The car seat is an essential piece of child safety equipment. Here are our 5 top tips to choosing a car seat for your little ones.
1. Plan Early
By law, your child must be properly restrained in a car seat, under the age of 12 years old. This is the one piece of equipment you can’t leave hospital without. So before your labour starts, make sure you have researched, purchased and installed your babies seat. Depending on the age/make and model of your car , there may be restrictions on what type of car seat you can install and how it is installed. Always get advice from an expert supplier and fitter for this important first car seat.
2. Buy the right size
Car seats are divided into categories depending on teh height, weight and age of your child.
The most important factor when choosing a car seat is the weight and height of your child, not the age.
- Group 0+ (from birth to 13kg) are designed for babies from birth to approximately 12 months. This seat must be rear-facing with head support.
- Group 1(from 9-18kg) are suitable for children from nine months to four years.
- Group 2/3 (from 15-36kg) seats are high-backed booster seats suitable for four- to eleven-year-olds.
- Group 3 (from 22-36kg) are booster seats suitable for six- to eleven-year-olds.
3. Check for ISOFIX
ISOFIX is an international standard that uses a system of in-built mounts to fit a child restraint to a car seat. It is by far the safest way to ensure your car seat is securely fitted, as it vastly reduces the chance of your child’s car seat being incorrectly installed.ISOFIX was introduced in 1999, but it did not become a standard feature in cars until 2006 – so if your car is pre-2006, you must check that you have ISOFIX points.ISOFIX car seats and bases have 3 ISOFIX points:
- 2 ISOFIX connectors (metal bars) fit on the anchor points (metal clips) at the base of the vehicle seat.
- A top tether or support legThere are a few considerations needed when it comes to choosing an ISOFIX car seat- these are usually vehicle specific, and any of our Tiny Toes advisors will be able to ensure the seat is the right one for your vehicle.
4. How much do I need to spend on a child car seat?
If there’s one purchase you should budget for, it’s a child car seat. You can spend a little to a lot on a child car seat depending on the size and brand you choose. Our advice would be not to scrimp on a car seat, get the best you possibly can. We have a range of seats available in store to suit all pockets.
5. Get a seat that fits your car
This may sound obvious, but it is tricky. There are many factors that affect fitting – from whether or not your car has Isofix to how curved your car seats are. We advise that you bring the car you wish to fit a seat to when you are browsing and our trained advisors can recommend the right seat for your car.
If you need advice on selecting, buying or fitting a new car seat or simply want to check you are using the correct car seat for your child, Tiny Toes staff are always on hand to advise.