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Baby/Child Car Seats and Booster Seats

Baby/Child Seats

Car and booster seats are an essential item if you are planning to take your baby/child in a car. They are essential to comply with the law and most of all to keep your children safe. When choosing the right product you will also have to consider how versatile you need it to be. Will you just be using the one car or will you need to have a portable seat for use in a second car or when grandparents etc may be helping out?

Manufacturers’ web sites give more details about each seat and what vehicles they fit in.

There are lots of products on the market at varying price ranges. We have put together the following guide to help you choose the right type of seat and you can then browse our range to establish the price that is right for you.

Also remember that this is an item you should buy before your baby arrives, many hospitals won’t let you take your new born baby home unless you can provide evidence that you have the means to transport them home safely.

A baby car seat or carrier is designed to keep babies and young toddlers safe when travelling in the car. They are either secured by a base or via the seatbelt. Most types of seat have a handle to make it easier to manoeuvre them in and out of the car.

There were previously three main groups of seats;

Group 0

Suitable from birth up to 10kg in weight (approx. 9 months old)

Group 0+

Suitable from birth up to 13kg in weight (aprox.12-15 months old)

Group 0+ and 1

Can be placed in the vehicle to face both forwards and backwards and are suitable from birth up to18kg in weight (around 4 years)

Your first consideration when buying a seat is how safe is it? It must be the right size for your baby/child and must fit securely into your vehicle.

In July 2013 we saw the introduction of i-Size which has provided a greater element of safety and an increased amount of time for your child to be rear facing.

Rear Facing Seats

It is recommended that babies are placed in rear facing seats until they can sit up on their own. Rear facing seats provide more support for a new born baby’s head, neck and spine. The introduction of i-Size has provided a longer opportunity for babies to be rear facing.

DO NOT USE REAR FACING SEATS IN THE FRONT OF A VEHICLE IF IT HAS AN ACTIVE AIRBAG FITTED. Some vehicles allow you to switch off the airbag function if a rear facing seat is to be placed in the front.

Seats with bases

Some seats are fixed into the vehicle using seat belts; however there are also a group of seats that use a base to secure them into the vehicle. The bases generally make it easier for you to lift the car seat in and out of the vehicle.

The bases are referred to as ISOFIX bases which stands for INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS ORGANISATION FIX. Modern cars are fitted with attachment points that the seat base fixes onto. There are however different bases on the market and not all the seats fit all of the bases. Before purchasing an Isofix base check in your vehicle handbook to ensure your vehicle has the fixing point and ensure that your car seat is compatible with the base. Also think about whether or not you need to use the seat in other vehicles that may not have fixing points.

Travel Systems

Many companies now provide complete travel systems; these consist of a car seat and a pushchair/pram. However the car seat can be fitted onto the pushchair/pram chassis for use when your baby is very young.

Booster Seats

Children normally outgrow their car seat by the time they reach 4. It is then essential (and the law) for your child to travel on a booster seat. There is a legal requirement for your child to travel on a booster seat until they are 12yrs old or 135cm in height (whichever comes first), you may consider it safer however to keep them in a booster seat beyond this.

The reason children have to sit in booster seats is because an adult seat belt alone won’t protect young children as it won’t fit properly. A booster seat raises a child up so that the adult seat belt fits properly across their pelvis and shoulders.

As with car seats the most important thing to consider when choosing a booster seat is safety. Check that the seat will fit securely into your car

There are two main types of booster seat:

  • Backless booster seats or booster cushions which are probably more convenient as they are more portable, however most experts recommend;
  • High-back booster seats, as these provide some protection to your child’s head in the event of a side impact accident. They can also be more comfortable and provide extras such as arm and headrests.

Car Seat Regulations (from July 2013)

The new EU i-Size regulation, which was introduced on 9 July 2013 improved standards in child safety. i-Size is not replacing the current ECE R44/04 legislation though, it simply offers parents another option for car seat safety.

What’s does i-Size legislation cover?

Specifically developed for car seats used by children from birth up to 105 cm in length, the new i-Size regulation aims to improve protection and safety in several ways.

Rearward facing travel is now extended from 9kg (generally 9-12 months) to a minimum of 15 months. This will significantly reduce injuries to the head and neck of children involved in a crash. i-Size also includes minimum safety performance criteria for side-impact collisions. Previously, it was not necessary to provide performance criteria for side-impact protection in order for a child car seat to be legally sold.

What are the main changes in the new legislation?

One of the biggest changes is the increased amount of time recommended for the initial rearward facing child seats. The current ECE R44/04 EU regulation requires that children weighing less than 13 kg be placed in rearward-facing seats. However, it also allows children above 9 kg to be placed forward facing (which is about 8-9 months).

The new legislation requires that i-Size rearward facing seats must be used up to at least 15 months. This increase in the rearward facing period is necessary because the child’s head is quite heavy during the first year and their neck is not strong enough to withstand the impact of a frontal collision.

The new Hauck Varioguard with its Isofix Base was one of the first seats to comply with the i-Size Regulation. We will gradually see manufacturers updating their seats in accordance with this legislation.


Other things to consider

Do not position car seats on side facing car seats.

If you have any questions please contact us at customerservices@babyandchildstore.com