Car Seat Buying Guide


Car Seat Buying Guide

From the very moment your baby leaves hospital right up until they reach 135cm or under 12 years old, they will need to travel in a car seat for every journey. Obviously using a child car seat is the best way to keep your child safe in the event of an accident, but it’s also a legal requirement.

car seat buying guide

Confused about what you will need for your baby?

Choose an option below to get started & discover our Car Seat options

(Or read our Top Buying Tips)
Down

Infant Carriers - Infant carriers are portable baby car seats that you can use from birth. They fit into your car in the rearward facing position and can be removed easily and used to carry your baby. Most can be attached to the pram also as a part of a travel system making them a good choice for newborn babies.

 

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0 - 4 Years - Group 0+ 1 allows for your baby to be in the car from birth until 4 years old. Most are fixed in the car and offer a rotate option as they can be rearward facing of front facing. They are most likely fixed to an isofix base meaning that they cannot be removed from the car and placed not the pram. They are a great choice for parents who like using the carrycot or for a secondary car in the home.

 

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0 - 12 Years - Group 0,1,2 & 3 allow for the car seat to be used from birth all the way up to 12 years of age as they are able to grow with the child removing padding and extending parts to ensure that your child is comfortable and safe. Like the Group 0+ 1 they are likely fixed to a base and unable to be put onto a pram, again though they are an amazing option for a secondary vehicle and are normally amazing value for money as they are the only car seat you’ll need!

 

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9 Months - 4 Years - Group 1 car seats are great for once you have finished with your infant carrier. They normally allow for either front or rearward facing and are a great second stage car seat.

 

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9 Months - 12 Years - Group 1,2 & 3 car seats are much like the Group 1 car seat in that it is for after you are finished with the infant carrier. The key difference is that they allow for use to 12 years old and make for a great option as with such a large span of time they are great value for money.

 

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3 - 12 Years - Group 2 3 car seats are the next stage if you have bought an infant carrier then a Group 1 car seat. This is the next stage after them. These car seats are normally great value as they are usually only front facing and can be fixed by isofix and belt or belt alone.

 

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i-Size - i-Size is part of a new car seat regulation called R129. Introduced in 2013 it means that if your car is i-Sized approved, then any car seat with the i-Size logo attached will fit into your car and is done so via an isofix base. It is a good idea to see if your car has isofix ports in it and if they are easily accessible too.

The use of isofix bases means that there should be a reduced risk of fitting your car seat incorrectly as isofix bases and seats are generally easier to install than those that require a seat belt.

i-Size car seats use height to distinguish between which group you need to use for your child and have introduced side impact crash testing as another part of the approval process.

 

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Buying the best car seat.

Tip 1 +

Understand what car seat group you need.

By law, all children under 135cm tall or under the age of 12 need to have a car seat. There are 8 groups of car seat under the EU regulations and are tested to the fullest for safety, comfort, and ease of use meeting either of the required standards ECE R44 or ECE R129 (i-size).

It is recommended to keep a child rearward facing until the age of 15 months, below this age they are more vulnerable if there is a forceful impact and rearward facing car seats offer additional protection in the event of this happening.

A guide to finding your car seat group.

Group Child’s Weight* Approx Age Child’s Height**
0 Birth – 10kg/22lb Birth to 6 – 9 months 40 – 85cm
0+ Birth – 13kg/29lb Birth to 12 – 15 months 40 – 85cm
0+ 1 Birth – 18kg/40lb Birth to 4 years 40 – 105cm
0+, 1, 2, 3 Birth – 36kg/79lb Birth to 12 years 40 – 150cm
1 9 – 18kg/20 – 40lb 9 months to 4 years 85 – 105cm
1 2 9 – 25kg/20 – 55lb 9 months to 6 years 85 – 150cm
2 15 – 25kg/20 – 50lb 4 to 6 years 105 – 150cm
1, 2, 3 9 – 36kg/20 – 79lb 9 months to 12 years 85 – 150cm
2, 3 15 – 36kg/33 – 79lb 4 to 12 years 105 – 150cm
  *Applies to R44   **Applies to R129 (iSize)
Tip 2 +

Understanding i-Size

i-Size is part of a new car seat regulation called R129. Introduced in 2013 it means that if your car is i-Sized approved, then any car seat with the i-Size logo attached will fit into your car and is done so via an isofix base. It’s a good idea to see if your car has isofix ports in it and if they are easily accessible too.

The use of isofix bases means that there should be a reduced risk of fitting your car seat incorrectly as isofix bases and seats are generally easier to install than those that require a seat belt.

i-Size car seats use height to distinguish between which group you need to use for your child. This is a key difference between them and non i-Size car seats which use weight instead. They are not replacing weight-based car seats currently they are just another option for you to pick.

Another key feature of i-Size car seats is that they have introduced side impact crash testing as another part of the approval process. Which was not something that the older R44 models were required to pass, however many do still test this as an extra precaution.

Tip 3 +

How much should I spend on a car seat.

While you can spend anywhere between £20 and hundreds of pounds, we would advise that when it comes to a car seat, its better not to judge based solely on how cheap it is. Get the best car seat you can within your budget.

Which? test each car seat that they review and according to their own website, it is rare to find a car seat that is both cheap and provides enough protection to be deemed a Best Buy.

Our advice would be to look at the best possible car seat within your budget. We have models which are £200 and are made to do from birth to 4 years. This broken down is 13p a day for a car seat. Not bad value for money at all!

Tip 4 +

Try it in your car before deciding.

We allow for car seat fitting to see if it fits in your car. Its best to check the car seat and see which cars it fits into before you go ahead and buy it. This is because not all car seats fit into every car. Some cars have back seats that are at angles not suitable for certain car seats and the last thing you want Is to find the car seat you like, only to discover that it doesn’t fit into your car!

Most car seat manufacturer manuals can be found online and within them is usually a list of suitable cars. Its also a good idea to check if and where your isofix points are in your car. Most modern cars will have them but it is a good idea to check them, as if you have bought your car second hand, there may be a chance they have been damaged or not even have the points depending on its age.

All car seats in this country should be EU approved, so make sure this is visible on the car seat before you buy one online. This way you know that it is fully tested and legal.

Tip 5 +

Using a car seat.

Make sure you are always putting your child in or removing your child from the car from the pavement side of the car. Also making sure that your child is securely strapped in according to the manufacturer’s instruction. Ensuring that your child is not in a heavy coat that may mean they are not secured correctly. Best to ask to see in store or watch a video online of the correct way to strap your child into the car seat.

Ensure that where possible, there is no food in the car seat, as it tends to get within the mechanisms of the car seat and can cause issues with the locks etc over the lifetime of the car seat.

If using isofix, make sure all points display a green, secure lock position. This way you know that you have put the car seat in correctly and is safe for use.

Take breaks on long journeys. It is important that your baby does not remain in the car seat for extended periods of time as there is the risk of oxygen desaturation. This is when your baby struggles to keep their head up and therefore struggles to breathe. It is best to break a longer journey up with 15-minute breaks to ensure this does not happen. Or investigate buying a lie flat car seat, which allows for these longer journeys if you are a family who travel a lot.