Child Car Seats
Child Car Seats
When it comes to buying a car seat, there will be a number of things you will no doubt take into consideration. Number one may well be the safety aspects, closely followed by budget, value for money, pink or blue, or perhaps even Buzz Light Year or Frozen.
But are all these the right things to consider when buying a child’s car seat?
Children’s Car Seats – Don’t Presume
Would you be surprised to discover that none of the pre-mentioned reasons should be your number one choice for choosing a particular Child Car Seat? Well, don’t worry, we made that mistake too. You see, the first thing we looked at was the safety aspects on each seat and the reviews that were written by review sites.
It wasn’t until we changed one of our cars that we discovered what we had done wrong. You see, my wife was involved in a shunt that wrote of our car (NOT her fault!). And because the child seat was in the car at the time of the accident, not only did we need to replace the car, but we also needed to replace the car seat too (never use a car seat from a vehicle that has been involved in an accident).
We went straight out and bought the same car seat that we had before. After a bit of huffing and puffing, I discovered that it didn’t fit into our new car. So I then decided to do a bit of Googling and it was only then that I discovered certain car seats were only suitable for certain cars.
All this time we had just presumed that all car seats were universal and fitted all makes and models of cars. Now, fortunately for us, the other car was the same make and model of the one that had just been written off, so therefore we were able to use it in that.
But now, armed with the knowledge I had picked up on Google, I was able to go and buy the correct car seat for newly purchased Toyota Avensis.
Child Car Seats – A Buyers Guide
If you are buying a child’s car seat for the first time, it is essential that you get it right. If you happen to be involved in an accident, and your child is in the wrong type of seat, they could even suffer more severe injuries.
If you are completely new to buying your first Child Car Seat, then you’re going to need an idea of what to buy, and at what stage. Take a quick look at this video courtesy of DadLabs.com
Video Guide: What Child Car Seat to Buy and When
Watch this five-minute video guide on what you need to know and what to look out for as well as top tips for choosing and buying a child car seat.
Did you know that two-thirds of children that travel in a car seat, do so incorrectly? That’s right, two-thirds of children travel in a car seat that is either fitted incorrectly or simply don’t fit their height, weight or age criteria.
Continue reading for information about choosing, buying and fitting a child car seat.
Key Facts to Consider
It’s important to get things right so here I have highlighted three key areas that are important to consider when buying your first Child Car Seat.
Choosing – If you already have a car when your baby is born, then things are a little easy. You start from the beginning. However, if you don’t have a car until your child/children are older, then you will need to consider the age, height and weight of your child when buying your first child car seat
Buying – As mentioned earlier, there is no such thing as a universal ‘fits all’ child car seat. Always check that the child car seat fits in the car properly before purchasing.
Fitting a Child’s Car Seat – You will discover that as your child grows older, their seats will need replacing. Each car seat will require fitting differently and it’s very important to ensure they are fitted and adjusted correctly.
Choosing the Right Car Seat For Your Child
There are three types of safety seats you will possibly need to get for your child if they are to travel in your car. For your baby, you will need what is known as a height-based car seat. After this stage, your toddler will then move onto a weight-based car seat.
For the purpose of this article, let’s presume you are driving and have a car when your baby is born.
Height-based car seats
Height-based cars must be rear-facing until your child is over 15 months old. These are also known as i-size seats and I must admit that until I done some research for this post, I had no idea what this meant. If you want to wise up on it, you can read this article here – ‘What is an i-size seat?‘
Once your child is over 15 months, they can then be promoted to a forward-facing car seat, otherwise known as a weight-based car seat.
Fitting a baby car seat isn’t that easy and you may find it necessary to watch a few videos first. It’s not a difficult task, I’m just guessing that it’s more to do with the fact that your baby is going to be in this seat and you want to ensure they are safe. Being an anxious and inexperienced parent won’t help either!
