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Which car seat is right for my child?

In the UK, any child that is under the age of 12 years old or under 135cm tall (whichever comes first) must be seated in a child car seat or booster seat which is EU approved.  But do you know which car seat is appropriate for which age?  If not, read on…..

Rear-facing Baby seat (Group 0+)

This type of car seat is suitable for:

  • Age: Newborn to approximately 12/15 months old.
  • Height: When your child’s head is level with the top of the car seat.
  • Weight: 0-13kg

This car seat is rear-facing and can be either fixed by using the seat belt or it can be attached using Isofix. It has a harness so your child is strapped into the seat. It’s portable too so you can clip it onto your travel system pram without the need for you disturbing your baby. This is handy for those quick trips to the shops, but it’s not recommended to leave your child in their seat for more than 90 minutes as research has shown that this can cause breathing difficulties.

Infant and Child Seat (Group 0+1)

This type of car seat is suitable for:

  • Age: Newborn to 4 years old
  • Height: When your child’s eyes are level with the top of the seat
  • Weights: 0-18kg

This is a combination car seat which means that your baby will initially travel rear-facing and when he/she reaches the suitable age/height/weight, then the seat can usually (depending on the make) be changed so that it faces forward.

Like the Group 0+ seat, it can either be fixed by using the seat belt or using Isofix, and it has a harness so your child is strapped into the seat.

Child Seat (Group 1)

This type of car seat is suitable for:

  • Age: Approx 9 months – 4 years
  • Weight: 9-18kg
  • Height: When your child’s eyes are level with the top of the seat

This is a forward-facing car seat and either has a 5-point harness or an impact shield. This type of seat is sometimes used after the infant seat. However, at 9 months old your child’s neck is still very delicate and needs proper support, therefore it is much safer to leave your child in a rear-facing seat for as long as possible.

High-backed booster seat (Group 2 and 3)

This type of seat is suitable for:

  • Age: Approx 4 -12 years
  • Weight: 15kg-36kg
  • Height: 4’5” or 12 years old

This booster seat is forward-facing and can be either used in the front or back of your vehicle and must always be used with a lap and diagonal belt. The backrest lifts so that it’s easier to position the seatbelt correctly. A lot of these types of seats have padded side wings which give support and impact side-protection.

As there are many different types of car seats on the market, it is always best to shop around. Don’t be afraid to ask the shop assistant as many questions as possible about the suitability of the seat for your child and what it’s safety features are.

This article is intended to be used as a guide only and it is always recommended to check with the manufacturer for further information about the suitability of a car seat, as they may differ.