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BUYING GUIDE

CHOOSING A CAR SEAT

Looking for a car seat that’s the right fit for your child? Your child’s weight, not age, is the key factor when deciding which car seat is suitable and safe.

European regulations define 8 groups of seat. All the car seats in our range are designed to give your child the best possible protection and 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 15 months old. This is because a child’s body below this age is particularly vulnerable to forceful impacts and a rear-facing seat will provide additional protection.  

We also offer a car seat fitting demonstration service in most of our shops. Find out more

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

TYPES OF CAR SEAT

If you have a newborn baby or a child weighing up to 13kg/29lb

Then opt for a Group 0+ car set because…

  • They are rear-facing, which is the safest way for babies to travel
  • Many models can be used with Isofix fittings, so you don’t need to use a seatbelt
  • They feature a carry handle, which is useful for transporting a sleeping baby from the car) and curved base for gentle rocking
  • Comfort extras include cushions, head-huggers and padded straps
An example of a vented  tumble dryer

If you have a newborn baby or child weighing up to 18kg/40lb

Then go for a Group 0+ and 1 car seat because…

  • This style is approved across two categories and easily adjusts as your child grows
  • Most models have a reclining mechanism for added comfort
  • Features include padded, washable seat covers that can be easily removed
An example of a vented  tumble dryer

If you have a child weighing 9-36kg/20-79lb

Then select a Group 1, 2 and 3 car seat because…

  • They’re a lasting option, adapting as your child grows
  • They convert to a high back booster seat – ideal for older children until they can safely use an adult seatbelt
  • They feature cushioned seat and supports to keep your child safe and comfortable
An example of a vented  tumble dryer

If you have a child weighing 15-36kg/33-79lb

Then a good option is a Group 2 and 3 car seat because…

  • They are booster seats designed specifically for older children until they can safely use an adult seatbelt.
  • They have adjustable height, width and leg rest options
  • Features can include cup holders and even speakers in the headrest
An example of a vented  tumble dryer

Tip

 Use a rear-facing model until your baby is 9kg/20lbs and can sit unsupported, then convert to a forward-facing seat

THE LAW AND YOUR RESPONSIBILITY IN USING CAR SEATS AND BELTS

  • To ensure your child’s safety in a car, it is important that you choose the right car seat and fit it correctly

  • Don’t leave even the shortest journey to chance: always take the time to harness your child in an appropriate car seat

  • 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

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s fitting instructions and keep them with the seat

  • Our Partners are trained to advise you on the right type of seat for your child and for your car

THE LATEST LAW

Manufacturers are no longer allowed to produce backless booster seats for children shorter than 125cm or weighing less than 22kg.

These regulations, in force since February 2017, are designed to improve road safety for smaller children. Seats with backs are deemed safer as they offer better side impact protection.

Consider changing your booster seat or cushion to a car seat with a back, since they’re deemed to offer better protection to smaller children. Models that are currently in the marketplace can continue to be sold and any existing seats you own can still be used in accordance with government guidelines, provided they have the standard safety mark ECE R44.

ORDERING YOUR CAR SEAT

Free Standard Delivery

If you spend £50 or more on a car seat, we offer free Standard delivery to your home.

Click & Collect

If you’d prefer to pick up your new car seat in store, use Click & collect from John Lewis and Waitrose. It’s free on orders of £30 and over.

ACCESSORIES

Bored children may undo their belt or harness to attract your attention, so make sure they’ve got something to entertain them before you set off. On longer journeys, our travel accessories keep them cool and comfortable, allowing you to concentrate on 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.

Travel 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.

Extra rear-view mirror

Helps you keep an eye on your child when travelling.

Car tidy

Useful for storing books, toys, drinks and snacks.

Washing machines

OWNING YOUR CAR SEAT

HOW TO FIT A CAR SEAT

Correct fitting of car seats and boosters is crucial. All the car seats in our range have clear instructions for safe fitting and use.

Manufacturers usually 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 the seats.

Partners in our shops are trained to give you advice and demonstrate fitting. Find out more about our demonstration service. 

Check that your seat is safe and secure using the following guidelines. If you’re not sure about how to fit the seat, please don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer for guidance.

If you have any questions about choosing and fitting a car seat, the RoSPA website has a number of videos you might find helpful - view them here

(Opens in a new window; please note we can't be responsible for the content of external websites.)

Fitting tips

  • 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

  • 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)

  • 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 eyeline is level with the top of the seat shell

    Do's

  • 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)
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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

    Don'ts

  • Use a second-hand car seat, as there could be invisible damage to the structure
  • Use a car seat that has been in an accident, however minor. There may be invisible damage
  • 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
  • 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
  • Leave heavy or sharp objects loose in the car, as they can cause injury in the event of an accident
  • Leave your child alone in the car, not even for a moment
  • Cover or modify buckles to prevent your child from playing with them, as this may seriously affect the quick release mechanism in an accident
  • Strap two children into one belt
  • Put an adult belt round an adult and child together

Tip

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

WHAT IS 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 other cars with Isofix points
  • Check whether your car has under-seat storage, as this may affect the Isofix base you can have

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

  • Contacting your vehicle manufacturer

  • Consulting your vehicle manual

  • Looking for staple-shaped fittings between the back and bottom of the seat

     

Tip

If you still have questions about choosing and fitting a car seat, the RoSPA website has a number of videos you might find helpful - view them here 

(Opens in a new window; please note we can't be responsible for the content of external websites.)