Can you use any isofix base with any car seat?
Can you use any ISOfix base with any car seat? This is a common question about ISOfix car seats, and the answer is simple: no. Bases can only be used with the same brand car seat that the manual states is compatible. All ISOfix bases are not alike, with different features like:
  • Those with a top tether
  • Those with a support leg
  • Those without any third point
The three distinct types of ISOfix bases are the Universal, Semi-Universal and Vehicle-Specific. Let's look at this car seat type in more detail. What is an ISOfix car seat? ISOfix is a popular method of securing a child's car seat - an alternative to using the classic seat belt method. It covers infant group and toddler group car seats, with a mechanism that involves two 'crocodile-like' clips that anchor the seat to corresponding u-shaped metal clips. These mount to the chassis of the vehicle, making them very secure, and come in standardised sizes. Are ISOfix car seats safer than belted ones? Child restraints are intended to protect your child by holding them in place in the event of a car crash. They absorb some of the force and control the way the body moves to prevent or reduce injury. Crash testing shows a negligible difference between using an ISOfix car seat and one properly installed with seatbelts. Some variants outperform their counterparts on both sides. The key is that the car seat must be properly installed to get the maximum benefit from its safety features, and belted car seats have more opportunities for error during installation. ISOfix car seats include indicators that let you know if they are not installed properly - something their belted counterparts lack. They also make the installation very simple across different vehicles and car seat types. An incorrectly installed car seat is not a safe seat, and ISOfix car seats are much less likely to be installed incorrectly. ISOfix variations: the third anchorage point In the event of a crash, a child seat can pivot slightly on the ISOfix arms. This is dangerous, so many ISOfix seats include a third anchorage point to add extra safety. It comes in the form of a top tether or support leg. The top tether This is a strong fabric strap attached to the top of the car seat. It has a hook on the end that connects to a bracket at the rear of the vehicle seat, often behind the headrest. If your car seat has a Top Tether, it should always be used. If you are considering buying a car seat with a top tether strap, check that your car has the necessary anchor as not all cars do. The support leg The alternative third anchorage point is the support leg. This helps brace the car seat against the vehicle's floor to offer additional support in the event of a crash. The leg extends from the base of the car seat to the floor behind it. This leg prevents the car seat moving forward or tipping over. It is generally easier to install correctly than a Top Tether, and includes red/green indicators to tell you whether it has been installed correctly. They are only usable when the car floor is solid with no under-floor storage compartments. Can you use any ISOfix base with any car seat? There are several different types of ISOfix system, and this is why ISOfix bases are not compatible with all ISOfix car seats. Universal ISOfix car seats These car seats have three anchor points. They are the two standard ISOfix latches plus an additional Top Tether strap that clips behind the back of the seat. Most newer cars include all the necessary anchorage points to accommodate this but check that your car is compatible with Universal ISOfix before you buy one. Semi-universal ISOfix car seats These have the two standard ISOfix latches and a third one that is usually a support leg rather than a Top Tether. The support leg is there for the same reason that the Top Tether would be - to stop the car seat from rotating or moving in a crash. It is important to check that your vehicle is suitable for using a semi-universal ISOfix car seat before you commit to purchasing. Vehicle-specific ISOfix car seats As you might guess, these seats are specifically designed and tested for certain cars. They include special design features that are only compatible with that type of car. Do not attempt to install one of these car seats in a different vehicle as it will not be safe and may not fit at all. Is my car compatible with ISOfix? Most cars manufactured after 2001 are fitted with ISOfix points in the UK. The best way to be sure is to examine the back and front seats of your car yourself. Many cars now have a little indicator to tell you that an ISOfix bracket is present. If you cannot see an indicator, that doesn't necessarily mean that you don't have the brackets. Check manually by running your hand under the space where the back of the chair joins to the seat. Somewhere near the corners, you should be able to feel some metal, u-shaped brackets. These are the anchors that the ISOfix base connects to. If you are still uncertain, consult your vehicle's manual or look at the manufacturer's website for information about your car's specifications. The bottom line Once again, the answer to the question 'Can you use any ISOfix base with any car seat?' is a definite 'No'. There are many different types of ISOfix bases from different brands, all aimed at connecting with different seats, and belted car seats lack the necessary components to connect to an ISOfix base. The best advice is to give lots of thought to your car seat purchase. We supply compatible products from top brands and can offer plenty of expert advice to help your decision-making. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us and we will do our utmost to help.
Car seatsIsofix base