Essential Guide to Child Car Seats
There are a wide range of car seats on the market and you want peace of mind that you have the right one to keep your baby or child safe.
This guide will give you all the essential information you need to make sure your car seats are suitable for your family.
- All children from birth to 12 years (or until they reach 135cm tall whichever happens first) must use a car seat.
- Babies must use a rear facing seat until they are at least 9kg.
- All car seats used in the UK must meet EU Standards – which is shown by an E symbol on the car seat label.
- Children must use the correct category of car seat appropriate for their age and size.
Types of Child Car Seat
There are many different types of car seats which are divided into categories based on age and weight of the child they are designed for.
Car seats are broadly grouped by age, but it is the weight of the child that is most crucial when choosing the correct car seat.
- Rear facing Seat
- Combination Seat (Rear and Forward Facing)
- Forward Facing
- High back booster seat
- Booster Cushions (Backless Booster Seat)
- I-size – a new EU safety regulation for child car seats (ECE R129). It was introduced in July 2013 to make child car seats easier to fit, provide better protection from side impacts and keep children rearward-facing for longer. i-size only applies to Isofix seats.
How to Choose the Correct Car Seat
All car seats are given a Group, which shows the weight of the baby or child the seat should be used for.
Rear Facing Seats
Group 0 seats are for babies – approximate age range from birth to 6 -9 months. The weight range is 0-10kg (22lbs)
Group 0+ seats are for babies – approximate age range from birth to 12 – 15 months. The weight range is 0-13kg (29lbs)
I-size seats are based on height rather than weight – birth to 105cm (approximately 4 years).
Combination Seats [Extended Seats or Multi Group]
Group 0+ and 1 are suitable for babies – approximate age range from birth – 4 years. The weight range is 0-18kg (40lbs)
Group 0+, 1 and 2 are suitable for babies – approximate age range from birth to 6 years. The weight range is 0-25kg (55lbs)
Forward Facing Seats
Group 1 are suitable for children – approximate age range from 9 months – 4 years. The weight range is 9-18kg (20-40lbs)
Group 1, 2 and 3 are suitable for children – approximate age range from 9 months – 11 years. The weight range is 9-36kg (20-79lbs)
Phase 2 i-size are suitable for children – approximate age range from 4 years – 11 years. The height range is 100-135cm (specific vehicles 135-150cm)
High Backed Booster Seats
Group 2 are suitable for children – approximate age range from 4 years – 6 years. The weight range is 15-25kg (33-55lbs)
Group 2 and 3 are suitable for children – approximate age range from 4 years – 11 years. The weight range is 15-36kg (33-79lbs)
Booster Cusion [Backless Booster Seat]
Group 3 are suitable for children – approximate age range from 6 years – 11 years. The weight and height range is 22-36kg (48-79lbs) and 125cm or taller.
Quick Tips on Buying a Car Seat
- Isofix is an internationally standardised car seat fitting system. All new vehicles have Isofix which helps quick and easy fitting of Isofix car seats.
- Not all seats will fit all cars. So take your car when you shop for a baby or child car seat so you can try it out.
- If you have 3 children that need car seats – check that there is room in the back seat for all 3. Many cars have a small middle seat which could make it tricky to get your children in and out of their seats.
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