CAR SEATS AND THE LAW
By law all children below 150cm tall MUST use car seat or booster that's right for their weight (not height).
- Most hospitals won't let you leave with your newborn unless you have a car seat to get them home in, so it's a good idea to be prepared in advance!get the right seat for your child's weight
- A child that is either above or below the specified weight range for the car seat may prevent the seat from effectively protecting them in the event of an accident. It is critical that your child is in the right seat for their weight.
- Make sure the car seat fits your car make sure the car seat fits your car
- 80% of car seats are fitted incorrectly! At Babycare we provide a free fitting demonstration to ensure the seat you buy fits your child and your car.
- Make sure you know how to fit your child's car seat. At Babycare we are more than happy to check your chosen car seat fits your car and will instruct you on how to fit it properly. We will even double-check your seat once you've fitted it!
What the jargon means
- side-impact protection (SI, SIPS, SPS): deeper side wings ensure optimum protection should your car be involved in a side-on collision
- seat-belt tensioning device: helps you to tighten the seatbelt effectively
- Isofix™: the new standard for car seat installation
- That your baby is positioned rearward-facing for as long as possible. Rearward facing seats offer the best possible protection to the smaller baby. In the event of a frontal impact the rearward facing car seat supports your baby's head and neck. Use a rearward seat until your baby reaches the maximum permissible weight and can sit up unaided.
- NEVER position a child on a passenger seat fitted with a front airbag. Airbags are designed to protect adults but can seriously injure or even kill a child.
- That a 5-point harness is ALWAYS used up to 18kg/40lbs (approx. 4 yrs). It's tempting to move your child to a seat without a harness for convenience but a 5-point harness provides much better fit and protection that an adult seatbelt.
- your child will fit a highback booster seat much better than a vehicle's seat and will therefore be more effectively restrained and protected.
All of our car seats are approved to United Nations Regulation ECE R44.03
A guide to car seats - Which group?
There are 6 groups of car seats in total, so we understand it can become a little confusing. We will help you to understand what car seat your child needs, ensuring their safety whilst adapting to your life style too.
The groups are separated depending upon weight, so we would advise to weigh your child prior to buying your seat. This is very important as the ages used on descriptions are only approximate - to ensure maximum safety go by weight. For a handy quick guide, see the table below:
Group 0+ Up to 13kg (29lbs) - rear facing seat Birth to approximately 12 months
Group 0+1 Up to 18kg (40lbs) - rear or forward facing car seat Birth to 4 years
Group 1 9kg (20lbs) to 18kg (40lbs) - forward facing car seat 9 months to 4 years
Group 1,2,3 9kg (20lbs) to 36kg (79lbs) - forward facing car seat - high back booster with harness 9 months to 12 years
Group 2-3 15kg (33lbs) to 36kg (79lbs) - forward facing high back booster no harness 4 years to 12 years
Group 2-3 15kg (33lbs) to 36kg (79lbs) - forward facing car seat - high back booster seat/cushion 4 years to 12 years
Group 0+ (up to 13kg/29lbs)
Car seats in group 0+ offer optimum protection with soft padded head rests and side impact protection. With this added comfort and security, your baby will be truly as snug as a bug. They feature a handy carry handle making it easy to transport your baby, plus a sun canopy to stop the glare getting in babies eyes.
These handy little seats can often be transferred from car to pushchair in one easy step, meaning you won't have to disturb baby. We advise to check your pushchairs compatibility before you buy - you may need adaptors if buying separately.
To be used rear facing, they are suitable from birth to approximately 12 months (0-13kg).
Group 0+1 (up to 18kg/40lbs)
Group 0+1 seats offer some versatility as they can be used rearward or forward facing, therefore making it an ideal seat from birth to approx 4 years (0-18kg).
This group is one of the more popular choices as it features car seats with plenty of padded support and protection, plus a multi position recline feature so your baby is able to sit back and relax.
Group 1 (9kg/20lbs to 18kg/40lbs)
Group 1 seats are the 'inbetweeners'. They're forward facing so your little one can enjoy the view and see Mum or Dad! Your baby/toddler is secured by a 5 point safety harness plus the seat features an adjustable seat position for added comfort and support. Suitable from 9 months to approx 4 years.
Group 1,2,3 (9kg/20lbs to 36kg/79lbs)
Car seats in group 1,2,3 truly 'do everything'. They grow with your child due to adjustable headrests. Some models will convert into a booster seat, plus with loads of safety features and a comfy seat there isn't much else you could ask for!
Suitable from 9 months to approx 12years (9-36kg).
Group 2,3 (15kg/33lbs to 36kg/79lbs)
Group 2,3 seats are classed as high back boosters as the back will support younger children's heads and hips. The seat can then be converted easily into a booster, plus many seats have removable covers making it easy to clear up life's little spillages!
Suitable from 4 years to approx 12 years (15-36kg)
Booster seats and cushions
Booster seats give your child a little more height yet they are lightweight and easy to transfer between cars. Available in bright, fun colours plus some feature your child's favourite characters.
Boosters also ensure the correct positioning of lap and diagonal belts.
ISOFIX makes fitting a car seat quick and simple. If your car has ISOFIX Points (check with your car manufacturer or dealer if unsure) you can simply plug in your ISOFIX car seat and away you go. By using ISOFIX you are securing the car seat to the main structure of the car reducing risk of misuse and of forward or sideward motion. This provides extra solidity to your child's car seat. Always make sure that your ISOFIX seat is compatible with your vehicle as not all ISOFIX seats will be compatible with all ISOFIX points.
Top questions to ask when buying a car seat
Feeling confused about which car seat to buy? Here are five questions and answers to help you decide which one suits your baby, your car and your family life.
1. Is portability important to me?
If you want to be able to carry your sleeping baby from car to house or supermarket trolley, go for an infant carrier (Group 0+). These have a handle and are usually lightweight, so they can be removed from the car and carried around, and used indoors as a rocker. You can buy as part of a travel system with the bonus that it snaps into your pushchair chassis.
These are good until your baby weighs 13kg (usually about 12 months old) but you'll find the baby carrier difficult to lift and manoeuvre after about six months.
2. Do i want a fixed car seat?
If so, you'll want a combination car seat (also called Group 0+/1). These are larger and costlier, but have a longer life than infant carriers, lasting from birth until your child is around 4 years old.
Like a toddler car seat, these stay strapped (or fixed) in the car, initially rear-facing, then swivelled to face the front when your child weighs 9kg or can sit unaided.
3. Shall i buy a second hand car seat?
No! You can't be sure that it hasn't been in an accident because it may have suffered invisible damage. Even if you know the seat's history, wear and tear will mean that the belts may not be as tight as they should be.
4. Does my car have a passenger airbag?
If so, your baby must go in the back seat - inflated airbags can be lethal to babies. Some airbags can be disabled, but you need to check this with the manufacturer of your car. Side airbags are no problem.
5. Will someone else be driving my baby around?
If a childminder or grandparent will be taking your baby out and about, you need to check the car seat will fit in their car too, and they need to practise fitting it. Portable (Group 0+) seats will fit most cars, but Group +/1 may prove more tricky.
If you regularly use two cars, buy two seats. Otherwise, you can bet that car number one, complete with seat, will be zooming towards the horizon at precisely the time you need to strap your baby into car number two.