Car Seats For Babies - What you need to know! - Direct2Mum

Car Seats For Babies - What you need to know!

Car Seats For Babies - What you need to know!

Bringing baby home is such an exciting time, all nine months of preparation is going into action! The Baby Boffin’s will take you step by step on what is important when purchasing a car seat for a new born baby. Before you can bring baby home you must have the correct travel restraint to travel in. A newborn baby must travel in a rear facing infant carrier.

This car seat legislation requires that every child must travel in the appropriate child restraint until that child reaches either 135cm in height or 12 years old, after which they are eligible to use just an adult seat belt.

So here are some questions to ask when purchasing your first car seat..

1. How much will your baby weigh?

There is such a wide range of car seats available is can get a little confusing, the key thing to remember is that your choice of car seat should be based on your baby’s weight OR height and not on their age. A new born baby will always belong in a group 0 / 0+ car seat as this is the lightest they will ever be.

Car seats are divided in Groups, and each Group covers a specific weight or height range;
• Group 0: 0 – 10kg (suitable from birth to around 6 months)
• Group 0+: 0 – 13kg (suitable from birth to around 15 months)
• Group 0+/1: 0 – 18kg (suitable from birth to 4 years)
• i-Size: 0 – 99cm (birth to around 1 year)
• i-Size: 0 – 105cm (birth to around 4 years)

Car Seat (With Text)
All these car seats are rear-facing car seats suitable from day one. It’s up to you as a parent to decide the right car seat for you.

Group 0/0+ Car Seats - Carriers have handles that let you move your baby in and out of the car without waking her. This is ideal, as newborn babies sleep a lot. Carriers also usually come with little pillows (head huggers), which prevent your baby's head from wobbling about. You will need to use these for the first three months or so, until your baby can hold her head up on her own.

Group 0+/1 Car Seats - also known as 'Combination Car Seats' as they involved 2 consecutive weight groups. These car seats can be used in both directions, starting rearward facing as a Group 0+, up to about 15 months, and then convert to a forward-facing Group 1 seat, up to 18kg (40lb). Although, the Baby Boffins recommend children to travel in the rear-facing position for as long as possible, ideally until four years of age. Most models have a reclining mechanism for added comfort.

i-Size Car Seats - ‘i-Size’ (ECE R129) is the new European wide, standard regulation for child car seats, designed to increase safety and run alongside the current ECE R44/04 regulation. These car seats are different to others as they as based on height and not weight. I-size car seats require IsoFix which means there is less chance of an incorrect fitting.

2. Portable or Fixed?

If you want to be able to carry your sleeping baby from car to house or supermarket trolley, go for a Group 0/0+. These have a handle and are usually lightweight, so they can be removed from the car and carried around, and used indoors as a rocker. You can buy as part of a travel system with the bonus that it snaps into your pushchair chassis.

If you won’t be using a car seat outside of the car on a travel system of transferring between cars a combination car seat (Group 0+/1) would be ideal for you. Larger than an infant carrier with a longer life span, you can fixed it into your car from day one and will not have to move it until your child is around 4 years old (18kg). They start off rearward facing and eventually when your child is of the correct weight and can sit unaided (usually around 9kg) the seat can be moved to a forward facing position.

Alternatively you can use an in-car base. A car seat base remains in the car either secured by the car seat belt or Isofix anchors and makes for a quick and easy fitting as the carrier clicks straight onto the base. Car seat bases are usually sold separately to the infant carrier so make sure you look for a compatible base.

3. What lifestyle do you have?

Will you need to transfer your car seat between cars? It is common for mums and dads to each have their own car but that doesn't necessarily mean buying 2 car seats. Find a car seat that is compatible with both cars, most cars manufactured after 2007 have IsoFix mounts to install a seat. Alternatively there are car seats that can be installed with both Isofix mounts and a car seatbelt.

How tall are you? Tall front seat passengers can affect how much space there is for a rear-facing child car seat or foot prop in the back. This could affect which seat you use for your child car seat when the whole family is travelling. Group 0/0+ are usually the smallest most compact car seats compared to group 0+/1 so if you are a tall parent this is something to consider.

Are you buying on a budget? Safety should be the top priority when choosing a car seat, not looks or budget bargains. While price is important, it is not actually an indicator of how safe it is, don’t settle for second best – or second hand.

Tips - Combination car seats and i-Size have a longer life as these can last up to 4 years old! So if you don't want to spend hundreds of pounds on a car seat that will only last you a year, these are the car seats to look at and consider!

4. How will it fit in your car?

Not all car seats fit in all cars. Also, check how easily the seat can be correctly installed in your car. Incorrectly fitted seats can be very dangerous.

Either make sure you get it professionally fitted, or check that it’s easy to install right if you need to swap the seat from your car to your buggy chassis (as part of a travel system) and back again. Some manufacturers offer a quick online checking service, such as Britax’s Fit-Finder or Maxi-Cosi’s car fitting list. Have your car’s make, model and year of production close to hand for fast checking.

Here at Direct2Mum our trained store staff will assist with car seat fittings and are even available to book free personal consultations with to find the correct products to suit your family’s needs and requirements.

3. Do you need ISOFIX?

Most car seats use a harness to hold your baby in place and are secured into the car using the car seat belts. However, there are alternative fastening systems such as ISOFIX and in-car base units that fix the seat directly onto the interior of the car.

Isofix is a system which uses two specially incorporated anchor points behind the car seat to install into your vehicle instead of using the regular car seat belt. They are easier to fit than seats that use the car's seat belts, and provide a more secure, solid installation.

Not all Isofix seats are approved for use in all Isofix cars, so check with the child seat manufacturer to find out if your Isofix child seat is approved for your vehicle. Many have a list on their website that shows which seats are approved for which cars.

I-Size car seats are fitted using Isofix, so check with the child seat manufacturer to find out if your i-size child seat is approved for your vehicle.

5. Do you need a travel system?

A travel system is a buggy that includes a rear-facing infant car seat, which can be easily attached to the pushchair and easily removed. They are designed to make it easy to move your baby between your car and buggy without having to take them out of the car seat and wake baby from their snooze.

Different travel systems are compatible with different car seats, although there is some crossover. You can buy adaptors to fit your chassis that are compatible with your brand of infant carrier.

At Direct2Mum we have a range of big brand travel systems with matching infant carriers!

And Finally – Baby Boffin’s Recommend...

• That your baby is positioned rearward-facing for as long as possible as rearward facing seats offer the best possible protection for a smaller baby. In the event of a frontal impact the rearward facing car seat supports your baby's head and neck. Use a rearward seat until your baby reaches the maximum weight limit for the car seat group and can sit up unaided.
• NEVER position a child on a passenger seat fitted with a front airbag. Airbags are designed to protect adults but can seriously injure or even kill a child.
• That a 3-point or 5-point harness is ALWAYS used up to 18kg/40lbs (approx. 4 years). It's tempting to move your child to a seat without a harness for convenience but a 3-point or 5-point harness provides much better fit and protection that an adult seatbelt.
• Your child will fit a highback booster seat much better than a booster seat as it offers side-impact protection.
• Isofix™ where possible to reduce the chances of fitting incorrectly
• All our car seats are approved to United Nations Regulation ECE R44.04

Direct2Mum offers an extensive range of car seats from infant carriers to highback booster seats designed for children right up to 36kg/79lbs (approx. 12 years).

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