How to install an ISOFIX car seat
Finally on-sale in Australia, ISOFIX car seats are easier to install correctly than child seats relying on seatbelts alone. Here’s how to install an ISOFIX child car seat.
AUSTRALIAN PARENTS had been waiting for ISOFIX child car seats for years, excited by the notion of being able to fit their child’s car seat quickly, easily and securely each and every time. Then, late last year, the Australian Design Rules were changed making it legal to buy and fit ISOFIX child car seats. But, there was a … but to all of that.
The change to the rules doesn’t mean you can simply hop online and order an ISOFIX car seat from overseas. Nope, the seat still has to meet the specific Australian Design Rules and, so far, only Maxi-Cosi and Britax have released product meeting the required standards. Maxi-Cosi hit the market first with Britax (which released an ISOFIX car seat co-designed with Holden) following shortly afterwards.
We’ve been testing the Maxi-Cosi and will feature a review of it shortly, but the aim of this article is to explain how to install a forward-facing ISOFIX child car seat. It’s not necessarily as straightforward as you might think. ISOFIX mounts. The first thing to do is locate the ISOFIX mounting points which are usually down at the bottom of the seat where the seat back meets the seat base. If your car has ISOFIX mounting points you’ll see them easily enough as they’re usually labelled with the word ISOFIX. We’re used a Subaru XV to install the seat and its mounting points are hidden behind two little flaps; one on each side of the seat (see picture). The XV is able to take two ISOFIX child car seats, some cars, like the Commodore, have three ISOFIX mounting points across the back seat. ISOFIX seatbelts. On either side of your ISOFIX child car seat you’ll find a belt with a latch. Locate your child seat so that you can access the ISOFIX mounting point and then take one of the ISOFIX belts and latch it onto the car seat proper. You’ll here the ISOFIX seatbelt click when its locked. Then reach over and attach the other side. Green is good. Once you’ve latched the two ISOFIX seatbelts into place you’ll notice an indicator on the belt that will show a red band. Grab the strap and tighten the seatbelt until the indicator band shows green. Then repeat the process on the other side. It took me about five minutes of mucking around to get both indicators to go green (they kept showing a slither of red) and I ended up having to put my entire body weight onto the seat to tighten the ISOFIX belts to get a solid green band. Top tether. Taking the top tether strap, latch it onto its mounting point which can either be up on the roof of the car, on the back of the rear seat or up on the parcel shelf, depending on your vehicle. After you’ve latched the top tether strap double-check that there’s no slack and that the indicator on the ISOFIX belts are green.