Once children have outgrown a rearward-facing seat, the safest option is to use a group 1 forward-facing child seat with an internal harness. Children using these seats are much less likely to be injured in a crash than children who are using seat belts on their own, or even worse, are completely unrestrained.
Forward-facing child seats provide impact protection, and an integral three-point (or five-point) harness or an impact shield to hold the child in place.
Seats with a Harness
The straps help to spread the force of a crash over a wide area of their chest and pelvis and keep the shoulder straps on the child's shoulders.Take time to get your child comfortably strapped in and to make sure the harness is correctly adjusted. The top of the harness should be about 2cm above your child's shoulder. It should be quite tight, so that only one or two fingers can fit between the child's chest and the harness. The harness buckle should not rest over the child's tummy. Clothing can affect how snugly the harness fits, so check it every journey.
Many seats have an adjustable back which can be raised or lowered to suit the height of the child using it, and allows the height of the harness to be adjusted without having to unthread it from the seat. Others have slots in the back to adjust the height of the harness; you have to take it out of one set of slots and thread it through another set.
Seats with an Impact Cushion/Shield
Some seats have an impact shield or cushion, which is held in place by the car's three-point seat belt, instead of an internal harness. These seats also usually have an adjustable back or headrest which can be raised or lowered to suit the height of the child using it, according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Forward-facing child seats can be used in the front or rear of the car, but it is safer to put them in the rear, especially if there is a passenger airbag in the front.It is safest to keep children in this type of seat until they have outgrown it. Only move your child to a booster seat once they have exceeded the maximum weight for the forward-facing child seat, or when the manufacturer's advice recommends that they are too tall for the seat (usually this will be when the top of the seat is below the eye level of the child).