Friday, 4 October 2013

child car seats a parents guide

Buying a car seat for your child can be very confusing, having looked around the internet for an easy to follow guide I came up with nothing, so this is my guide to car seats.  

By law your child MUST be using a car seat or booster seat until 12 years old or when they are 135cm tall.  There are many different types of seats available for our little ones and it looks rather confusing choosing between them.

Here are the available types of seats and when you should use them

Group 0+ car seats (these fall into the Stage 1 catergory of child seats)

  • rear facing
  • for use only in the back of the car
  • suitable from birth up until your child is 12/15 months old
  • up to 13kgs/29lbs
  • protection for baby's head, neck and spine

These are for your newborn baby, up until around 12 months old, they should only be fitted in the back of your car, as an airbag may crush your child in the event of an accident.

There are two ways that these seats fit into your car, the standard type that uses the sealt belt to secure it and the type that use a base that is fitted to your car and you simply click the seat in and out.

(Please note that Group 0 car seats are no longer made)


Group 1 car seats (Stage 2 )

  • can be forward or rearward facing
  • the integral harness protects your child from injury and the strap that goes in between their legs prevents them sliding out of the seat
  • suitable from around 9 months up to 3.5 years
  • from 9 kg to 18kg
These car seats can be used either way in your car but the advice is that it is much safer to have it facing the back of the car.  These can be used in the passenger seat.  There are seats in this group that can recline, which is better if your child likes to fall asleep in the car.


Group 2 car seats (stage 3)

  •  forward facing
  •  Booster seat with side impact protection
  •  can have integral harness or use car seat belt
  •  suitable from around 3 years upto around seven years
  •  from 15 kg to 25kg 
These car seat are effectively a booster seat with side impact protection.  Some can be turned into a booster seat when the back is taken off.


  Group 3 car seats (stage 4)

  • forward facing
  • High backed or normal booster seat
  • use car seat belt
  • suitable from 22kgs up to 36kgs
  • from 6 to 12 years old.


The general advice for choosing a car seat for your child is that you should only move up to the next stage of car seat when your child reaches the maximum weight or their head is above the top of the seat.  

Always check that the seat fits into your car. some are different widths and sizes and may not fit in certain types of car.

Most retailers will fit the seats for free into your car.

Always check that the seat is position correctly and that it is secured before any journey.

We have put together a car seat comparison that should help when choosing your child's next car seat

car seats which one ?

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