Does my car have ISOFIX?
ISOFIX is an international standard for attaching a car seat (child restraint) to your car, without the use of a seat belt. The system was developed by car seat manufacturer Britax-Romer and car maker VW, and was first released in 1997*. Most European cars from 2001 have ISOFIX installed. The rest of the world started using the system from around 2007 (US cars call it Latch). In Australia, ISOFIX didn't become standard until 2015**.
Is ISOFIX safer than seatbelt installation?
Yes, and no. Both methods of installation are very safe if they are done correctly. When car seats are installed using a seatbelt, up to 8 out of 10 inexperienced parents install the seat incorrectly. However, 94% of parents use ISOFIX correctly***. Furthermore, most ISOFIX seats come equipped with guides that will turn from red to green when the seat is connected, or an alarm will sound if the seat isn't installed correctly, reducing operator error.
So how do I decide if I should buy an ISOFIX or seatbelt install seat?
The best seat is the one that fits best in your car. In our experience, it is better to try before you buy to ensure that your car seat fits properly, with a good solid install, at the correct angle, and with enough leg room for the people sitting in the front. When you purchase a car seat, make sure that you have it professionally installed (the shop should be able to do that for you) and get them to show you how to do it so that you can switch the car seat between cars if you need to.
** From our own experience
*** Source: Maxi- Cosi