ISOFIX child seats have been legal to use in Australia for more than a year now. Yet there is still a bit of confusion and here at CarAdvice we regularly field questions like - how does it work, do I have to swap from the old style seats, do I need to use the top tether?
Essentially, ISOFIX is a standardised method of installing child seats that doesn’t use the seatbelt.
ISOFIX has long been the norm in countries right across the world, the difference in Australia is that is we DO still need to use the top tether.
And yes, you can still use the traditional lap sash and top tether seat. You don’t have to go and buy one of the new ones – however there are some benefits worth considering.
They’re quick and easy to fit, a bonus when moving seats between vehicles. It’s hard to get it wrong, and it’s also highly unlikely that it would ever become unbuckled.
It’s this simple – line up ISOFIX attachments with symbols on seat, slide and click, look for green, push all the way back and give it a shake to check, then affix top tether and make sure its as tight as it can be.
Side impact testing has shown there’s less movement in these seats compared to the old style.
ISOFIX seats can also be used with the seatbelt, handy if you have to put it in an older car or one without ISOFIX points. Though you’ll find most new cars, like our Holden Captiva, have them these days.
The old system that we’ve been using for decades is a little harder and it is recommended that child seats of this type are professionally fitted and checked.
But lets face it, that’s not always convenient and it’s always a concern. Is the seat in properly? Is it as stable as it could be?
To fit these seats; feed the seatbelt through the correct path that should be clearly marked, remove any slack from the seatbelt then attach the top tether and tighten.
If you shake it, you can see the difference here. Though we recommend making the move to ISOFIX, it’s fine to use this system, but get it checked by the professionals.