Some useful videos
Important: Do not put your baby car seat in the front of your car unless there are no air bags or they have been switch off. If your car has rear-seat airbags, they will need to be turned off too.
It is also worth pointing out that it is most hospitals policy not to discharge a baby from the maternity ward unless they see the car seat. Please check with your local hospital before your baby is born.
Fitting your base will also vary between make and model of both car and car seat base.
Weight-based Car Seats
Once your child reaches 9kg or more, their seat can be rear or front facing. Until this weight, it has to be rear facing, by law.
Once they have 9kg and above, then what they use will vary on their weight. Check the table below ( Credit: www.gov.uk) for more guidance.
|Child’s weight||Car seat|
|9kg to 18kg||Rear or forward-facing baby seat|
|15kg to 25kg||Rear or forward-facing child seat (booster seat)|
|Over 22kg||Booster cushion|
Choosing your first car seat
Moving from a baby seat to a toddler seat
Although the guidelines for moving your baby up to the next chair suggests ‘from 9kg’, it is safer to leave your baby in a rear facing seat until they are either 15 months old or are 13kg in weight.
By turning your child to a forward-facing seat too soon, you put them at a higher risk of severe neck and brain injuries, should you be involved in a crash. Keeping your child in a rear-facing until the age of four is more advisable, and, is now becoming common practice.
Both of our boys were moved at different stages. Our eldest was moved when he was the right age and weight whilst with our youngest, it was more about his height and age. You too may need to monitor each individual child on their own physical development.
Buying the best child car seat
Here are a few buying tips you may wish to consider when purchasing your child car seat.
Get a child car seat that will fit in your car
As I mentioned earlier, not all child car seats are universal so please do not buy a car seat because you like, reaches the correct standards or falls within your budget.
As daft as it seems, it is very important that the child’s car seat is suitable the car. As we discovered when we changed cars, the straps didn’t work correctly and it meant we struggled to tighten up the safety harness.
It wasn’t until I researched it, that I discovered the reasons behind it. If you
If you have discovered this article before buying your child safety seat, then you might find these two tools useful. They are only for the UK market and as you can see, the companies only recommend their own product.
These tools are useful, but both work differently to each other. Just follow the onscreen instructions and you will find a child safety seat in no time.
Buying a second-hand child car seat
It is recommended that you should never buy a second-hand car seat. However, I know the combination of them being a legal requirement and families will always struggle financially, that advice will always be ignored.
So, if you are going to buy one, here are a few things to consider.
- Wear and tear on a second-hand car seat could affect their safety.
- Being involved in a crash will weaken the seat.
- It might find it to be too old to comply with the latest safety regulations
- The instruction booklet might be missing meaning you may not be able to fit or adjust your child safety seat correctly.
After the accident my wife had, we were able to claim for a new seat although there appeared to be nothing wrong with it. We took it apart the best we could and took it to the skip.
You may not be so lucky so please be careful.
By all means shop online but please do not do this first. It is highly recommended that you physically walk into a shop. Armed with the details of suitable seats that match up to your car, then take the time to discuss and decide with the shop assistants.
Retailers these days have taken on the responsibility of ensuring their staff know their stuff and are fully trained on the subject of selecting and fitting a child safety seat.
Once you have made up your mind, only then would I recommend shopping around to compare prices.
Go and visit one of these stores near you…
And if you want to compare online prices once you have found one, then look here…
Try Your Child Safety Seat Before Buying
Don’t be shy about phoning up a retailer to arrange an appointment before you turn up. This will mean you’re guaranteed to be served by staff that know what they’re talking about.
And remember, just because your baby has not been born, it doesn’t mean you can’t try and test the car seats.
- Britax (USA)
- Consumer Reports
- AA – Child Safety in Cars
- Halfords – Car seat Fitting Guide
- Child Car Seats – Buying Child Car Seats Checklist
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What was your experience like when buying a Child Safety Seat?
Let us know by filling in the comments box and we’ll be sure to share it.