The Group 1/2/3 seat is used from nine months through to 12 years old or up to 1.35 metres or four foot five inches in height. Before using a Group 1/2/3 seat a child must be at least 9kg or 20lb and be able to sit up unaided.
The seat includes red belt guides and a standard compliance sticker showing the two weight classes. The seat will also have a guidance sticker showing how the seatbelt is guided in Group 1, 9kg – 18kg and Group 2/3, 15kg-36kg.
When fitting in the Group one stage, follow from the pictures on the side of the seat showing the Group 1 status of where the belts are situated. A good routine is very handy when fitting this type of seat as it can make fitting a lot easier and quicker when in a vehicle. With practice this type of seat can be fitted in just a few seconds. Generally need some body weight when fitting it to get it nice and tight. To check that it is sufficiently tight, always look for a flick test down at the beginning. Also look for good anchorage on both sides of the seat, looking for the belt to be pulling rearwards. Also, on the buckle side, looking for buckle crunch, ensuring the buckle hasn’t travelled too far up the seat and starting to bend over and cause a problem.
To start using the seat as Group 2/3, the child must be at least 15kg and will normally be around 3 ½ to 4 years old. Group 1 stage can be used up through to a maximum of 18kg so don’t rush the child into using the adult seat belt. Group 1/2/3's come in two different forms when looking at the 2/3 status, some like this one will continue through and continue growing utilising the head and body protection all the way through as a high back booster seat. Others, at around about 6 years old, will separate to become just a booster cushion.
On both types of products, we will see that we have got red markings indicating how the belt should be used through the relevant different groupings. Looking on this one there is the same thing showing the Group 2/3 stage where the belt should go, showing again the red guiders at the top and bottom.
Care should be taken to ensure that the lap belt section is correctly positioned underneath the arms on the booster cushion, ensuring it passes across the lap pelvic area rather than across the stomach. Some Group 2/3 booster cushions they don’t come with a guide strap this can mean that the diagonal seatbelt will sit too close to the child’s neck and throat area. Ideally look for the diagonal seatbelt to be sited in the middle of the child’s chest and to the side of the child’s shoulder. If the booster cushion hasn’t got a guide strap and the position of the belt is too close to the child’s neck, need to look to getting a high back booster cushion where the diagonal belt is guided through a guide strap ensuring the correct position of the belt through the centre of the chest and to the side of the child’s shoulder.
Make sure your child is the correct age and weight to use each seat. Use the guidance sticker to fit the car seat correctly. Make sure the seatbelt is tight by pushing down on the seat whilst pulling the belt through. Check the anchor point and buckle position are correct and the headrest is in the right position. Make sure the lap belt section is fitted under the arms across the pelvic area and not the stomach. Use a guide strap if available to direct the diagonal part of the seatbelt away from the neck and throat. If this is not possible, you need a high back booster seat.
Remember when a child seat is not being used, place it in the boot or fasten it down to prevent it causing an injury in a collision.