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.

In car safety and i-Size information

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.

All car seats MUST conform to the latest European standard ECE R44.03 (or R44.04).


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.

 Manufacturers can only test their car seats to i-Size standards and say they comply with i-Size standards after 9 July 2013, so it will take a few months before the new seats are available.  i-Size legislation will run alongside the current ECE R44/04 standards, so you can continue to purchase car seats which are covered by existing legislation. Current car seats are still safe and if your car seat is the correct size, then there is no need to buy a new car seat just yet.


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.


Choosing 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

First journey – Group 0

Babies are much safer travelling in rear-facing car seats, known as infant carriers.

You should aim to use a rear-facing carrier until your child is at least 13kg, or their head reaches the top of the seat. If you feel your child is uncomfortable in their infant carrier and is not yet 13kg, then you can consider a combination seat (0+1) as it will give them more room and allow them to continue sitting rear facing until they reach 13kg.

infant carrier
  • Extreme hazard: Do not use on a passenger seat fitted with
    an airbag
  • The seat is held in place by the adult 3 point lap and diagonal belt and your baby must be secured by the integral harness
  • Supports your baby's back and neck in the event of an accident
  • Allows you to have visual contact with your baby when used in the front seat
  • Useful carrying handle for transporting sleeping babies
  • Rocking facility for use in the home
  • Some models fit onto a pushchair chassis
  • Please note: we don't currently stock group 0 infant carriers, however we have a selection of group 0+ infant carriers which are suitable from birth up until 12-15 months old.

First journey – Group 0+ and 1

Group 0+
  • Danger: do not place a rear-facing infant carrier on a front passenger seat fitted with an active airbag under any circumstances.
  • The seat is held in place by the adult 3 point lap and diagonal belt or by the Isofix system if the seat or base has Isofix points. Your baby must be secured by the integral harness.
  • Supports your baby's back and neck in the event of an accident.
  • Useful carrying handle for transporting sleeping babies.
  • Rocking facility for use in the home.
  • Some models fit onto a pushchair chassis
  • Take a look at our Group 0+ car seats.
Group 0+
 
  • Danger: if rear facing, do not use a front passenger seat fitted with an active airbag under any circumstances. When forward facing do not use a front passenger seat unless your vehicle manufacturer declares it safe to do so in your vehcile handbook. Always check the vehicle handbook for correct vehicle seat positioning.
  • The seat is held in place by an adult diagonal and lap belt. Your baby must be secured by the integral harness.
  • Some models have an easy-to-adjust one-pull integral harness - just clip and tighten.
  • Most models have a reclining mechanism for added comfort.
  • Padded, washable seat covers can be easily removed.
  • Take a look at our Group 0+ and 1 car seats.

Travelling tots – Group 1, 2 and 3

Group 0+
Group 1, 2 and 3

Booster seats – Group 2 and 3

Group 0+

  • Danger: when forward facing, do not use on a front passenger seat unless your vehicle manufacturer declares it safe to do so in your vehicle handbook. Always check the vehicle handbook for correct vehicle seat positioning.
  • For older children an adult seat belt alone does not offer sufficient protection.
  • Booster seats raise your child on the car seat to enable the best fit of an adult diagonal and lap seat belt across his or her hips and shoulder.
  • Some models have shoulder belt guides and arm rests for added comfort.
  • Fashionable washable fabrics.

Take a look at our Group 2 and 3 car seats.

Fitting hints

Correct fitting of all car seats and boosters is of paramount importance. All the car seats in our range have clear and concise instructions for safe fitting and use. If in doubt, you should always contact the manufacturer of the seat. 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 diagonal section of the harness should rest on your child's shoulder, not on his or her neck.
  • 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.


Guidelines:

Do

  • Use a child restraint appropriate to your child's weight and development and until your child reaches 135cm in height or their 12th birthday (whichever is sooner)
  • Adjust the harness for every journey. It should fit snugly, allowing you to slide one finger between harness and child.
  • Read the fitting instructions carefully. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer.
  •  Practise using the car seat before putting your child in it for the first time.
  • Ensure everyone who will be fitting the seat is confident in doing so.
  • Check the seat regularly to ensure it is secure.
  • Discourage your child from playing with the buckles.
  • Check regularly for wear and tear on harness, buckles and seat shell.
  • Check that shoulder straps are slightly below the child's shoulders in a group 0 or 0+ seat, and level with, or slightly above the shoulders for forward-facing seats. Once you reach the top slots of the straps, the child can continue to use the seat until his or her eyeline is level with the top of the seat shell.
  • Use an additional rear-view mirror to keep an eye on your child, to avoid having to look around while driving.
  • Remember: compared to a three-point seat belt a harness not only spreads a crash load more evenly, it also gives you more control of your child and reduces the chances of them escaping from their seat.

Don’t

  • Don't ever use a second-hand car seat, as there could be invisible damage to the structure.
  • Never use a car seat that has been in an accident, however minor. There may be invisible damage.
  • Don't use a cushion or similar support under a child instead of a booster seat, as it will not give the same level of protection in an accident.
  • Don't leave metal fittings exposed on a sunny day - they can get very hot. Keep a blanket in the car to cover the seat when not in use.
  • Never leave heavy or sharp objects loose in the car, as they can cause injury in the event of an accident.
  • Never leave your child alone in the car, not even for a moment.
  • Never cover or modify buckles to prevent your child from playing with them, as this may seriously affect the quick release mechanism in an accident.
  • Never strap two children into one belt.
  • Never put an adult belt round an adult and child together.


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.

Happy travelling

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.

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.