Car seats buying guide

This guide gives you details of the main types of car seats we have available and explains the advantages and features of all the different styles. Take a look at our range of car seats and infant carriers here. View our car seat  fitting demonstration videos.

What's the law on in car-safety and i-Size?

The use of car seats and belts for children is regulated by law. To ensure your child’s safety in a car, it is important that you choose the right car seat and fit it correctly. Our staff are trained to advise you on the right type of seat for your child and for your car.

Don’t leave even the shortest journey to chance: always take the time to harness your child in an appropriate car seat. Always follow the manufacturer’s fitting instructions and keep them with the seat.


The law (since Monday 18th September 2006)

Children less than 135cm tall or under 12 years old MUST use the child restraint appropriate for their weight in any vehicle (including vans and other goods vehicles).

Rear-facing baby seats MUST NOT be used in a seat protected by a frontal airbag unless the airbag has been deactivated manually or automatically.


i-Size legislation (since 9 July 2013)

What is i-Size?

i-Size is the new European standard for child car seats. It’s been introduced to ensure all child car seats will fit in all cars, therefore reducing the risk of installing the wrong seat in your car and compromising its effectiveness.

The key principles of i-Size legislation:

- i-Size seats are designed to keep your child rearward facing for longer – until your child is at least 15 months old. This offers greater protection for your child in the event of an accident.

- i-Size is based on the child’s height rather than their weight. This makes it easier for you to know you’re using the correct seat for the child you’re carrying. This method is used because height is more directly linked to physical development.


- i-Size seats will be more rigorously tested before they go on sale. New side impact tests will lead to seats that provide better protection for your child. i-Size seats will also offer significant safety improvements for babies with better head and neck protection on all seats.

- All i-Size seats will be Isofix compatible, reducing the chance of fitting the seat incorrectly. In the future, i-Size car seats will fit all ‘i-Size ready’ vehicles.

The i-Size regulation has now been passed, following its ratification in April 2015. This new regulation will run in parallel with the current one (UNECE Regulation 44). Child seats that comply with either regulation may continue to be used. 


Why i-Size?

The current categorisation of car seats by a child’s weight can cause parents to swap their child from a rearward to a forward facing car seat at 9 months old, however it’s safer for children to remain rearward facing for longer as this helps protect their neck and head in the event of a collision.

Parents may mistakenly believe that when a child’s feet stick out of the seat shell they are ready for the next size up. Children only need to move from a Group 0+ car seat at 13kg or when their head is higher than the top of their car seat, there’s no need to move baby to a forward facing position if their feet are pushed against the car’s back seat. With an i-Size car seat they can stay rear facing up to 15 months and it is very clear when they should change to a front facing seat.

How to choose a car seat

Choosing a car seat

For a younger child it’s their weight and not his or her age that is the critical factor in deciding which car seat is suitable and safe. 

European regulations define eight groups of seat, each of which is suitable for a range of weights. These are shown in the table below. All the child seats in our range are designed to give your child the best possible protection. Some seats are designed to cover more than one group. All our child seats are designed to meet the current safety standards as set out in ECE R44.03 (or R44.04)

It’s recommended that a child continues to use a rear facing car seat until they are 4 years old. This is because a child’s body below this age is particularly vulnerable to forceful impacts, and a rear facing seat will provide the additional protection they need in the event of a collision.

Read our What’s New ‘Find a Safe Seat for your Baby’ article for more advice on choosing the correct car seat.

Group Child's weight Approx. age of child
0 Birth - 10kg/22lb Birth to 6-9 months
0+ Birth - 13kg/29lb Birth to 12-15 months
0+ and 1 Birth - 18kg/40lb Birth to 4 years
1 9-18kg/20-40lb 9 months to 4 years
1 and 2 9-25kg/20-55lb 9 months to 6 years
2 15-25kg/33-55lb 4 to 6 years
1, 2 and 3 9-36kg/20-79lb 9 months to 12 years
2 and 3 15-36kg/33-79lb 4 to 12 years

The 5 groups of car seats

Group 0+

head-huggers and padded straps. Many models can be used with Isofix fittings, so you don’t need to use a seatbelt to secure it.

