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​Tips and rules for transporting children

Understand once and for all the rules for driving your kids with maximum safety

May 13, 2019 - There are laws and rules for transporting children in cars, and everyone knows that. But not everyone driving with little ones actually understands these recommendations, which are the key to increasing traffic safety, especially for children. There are still many accidents due to lack of information, assumptions and inaccuracies. The solution starts with you. Let's see if you have been following the rules correctly.

When transporting children, almost all safety measures relate to child seats. Size and design vary according to the child's age, height and weight. When purchasing a seat, it's important to see if it has the seal of approval required by the country where it's sold. It's this certification that ensures that the product meets all safety standards. It is also necessary to ensure that the model is compatible with the vehicle used and, ideally, be tested before. "Depending on the car and the model of the car seat chosen, it may not work due to space limitations and occupancy in the back seat, even when compatible", said Vilson Tolfo, FCA regulation and homologation manager for Latin America.

The most common seats are still the ones attached with the seat belt. But there are safer ones, such as those with Latch and Isofix systems, especially developed to hold seats more easily and safely, and reduce the chances of setting them wrongly, which is very common. "The very structure of the Latch and Isofix seats is more robust as well. Therefore, they are more expensive. But it's worth the investment", says Vilson. The difference between the Latch system and the Isofix are the connectors for attachment. "The Latch system uses strips with hooks and Isofix has metal rods", Vilson explains. Both also feature a superior anchorage. To use such a seat, both the vehicle and the seat must have the same system. FCA's new models, such as the Fiat Argo, Cronos and Toro, and the Jeep Compass and Renegade models come with the support for both types of seats.

Fiat Cronos rear seats, with support for two Isofix seats.Fiat Cronos rear seats, with support for two Isofix seats.

Since 2015, Latin American countries have been adhering to these systems. Today, all new cars sold in Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay need to have one of these systems. In Chile, any new project must meet these standards since 2017 and, in Brazil, since 2018 (by 2020 it will be a requirement for all new models).

Each model is different, so it's worth following the instructions manual and search for videos on the internet that show how to install them correctly. If necessary, get help from a friend who already knows how to do it. Always make sure that the seat is in the correct position and firmly fixed.

Let's look at the standards recommendations of most countries. We used the Brazilian legislation as a reference, since it follows internationally accepted norms:

1. Babies 0 to 1 year old (up to 9 kg): should be transported in the back in a car seat, facing the back. That is, the baby should be sitting in the opposite direction from the rest of the passengers, looking at the rear window. This ensures greater safety in case of an accident, since at this age they still do not have a very firm neck. No need to tighten the baby with the seatbelt, but it does need to be firm enough so there is no risk of sliding out.

2. Children between 1 and 4 years old (9-18 kg): must fit in the appropriate seat for their age/height/weight, secured in the back seat with the seatbelt or Latch/Isofix system and facing forward. Make sure that the seatbelt itself is properly installed and buckled.

3. Children between 4 and 7½ years (18-36 kg): should be in the back seat of the car, using a booster seat secured by a three-point seatbelt. The booster seat ensures that the seatbelt does not go across the child's neck. If this occurs, it's a sign that the child should go back to using the car seat.

4. Children between 7½ years and 10 years old (36 kg): don't need the booster seat, as long as they are more than 1.45m tall. But they still have to be in the back seat, and of course, wear a seatbelt like all the other passengers.

5. Children over 10 years of age: If they are more than 1.45m tall, they can sit in the front seat, but of course, using a seatbelt. Nevertheless, as the rear seat is safer, it is recommended to use it whenever possible.

Each car seat model has a different weight limit, which must also be respected. In cars that do not have a rear seat (such as a single cabin pickup, for example), the Brazilian law allows children to ride in the front seat, provided that the same safety measures, detailed above are followed, plus one more: the passenger’s front seat airbag must be disabled.

In addition to the above rules, it is essential that the doors and windows closer to the child are properly locked so that there is no risk of someone accidentally or maliciously opening them.

Drivers who do not comply with the law and endanger the safety of children will incur a fine, according to the local traffic code. In Brazil, breaching any of the rules for transporting children is a "serious infraction", which generates 7 points on your driver’s license, a fine of R$ 293.47 and vehicle retention until the irregularity is corrected.

Words: Daniel Schneider

Pictures: Marketing

Art: Fabricio Moura

This content is part of the participation of our FCA Latam Stories’ website for the Yellow May Awareness month of 2019. The Yellow May Awareness month is a global movement among governments, business entities and the civil society, to draw attention to the importance of traffic safety. Check out the other contents here and here.

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