Isofix Vs Seatbelt: Which is Safer

Since its introduction in the late 1990s, ISOFIX has been installed on nearly every new vehicle sold in the world. Isofix isn’t available in several two-seat vehicles, however, popular models like the Porsche Boxster and Mazda MX-5 feature an Isofix mount on their single front passenger seat. Therefore, even young children can enjoy a sports car with an open top.

When choosing a child restraint for a vehicle, ISOFIX-compatible child car seats are not necessarily safer than the conventional seatbelt-retaining system, according to NEW Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) scores. The most common method for installing a child seat in your automobile is Isofix. This wasn’t always the case, and Isofix is a relatively recent invention in the history of the automobile, but it has quickly gained popularity to the point where almost every new car sold today is Isofix-compatible.

This article will explore ISOFIX vs. seatbelts and provide an answer to the subject of whether ISOFIX is superior to seatbelts.

What is ISOFIX?

An international standard for fastening a child seat to a car seat is known as Isofix. It was developed by the International Organization for Standardization and is known as UCSSS (Universal Child Safety Seat System) in Canada and LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) in the US.

The standard provides instructions on how to install child seat anchoring points in a vehicle. These points are typically located near the apex of the seat, between the squab of the seat (the part you sit on) and the backrest. Instead of being fastened by the vehicle’s three-point seatbelt, a pair of mounting points are used to attach a child seat.

Since its introduction in the late 1990s, ISOFIX has been installed on nearly every new vehicle sold in the world. Isofix isn’t available in several two-seat vehicles, however, popular models like the Porsche Boxster and Mazda MX-5 feature an Isofix mount on their single front passenger seat. Therefore, even young children can enjoy a sports car with an open top.

What is an Isofix Support Leg?

Baby Car Seat 2
Source: Pinterest

Many infant car seats are used with an Isofix base, which can be purchased separately or permanently installed in your vehicle. The infant car seat is simply clicked on and off. The base will make use of a support leg that extends from the base of the seat to the floor of the vehicle and locks into place. It is intended to stop your child’s car seat from moving forward during a collision. The majority of car seats and seat bases with support legs include a visual cue, such as a green or red indicator, or an auditory cue that will bleep at you if the leg is positioned correctly or not long enough.

Your car’s underfloor storage compartments can prevent you from using a seat with a support leg. This is due to the fact that a car seat cannot be supported in an accident by an underfloor storage compartment’s cover. Some automobiles might permit the use of a support leg resting on a subfloor storage area. It is crucial that you find out what the car manufacturer suggests and use a fit finder to make sure each car seat is compatible with the make and model of your vehicle.

Do all automobiles have ISOfix?

The Volkswagen Golf IV was the first automobile to feature Isofix in 1997. Isofix has been a requirement for all new cars since 2004 and is now present on at least some of the back seats. Since the end of 2012, most cars include top-tether anchor points for child car seats.

Benefits of ISOFIX

More than half of all car seats are placed incorrectly, which is a depressing number. That many infants and kids are being transported in car seats that won’t function properly in an accident. Contrary to popular belief, having your car seat professionally installed is not legally required in Australia. Therefore, the more you know about safe installation, the more at ease you’ll feel when carrying your most priceless cargo. Because Isofix is so easy to install and has indicator lights to let you know when you have the right fitting, many parents prefer it.

Cons of ISOFIX

  • Not all automobiles have ISOfix. To see if yours does, see the list of fittings for cars.
  • Less flexibility is provided with Isofix chairs that can’t be installed using a seat belt.
  • Because of the structure and strengthened materials required to make it extremely safe, Isofix chairs are frequently more expensive than belt-based seats.
  • It’s not always the case, but an Isofix seat typically weighs more than a belt-based seat.

Benefits of Seatbelt

Baby Car Seat 3
Source: Unsplash

Isofix has advantages, but it doesn’t mean that if you opt to install your car seats using a seat belt installation, you are endangering your kids in any way. In truth, seat belt-fitted seats are highly safe when placed properly and in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. The ease with which a seat can be switched between different cars is one of the major advantages of a seat belt installation. Whether the automobile you are switching to has Isofix fittings or not, you will be able to install a seat belt properly because you are accustomed to doing so.

If you decide to install a seat belt, be sure to avoid some typical seat belt installation mistakes, such as:

  • Not securing the vehicle seat by pulling the belt tightly enough (if you try moving the car seat side to side, it should not move more than 2.5cm).
  • Twisting the harness, tether, or seat belt straps.
  • incorrect belt positioning in a convertible car seat.
  • not using the installation’s recommended recline.

Cons of Seatbelt

  • When utilizing a seat belt, up to eight out of ten unskilled parents wrongly install their child’s car seat. This significantly lessens the level of crash protection provided to your child. So in Isofix vs Seatbelts crash test Isofix stands as the winner. Installing car seats with seat belts take longer than installing them with ISOFIX.
  • The most frequent errors involve leaving the belt twisted or not tightening the belt tight enough. If the vehicle seat does not have a clear opening for the seat belt, it is also simple to make a mistake.

Can you add an Isofix system plus a seat belt to double safety?

It’s uncommon to also attach a car seat using the seat belt in a vehicle when using an Isofix. Although doing both could be appealing, it’s typically advised against it because the seats aren’t tested while doing both, and the manufacturers can’t ensure you won’t impair safety.

Some seats will let you choose between installing an Isofix (or latch) or a seat belt. These are advantageous because you have a choice and can decide on an installation strategy that maintains your seat more sturdy. Nevertheless, booster seats are an exception to this general norm. The seat is stabilized with Isofix, and your child and their seat are secured together by the car belt for enhanced security.

Is ISOFIX safer than a seatbelt?

Baby Car Seat 4
Source: Google

Is Isofix better than a seatbelt? Let’s look at a few points to answer the question to answer the Isofix safety vs seatbelt safety debate. Using an Isofix child seat instead of a three-point belt-connected one has a number of advantages. The main advantages are simplicity and a far lower possibility of installing the seat incorrectly. Before Isofix became commonplace, it was discovered that parents frequently installed child seats improperly. This might potentially reduce the safety of the seat, providing the youngster with less protection and restraint in a collision.

Contrarily, child seats with Isofix are much easier to install and frequently have red and green parts to indicate if they are installed properly or wrongly. They often just slide into the anchor points at the seat’s base and lock into place with a comforting click.

The child has held more securely in place during an accident thanks to Isofix’s easier installation and sturdier connection with the car seat, especially if the vehicle is damaged from the side. An Isofix will not move left or right during such an incident, unlike a seat that is belt-restrained, and will remain in place.

Although Isofix offers a more secure connection, more stability, and protection in a side-on collision, it makes sense to choose a seat (and car) with Isofix. Parents can still use child seats that attach using the seat belt.


We hope that after examining some of the advantages and disadvantages of ISOFIX and seatbelt child safety seats and now you can settle the car seat Isofix vs seatbelt debate. You can pick the option that best suits your needs. Just make sure they are placed correctly. Check everything three times if you ever transfer the seats between vehicles. 

Try giving it a good, strong shrug to see if it responds. For high-quality and reasonably priced car seats as well as other infant supplies, contact the River Baby Group.

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