Child car seats help keep your little one safe when out and about driving.
But the amount of choice, from different sizes to altogether different types and manufacturers can be overwhelming. We’re here to help!
Here are the top tips for choosing the best car seat for your little one to keep them safe when driving.
Understanding car seats
There are two different types of car seats:
This is based on weight and physical development. Age ranges are given for guidance.
This is based on height and provides protection from side impacts. These fit all i-Size ready cars and some ISOFIX cars.
Please check the seat is approved for your car before you buy.
Baby car seats
It’s safest for babies to travel rear-facing for as long as possible. Don’t move your baby to a forward-facing seat just because their feet press against the rear seat of your car.
It’s best to wait till they reach the weight limit, or the top of their head reaches the top of the baby seat.
Also, remember child car seats aren’t intended to be places for babies to sleep when you’re not travelling so move them to an alternative as soon as possible.
Always travel with your baby in the back seat where possible.
If it’s essential for them to be in the front seat, be sure the airbag is switched off.
Finally, it’s important to note that Group 0 seats are no longer as readily available.
Toddler car seats
When your baby has outgrown their baby car seat, they can be moved to one that’s front or rear-facing.
Some seats are designed to front-facing when your little one is 15 months. Rear-facing seats can be used till your little one is 105cm tall – or about 4 years old.
Rear-facing seats offer high levels of protection for your child’s neck, so the longer they travel in a rear-facing seat the safer are if anything happens.
Only move to a booster seat when their eye-line is above the back of the child seat, or the weight limit is reached.
Buying your car seat
We love second hand but buying used child car seats is not recommended.
This is because these may have been damaged in an accident and you wouldn’t be necessarily able to tell by looking at them.
If you do use a second-hand car seat, try to make sure you know its history and read the manufacturer’s instructions – also check nothing is damaged and no parts missing.
The car seat should be secure in the car. If it wobbles it’s either wrongly fitted on not suitable for your car.
If your car has ISOFIX attachments, consider buying an ISOFIX seat – click here for more information.
Try to find one that is quick and easy to fit into your car so that you use it every time you drive – even on short journeys.
Most booster seats grow with your child.
Booster seats are for children who weigh between 15kg and 36kg (from around 8 - 12 years old) – these are in Group II and Group III.
A high-backed booster seat offers the best protection for your little one.
It’s important to remember that adult seat belts don’t sit on children in the right place so can injure them in an accident.