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What is ISOFIX and does my car have it?

ISOFIX is the safest way to fit a child seat into your car – but how does it work and what cars offer it? 

An ISOFIX car seat anchor point

What is ISOFIX?

ISOFIX stands for ‘International Standard Organisation Fix’ and allows you to safely secure child and baby seats into your car.

In the UK, ISOFIX has been a legal requirement in all new cars since 2014, but some older cars also include the feature – just look out for the ISOFIX car seat labels on your seats.

ISOFIX child seats come with anchoring points that fit into the designated slots in your car, and easily lock into place to ensure your car seat is safe and secure.

Does my car have ISOFIX?

If your car was made during or after 2014, then it’s likely that it will have ISOFIX car seat points.

Two-seater models are the exception to the rule and are not required to have ISOFIX points, but some do still include them.

The Mazda MX-5 and Porsche Boxster now offer models with ISOFIX in the front passenger seat, but check the exact model to be sure if you’re looking to purchase.

If you’re looking to buy a car on cinch and need ISOFIX car seat points, take a look at the ‘Car features’ section to make sure models have ISOFIX car seat points if you need them.

You can also take a look at your car’s handbook to find details on the ISOFIX car seat points.

What is an ISOFIX car seat and how do you fit them?

An ISOFIX carseat is a specific child seat to use in a vehicle that locks directly into the anchor points. Non-ISOFIX carseats are usually secured by the car's seatbelt.

It’s usually straightforward to fit a car seat into your vehicle’s ISOFIX points, but make sure you reference the seat’s instruction manual to ensure you’re getting the safest and most secure fit. All seats are different, so it’s important you look at the individual guidance.

Usually, fitting an ISOFIX car seat can be done in a few simple steps:

  1. Locate the ISOFIX child seat point in your car and line up the metal jaws that are attached to ISOFIX car seats and bases

  2. Push the jaws into the ISOFIX point until you hear a click. This means that jaws have closed and are locked into the anchor points

  3. Check the seat’s visual indicators to make sure the seat is properly fitted

  4. The seat may also have a foot or a top tether that is there for added support. The foot will usually need to be extended to the floor with no underfloor storage, or the top tether must be pulled over the top of the seat and secured into the dedicated mounting point

  5. Give the seat a test by pulling the internal harness

Remember – always check the manufacturer instructions for any car seat you are fitting into your vehicle.

A smiling baby being strapped into an ISOFIX carseat

Is ISOFIX safer?

ISOFIX is safer to use than traditional seatbelt securing methods if you follow the instructions for the correct fitting.

ISOFIX secures the seat into place and keeps it locked into position unlike seatbelt, which still allow for sliding and movement – especially in a collision.

Seatbelts can still be a safe way of securing a child seat, but there’s a chance they may not be fitted correctly or as rigidly as the ISOFIX fixing.

The larger room for error with seatbelt fitment can make them a less secure choice, while ISOFIX seats are easier to fit properly.

Types of ISOFIX car seats

There are three types of ISOFIX car seats on offer that can be fitted to the points in your car.

  • Universal ISOFIX seats: fit all new cars, with a supporting foot or top tether to keep seat secure

  • Semi-universal ISOFIX seats: the same as universal seats but might not fit all cars, so check before purchasing

  • Vehicle-specific ISOFIX seats: these are specific to certain cars (as you may have guessed by the name)

Which cars have more than two ISOFIX points?

You’ll usually find that most modern cars have two ISOFIX car seat points, but this can be a pain if you want to have more child seats securely fitted at the same time.

The Peugeot 3008 is a brilliant family car that offers three ISOFIX points and received a full five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, so it’s ideal for travelling with kids.

For an electric option, the Nissan Leaf also offers three ISOFIX points and bootspace of up to 435 litres, depending on the model.

For something a bit flashy, the Land Rover Discovery offers five ISOFIX car seat points with a very spacious cabin. This is the one to pick if you like a premium feel as well as plenty of space.

Learn more about driving with kids: