The Parents Guide to Choosing a Car Seat

Mar 23, 2017

The Parents Guide to Choosing a Car Seat

Choosing a car seat for your child is one of the most important purchasing decisions you’ll ever make as a parent. A car seat must conform to UK laws, be suitable for the weight and size of your child and be properly installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The prospect of finding the perfect car seat can be quite daunting, especially if you are new to parenthood and have no previous experience. The best thing to do is to relax, take your time and carry out research before committing to a purchase.

Baby car seat role and safety

If your baby weighs under 13kg (approx. 15 months old), they need to be in a rear-facing car seat. The reason for this is because a rear-facing seat helps protect the child’s head and back by pulling them into the seat. This helps ensure that if an accident occurs, the child’s head and neck is better protected since there is limited movement.

What to avoid

There are some things you must avoid when it comes to buying a child car seat. For example, you must never buy or use a second-hand seat unless it has been given to you by a trusted family member or friend. Old car seats can have internal damage despite looking fine on the outside. This means that the seat could have been damaged in a crash, weakening their structure and their ability to protect your child. It may be the more cost-effective option, but it’s not worth putting your child's life at risk.

Tips for buying a car seat

1. Choose the correct seat according to your child’s weight, height and age.

2. Make sure your chosen car seat will fit not only your car but other family members’ cars, who may babysit your child in the future (such as grandparents, aunts and uncles etc.).

3. Don’t forget to read through your own car’s manual before purchasing a car seat. The manual will tell you how and where to install the car seat.

4. Test the car seat out before committing to the purchase. A qualified fitter will often fit the seat for you, which gives you peace of mind and saves a lot of time. They’ll also show you how you can fit it yourself for future use or if you need to swap it out of your car and into another etc.

5. Seek professional assistance and advice. Don’t be afraid to ask your car seat retailer important questions, they’re there to help and will help you choose the right one.

6. Remember that what your child wears can affect their safety in the car seat. The harness must be level with their shoulders and fit quite snuggly around them. For this reason, it’s best to avoid dressing your child in thick and padded clothing that can compromise the effectiveness and safety of the child’s car seat.

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