Car Seats: The Definitive Guide
Welcome to our definitive guide to car seats
A car seat is one of the most important safety devices that you will ever buy for your child so it is worth choosing very carefully. The industry develops all the time and the testing that seats go through is extremely rigorous. Isofix, rear-facing car seats, impact cushions are just some examples of recent innovations.
The golden rule though is that the car seat that you choose must fit safely in your car or indeed any car that you plan to use. Over 80% of car seats are incorrectly fitted so this is still by far the biggest factor in child safety.
Different Car Seat Types or Groups
Group Weight - Approximate age range ( R44/04)
Group 0 - Up to 10kg (22lb)From birth to 11 months for boys, and 14 months for girls.
Group 0+ Up to 13kg (29lb)From birth to around 12 months to 15 months.
Group 1 - 9kg-18kg (20-40lb)Nine months to around four and a half years. Group 1 car seats are increasingly both forwards or rear-facing and many now rotate.
After your Group 1 seat you are likely to need a combined Group 2/3 car seat which is a booster seat with a high back on it and a headrest. We have never sold booster ( Group 3 ) car seats as they are not particularly safe.
Group 2 - 15kg-25kg (33lb-3st 13lb) About three years to seven years. Group 2 seats are booster seats so that the car's seat belt can be used.
Group 3 22kg-36kg (3st 7lb-5st 9lb) About six years to 12 years.
There are also now iSize car seats ( R129 ) which include a height limit as well as a weight limit.
i-Size seats are classified by height, rather than weight. If you buy one of these, your baby will be able to use it until he reaches the maximum height.
It is confusing we know but basically your first seat will last until your child is around 13kg or 1 year old
The second seat until your child is around 18kg or 4 years old
The third seat until your child is around 36kg or 11 years old.
There are also some multi group seats that are for example Group 0 car seats and Group 1 car seats or Group 1 and Group 2/3 car seats.
When should I change my child's car seat?
Deciding when to move your child up into a new car seat can mean treading a fine line. It's best to keep your child in the lower weight car seat for as long as you possibly can. But you can't leave it so late that your child exceeds the weight limit of the seat.
The best time to change is when the top of your baby's head is level with the top of the seat.
What is the new Isize regulation
What is the Plus Test
The VTI and NTF introduced the Plus Test in Sweden in 2009. This test provides a stamp of quality for seats that are so good that they are recommended in Sweden. The Plus Test has such strict requirements that forward facing child car seats would not be able to comply with them. The thinking behind the test is that no children sitting in a child car seat which is Plus Test approved would sustain any serious/life-threatening injuries in a collision. No forward facing seat has passed the Plus Test.
What is ADAC
ADAC is an organization representing the interests of car owners in Germany which organizes tests of child car seats. The tests conducted are approx. 50% more stringent or stipulate stricter requirements than the ECE R4404 standards.
In these tests 50% of the emphasis is on collision results and 50% relates to user friendliness, comfort, instructions for use and installation methods, etc. The lowest results are the ones that apply. Frontal and side collisions are conducted. This is particularly important, because children can sustain much more serious injuries in side collisions than in frontal collisions.
What is the Stiftung Warentest
Stiftung Warentest is the consumer council in Germany. It administers and conducts tests on behalf of the International Consumer Research and Testing organisation, ICRT.
Stiftung Warentest conducts its own tests in collaboration with the ADAC. These tests are conducted using frontal collisions at a speed of 64 km per hour and side collisions, while ECE R44 only tests frontal and rear collisions.
What are Consumer Reports?Should I trust them?
Consumer Reports and the ICRT
European consumer organizations are members of ICRT and do publish their own test report. However, these reports are copies of the Stiftung Warentest and ADAC Tests, but published in another lay-out.
As example, WHICH in the UK.
What is the R44/04? Why is it written on my car seat?
ECE R44 04 is a European approval standard. Child car seats are tested in frontal collisions at 50 km/h and rear collisions at 30 km/h using crash test dummies and measuring instruments designed to see how well the seats protect the test dummies.
All child car seats currently being sold in Europe, Middle East and most Asian countries must be ECE R44 04 approved. In most countries ECE R44 03 is not allowed anymore. All BeSafe seats are compliant with ECE R44 04.
How fast do children grow and how long will my car seat last.
Obviously all children are different and grow at different rates but this is a useful guide.
Weight gain after birth
Weight doubles by 4-5 months of age
Weight triples by 1 year of age
Weight quadruples by 2 years of age
Annual increase (Ages 2-9 years) . Weight increases 5 lb/year (2.25 kg/year) between ages 2-9 years old
Age 1 year: 21-32 lbs, mean: 10 kg (22 lb)
Age 2 years: 23-35 lbs, mean: 13 kg (28 lb)
Age 3 years: 27-39 lbs, mean: 15 kg (33 lb)
Age 4 years: 30-43 lbs, mean: 17 kg (37 lb)
Age 5 years: 34-52 lbs, mean: 19 kg (42 lb)
Age 6 years: 39-61 lbs, mean: 21 kg (46 lb)
Age 7 years: 43-70 lbs, mean: 23 kg (51 lb)
Age 8 years: 48-79 lbs, mean: 25 kg (55 lb)
Age 9 years: 53-90 lbs, mean: 28 kg (62 lb)
Age 10 years: 57-100 lbs, mean: 31 kg (68 lb)
Age 11 years: 62-112 lbs, mean: 35 kg (77 lb)
Age 12 years: 67-124 lbs, mean: 40 kg (88 lb)
With most car seats in the UK being fitted incorrectly, it is crucial that you have access to the right information when selecting and fitting your child's seat. Our trained staff are all experienced car seat fitters and we have used their collective knowledge to put together this information. The golden rule is that it is absolutely essential that you get the fit checked if you are in any doubt at all.. Some manufacturers have car compatibility fitting guides on their websites, however it should be remembered that these are just guides and are not definitive lists. Not all car seats will fit all cars, and no car or car seat manufacturer can guarantee a secure and safe fit. All cars are different, even two of the same make and model can have different length seat belts!
It is therefore essential to ensure your car seat is fitted correctly, in order to secure your child's safety whilst travelling in the car. The showroom is based just outside of Wallingford and we are always happy to check the fitting of your car seat.
Three important points to remember about car seats are:
Always buy a car seat to suit your child's weight rather than height.
Not all car seats fit all cars; check the model you have chosen will fit your car. Seek professional advice if you are unsure.
Always buy a car seat because it has safety features that improve fit and protection, not because it has attractive fabric choices or good value accessories.