Choosing a suitable car seat, baby carrier or booster seat for your car involves considering many factors. The most critical factor is to ensure that the seat is suitable for the weight and height of your child.
The second most critical factor is that the seat is fitted correctly in your car. Some experts have estimated that up to 70% of all child seats are not fitted correctly and consequently will not provide the level of protection they are capable of.
Points to consider
Take your time to see whats available and before you visit the shops or go online make sure you have made a note of your childs correct height and weight. Look for independent consumer review websites that may offer in-depth safety test results.
Consider the size of the car it is to be used in. For example if you drive a two door hatch back you may want to choose a more compact design to allow you to get the seat in and out of the car more easily. If you have a four door saloon and you frequently do long journeys, there may be enough room for a larger seat that reclines and so makes your child more comfortable for sleeping.
It is not advisable for any small child or baby to travel in the front passenger seat. It can actually be dangerous if you are involved in an accident, particularly if you have a passenger airbag. If you have airbags in the rear seats, you may be able to disable the airbag functionality temporarily while the child seat is being used.
If you are looking for a seat for a baby, choose one that is rear facing - this will provide more protection for your child in a collision. Do not change to a forward-facing seat until they weigh at least 9 kgs and can sit up unaided.
When your child reaches the maximum weight for the rear facing seat or the top of the childs head is above the top of the seat, then it's time to change the seat to a larger forward facing model.
If you have any problems fitting your seat even when following the instructions carefully, it may not be suitable for your car and you should get a refund and try another model.
Check that the seat meets the United Nations standard Regulation ECE R44.04 (or the slightly older ECE R44.03) which was introduced at the end of June 2005. The seat and/or packaging should also display a symbol with the letter 'E' in a circle.
Avoid buying second hand car seats unless it is from someone you trust and it is no more than a few years old. Also check the make and model online for further safety test information and make sure it comes with a manual. Even if all these things seem ok, if it does not fit your car properly - don't use it.
What are ISOFIX child seats?
ISOFIX is a fixing standard for child car seats developed in conjunction with the major motor manufacturers to provide universal standard fixing points for new motor vehicles. The system was developed to create a simpler and more reliable method of attaching child seats correctly to any car.
If you have a new car or are considering buying one, you should check the manual or specifications to see if it conforms to this standard and if so choose a compatible model of child seat.
If you have been involved in a car accident that was not your fault, we can help you get a replacement vehicle, car repairs, legal assistance and injury compensation.
Please give us a call on 02392 484 244 or start your free claim enquiry online using the button below, and one of our experienced claims advisors will be happy to assist you.