harness to keep them safely in the seat.

The most common mistakes made while using child safety seats include:

  • Child seat installed incorrectly or too loose – very common.
  • Inappropriate car seat for the child’s height and weight, i.e. three-year-old in an infant carrier, or in a booster seat.
  • Child seat installed, but child not buckled in or very loosely harnessed – either because child complained it’s too tight, or child unbuckled themselves.
  • Child harnessed, but seat not installed – parents thinking as long as the child is buckled in, they’re safe.
  • Incorrect harness slot used – certain seats require harness slot changes as the child grows.
  • Using damaged or expired car seats.

Remember to tick the above checklist before setting off, even for short journeys. Make sure both the child seat and the child are properly harnessed. The video above shows you what to look out for, and how it’s done. Let’s make it a habit, and share the video to raise awareness on proper child safety seat installation. If you missed it, you can also watch the video below to find out why child seats are important.

Proton is now offering a child safety seat worth RM1,000 at just RM299, with every purchase of a new Proton. The promotion is subject to stock availability and other terms and conditions.