Group 0+ infant carriers

Group 0+
Car Seat for Group 0+ and 1

Most models have a reclining mechanism for added comfort. Look for padded, washable seat covers that can be easily removed.

Group 0+ and 1

 

Group 1, 2 and 3
Group 2 and 3

How to fit your car seat

Correct fitting of all car seats and boosters is crucial. All the car seats in our range have clear instructions for safe fitting and use. If you’re not sure about how to fit the seat, please don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer for guidance. Manufacturers such as Britax (opens in new window) have fitting lists on their websites so you can check the seat you like is compatible with your make and model of car. The websites also have videos, showing you how to fit their seats.

Sales assistants in our shops are trained to give you advice on fitting. Click here to find your nearest shop.

Check that your seat is safe and secure using the following guidelines:

  • The seat should be fitted as tightly as possible - there should be no excessive forward or sideways motion.
  • Ensure that the integral harness is adjusted for every journey. The harness should fit snugly, allowing one finger between the harness and your child's chest.
  • The harness buckle should be as low as possible to keep the lap section across the pelvis and not across the stomach.
  • The harness buckle should be as low as possible to keep the lap section across the pelvis and not across the stomach.
  • If there is too much slack - usually because the anchorage points are too far forward - choose an alternative position for the seat (or even a different car seat). Contact the car seat manufacturer, who will be happy to advise you.
  • Check that the buckles are not lying against the child-seat frame, as this could affect the seat's performance in an accident.
  • Keep fitting instructions in a safe place. You may need them again, particularly for combination car seats.
  • The safest place for a child to travel in a car is in the centre rear, as this is likely to be furthest from any impact. However, the use of a seat belt in any position in the car, including the front seat, is far safer than a child travelling unrestrained.
  • In Group 0+ and 1 seats check that the shoulder strap of the integral harness in rear-facing seats is slightly below your child's shoulder level. In forward-facing seats the straps should be level with, or slightly above your child's shoulder. Once you reach the top slots for the straps, your child can continue to use the seat until his or her eye-line is level with the top of the seat shell.

 

What's the Isofix system?

Isofix are fixed points within your vehicle’s seats that can be used to attach your child’s car seat. The benefit of Isofix is that it's easier for parents to be confident they have the correct fit, than when they use a three point seat belt to secure a car seat. All cars produced after 2011 are equipped with Isofix points.

i-Size car seats will fit into all i-Size cars and almost all cars with Isofix points.

Please check with your vehicle manufacturer or a sales assistant whether your car has the Isofix System and if the Isofix car seats we sell are suitable for it.

You can also check to see if you have an Isofix system by:

  • Contacting your vehicle manufacturer
  • Consulting your vehicle manual
  • Checking for staple-shaped fittings between the back and bottom of the seat
Please also check whether your car has under seat storage as this may affect the Isofix base you can have.

Extra comfort for the car seat

Bored children may undo their belts or harness to attract your attention, so make sure they are comfortable and amused. On longer journeys our travel accessories provide a fun distraction for them, allowing you to concentrate on your driving.

Head support cushion

Specially designed to give young babies extra comfort and support in child car seats.

Sun canopy

For use with group 0 and 0+ car seats both in and out of the car. Helps to protect your baby against strong sunlight.

Car sun blind

Suction pads secure the blind in the best position to shield your child from direct sunlight and UV rays.

Extra comfort for the car seat

Ravel blanket

For use with group 0 and 0+ car seats, helps to keep your baby warm in and out of the car during the winter months.

Rear-view mirror

Use an additional rear-view mirror to help keep an eye on your child when travelling.

Car tidy

Useful for storing books, toys, drinks and snacks.