What type of car seat do I need?
|Types of Car Seat||Weight Range||Age Range||Type|
|Group 0 +||0-13kg
|Birth to 12-15 months||rear facing||find out more|
0+ and 1
|Birth to 4 years||combination rear and forward facing||find out more|
|9 months to 4 years||forward facing or combination
rear and forward facing
|find out more|
1,2 and 3
|9 months - 12 years or 135cm tall||forward facing, high backed booster seat||find out more|
2 and 3
|4-12 years or 135cm tall||High backed booster seat or just a booster seat||find out more|
Group 0+ - All you need to know
Group 0+ and 1 - All you need to know
Group 1 - All you need to know
Group 1, 2 and 3 - All you need to know
Group 2 and 3 - All you need to know
ISOFIX - All you need to know
- ISOFIX uses two sockets at the bottom of your car's seats. An ISOFIX compatible car seat has two bars that plug straight into these sockets, and a third support, a leg that stands on the car floor or a top tether that attaches to the back of the seat.
- If you're not sure if your car has ISOFIX, you should be able to find out by checking your car's back seats, looking in your vehicle handbook or looking on the car maker's website.
i-Size is the new European standard for car seats which is beginning to be phased in. They still use the same group numbers, but i-Size seats measure suitability using your child's height, instead of their weight. Because of this, i-Size seats allow your child to be rear-facing for longer and offer more protection if your car is involved in a side-on collision.
In the future i-Size will become the legal standard for car seats. The other benefit of i-Size is that it's developed to work with ISOFIX so that in the future all car seats will be able to fit all new cars.
3 point harness - Mostly found on car seats for newborns, a three point harness has a crotch strap and two shoulder straps which buckle together over a child's pelvis.
5 point harness - Found on Group 1 seats and above. The two side straps offer greater protection as children grow larger and heavier.
Travel system - A travel system is a combination of newborn baby car seat and a pushchair. You can simply remove the car seat from the pushchair frame and fit it into your car. The frame can then be folded down and transported into the boot. Some models may also include a carry cot.
3 point seat belt - You can only use a car seat with a three point seat belt. Fortunately most cars already have these. They have two straps, one across the waist and one across the chest.
- Children need a car seat from birth until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall.
- Never buy a second hand car seat. Some are so well made that they could have been in an accident and you wouldn't even know it.
- It's illegal to use a rear facing car seat in the passenger seat if there is an active airbag. It's very dangerous if it's a forward-facing seat, so it is always best to keep children in the back seat.
- Don't keep a baby or young child in a car seat for more than two hours until they are at least 3 years old.
- Booster cushions help raise a child's seating position so that the car's seat belt fits them properly. They should only be used when children are over 125cm tall and over 22kg in weight
- Avoid putting your child in heavy coats when using a car seat as you won't be able to fasten the belts tightly around their body. If you can fit more than two fingers under the harness, it's not tight enough.
- The belt buckle of the car seat should not be in contact with the frame. If there's an accident, pressure on a buckle could cause the belt to come loose. It should be positioned down the side of the seat, with only the straps touching the frame. This prevents buckle crunch.
- Look out for a safety label. A safe car seat will have a label with an E mark, which should read 44 04 or 44 03 or the new i-Size R mark R129.