A car seat is one of the most important purchases you’ll make for your child so let’s make sure we choose the right one.
Firstly, the law states that children must use a child car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first.
For full details on the laws regarding car seats in the UK visit the .gov website: www.gov.uk/child-car-seats-the-rules
Five points to consider when choosing a car seat:
1. Select a tested and approved car seat:
Make sure the car seat falls under either the ECE R44 or UNR 129-size regulations.
2. What’s your child’s age and height?
Car seats can be divided into 3 groups: baby car seats, car seats and high-back booster seats.
- Baby car seat: this group of seats is for new-borns to babies around 12 months of age, plus or minus a few months depending on height. As a parent you must upgrade to the next group of larger seats when the uppermost point of the child’s head reaches the highest point of the car seat and when the baby can hold its head steady.
- Car seat: this is a toddler car seat. According to the regulations UNR129, children must remain rear facing for at least 15 months. The moment the uppermost point of the child’s ear reaches the highest point of the car seat headrest on max adjustment, it’s time to move up to the final group.
- High back booster seats: this is the car seat your child will use for the longest time. As mentioned above, by law your child needs a high back booster seat until he or she is older than 12 years of age or is 135cm or taller.
3. Easy and secure installation.
First check if your car is equipped with ISOFIX mounting points. ISOFIX mounts are small metal rings at the bottom of the seatback used to connect to an ISOFIX car seat. Using ISOFIX mounts is quick and convenient and clear indicators show when the seat or base is correctly fitted reducing the chance of doing it incorrectly.
4. Is it suitable for the whole period of use?
Make sure that that the car seat will provide your child the greatest safety and comfort throughout the whole period of use. A car seat that grows with the child in several steps is best. Features to look for include space for the legs, height adjustment, reclining backrest and adaptive side impact protection.5.
5. Plenty of legroom – longer usage.
One of the most common reasons that parents choose to turn their children around to face forward too early is shortage of legroom. A car seat that offers more space for the child’s legs means that it will be used properly for longer. Car seats with adjustable legroom are space saving when children are small and offer more legroom as the child grows.