As someone relatively new to fatherhood, I find myself occasionally humbled by the breadth of information that I am completely clueless about when it comes to raising a baby. Where is the best place to buy diapers? How many? What kind? Why am I only getting three hours of sleep a day? But perhaps the most important aspect that I recently had to educate myself on lately was the importance of child seats in a car.
The recent passage of Republic Act No. 11229, or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act means that carrying your child on your lap when travelling in a motor vehicle is no longer allowed. Likewise, no child under 12 years of age is allowed to sit in the front seat, unless they’re taller than 4’11”, or 150 centimeters. The meat of the new law, however, lies in the fact that all children must now use a child restraint system, otherwise known as a child seat, when travelling with your little ones.
Like a lot of new dads out there, child car seats were a completely foreign topic to me, so I asked for some help. The kind folks over at Maxi-Cosi from Richwell Philippines were gracious enough to give me a demonstration on how their range of child seats should be properly installed. They lent me four of their current models. For children ages 0-12 months, there’s the Citi Car Seat, which is a lightweight infant carrier; and its upgraded model, the CabrioFix Car Seat with extra padding and more positions. These seats are naturally positioned in a rear-facing position, which is recommended for children of this age. For children older and 1 year and up to 70 pounds, Maxi-Cosi has the Vello 70, and the next model up, the Pria 70 with Air Protect Side Impact Collision technology. Both of the larger seats can be positioned either forward or rearward facing.
Almost all brand-new cars sold today are equipped with the Isofix latches as standard which greatly improves the ease in which these child seats can be installed. I gathered a few representatives from some segments in the automotive industry to see what installing child seats on them would be like.
As Volkswagen’s compact sedan and the smallest car in this group, you’d think that the Volkswagen Lavida would struggle with a large child seat at the rear. But as it turns out, that couldn’t be further from the truth, with plenty of room available for two full-sized child seats with legroom to spare. The Volkswagen Lavida had easy-to-find Isofix anchors, plus a latch available behind the rear seats for easy access.
As expected from a practical compact carrier like the Suzuki Ertiga, it came fully equipped with Isofix latches in two seats at the second row, plus a latch located behind the seat itself. Even with two child seats installed, there is more than enough room for a third passenger to get cozy with the kids at the second row.
The BAIC BJ20 has an expansive second row, and that definitely came to play when installing the child seat. Even though this Special Edition BAIC BJ20 has leather seats, the Isofix anchors were easily accessible below the seats, and even our largest child seat, the Pria 70, didn’t seem to take up much space at all.
Being a dad doesn’t mean you have to give up the finer things in life, and I’ve yet to meet a dad who doesn’t want a Nissan GT-R in their garage. And yes, even a dedicated sports car like the GT-R comes equipped with Isofix latches and anchors as standard equipment. It takes a bit of effort getting the child seats to squeeze through the opening even with the front seats tilted all the way forward, but both small and large child seats fit snuggly. The Isofix latches come in handy here as it takes quite a bit of effort reaching into the back seats. The smaller child seats require seat belts to install, and that process isn’t as easy.
We’re lucky to be living in a time when our children’s safety is given top priority, and is fully supported by automotive manufacturers across their entire model range. Thankfully, even compact sedans are fully equipped to handle modern child seats, keeping our loved ones safer on the road.