If you have just discovered that you are pregnant with your first child, then Congratulations are in order. This marks the beginning of a very special time, a time to prepare and to plan.
Checklists for babies are notoriously long. Cot, cot beddings, pram, and so the list goes on. Perhaps one of the most important decisions to make concerns the car seat and which one to buy.
In this guide we plan to arm you with all the information you need to make an informed purchase. Happy shopping!
Where do I start?
Right from the minute your child leaves hospital, until they are approximately 12 years old, they are going to need a car seat for each and every journey.
Each car seat comes with a recommended weight or height range. Ensuring your child is within these recommended guidelines is extremely important, otherwise the seat may not be fit for purpose.
Not all car seats fit all cars, so you may need to check the manufacturers guidelines. Alternatively, visit a local centre where the staff can inform you which they would recommend. They will also be able to advise you on how to put the seat into the car properly.
What is ISOFIX?
A car seat is installed into your car using either the seat belt or an ISOFIX fitting? ISOFIX is widely known to be the safest method, but what are the pros and cons.
Why are ISOFIX fittings better?
- Minimise the risk of incorrect installation which often causes a problem with car seats using seat belts.
- Outstanding results in safety tests
- Fast and Easy Installation
The negatives are concerned with cost. ISOFIX seats are often more costly and as not all cars have ISOFIX car seat fittings, flexibility can also be an issue.
Child seats which are secured by a belt are safe when installed properly. It can also be easier to switch the seat between cars. Unfortunately 8 out of 10 parents install a car seat incorrectly when using belts, dramatically reducing safety.
What else do I need to know?
Young babies should travel in a rear facing position for as long as possible, this will help support your babies neck and head in the event of a frontal impact.
A 3 or 5 point harness is best for children up to the age of approximately 4 years, offering them maximum security and protection.
Never let children sit in a front seat with airbag, airbags can injure a child.
Older children are better protected by a booster seat with a high back.