Buying guides

Car Seats Buying Guide Hero

BUYING A CAR SEAT

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

By law, all children under 135cm tall or under 12 years of age must have their own car seat. All the car seats in our range are designed to give your child the best possible protection and meet the current safety regulations as set out in ECE R44.04 and R129.

It’s recommended that a child continues to use a rear-facing car seat until they are at least 15 months old (this is mandatory if you select a R129 car seat). 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. Click here to find out more

RoSPA has produced a useful series of videos on car seat safety - view them here.

Shop car seats here

A QUICK GUIDE TO THE RIGHT SIZE SEAT

When you are shopping around you may notice that all car seats fall into a numbered group which can seem a little confusing. The requirements for these groups will also vary based on the regulation you choose.  

Some seats sit in multiple groups. This just means that these seats have the ability to adapt as your child grows, meaning they can use them for longer.  

We display the below chart in all our stores to help guide you to the right seat for your child. We have also included further information on benefits and features of the type of seat available to you within those groups. 

Group

Child's weight*

Approx. age of child

Child's height¹

0

Birth - 10kg/22lb

Birth to 6 - 9 months

40 - 85cm

0+

Birth - 13kg/29lb

Birth to 12 - 15 months

40 - 85cm

0+ and 1

Birth - 18kg/40lb

Birth to 4 years

40 - 105cm
0+, 1, 2 and 3 Birth - 36kg/79lb Birth to 12 years 40 - 150cm

1

9 - 18kg/20 - 40lb

9 months to 4 years

85 - 105cm

1 and 2

9 - 25kg/20 - 55lb

9 months to 6 years

85 - 150cm

2

15 - 25kg/33 - 55lb

4 to 6 years

105 - 150cm

1, 2 and 3

9 - 36kg/20 - 79lb

9 months to 12 years

85 - 150cm

2 and 3

15 - 36kg/33 - 79lb

4 to 12 years

105 - 150cm
  *Applies to R44.04 seats   ¹Applies to iSize seats

TYPES OF CAR SEAT

Infant carriers from birth – up to 85cm, 13kg/29lb (0-12/15 months approx.)

The first option falls in group 0+ and is suitable for your newborn up until they are:

13kg/29lb if you select a R44.04 regulation seat

85cm in height if you select a R129 (iSize) regulation seat

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 (don’t forget to check if your car is ISOFIX compatible by reading the owner's manual)
  • They feature a carry handle, which is useful for transporting a sleeping baby from the car and have a curved base for gentle rocking
  • They are often compatible with pushchairs. However we recommend that babies should not be left in Group 0+ car seats (infant carriers) for prolonged periods
  • Comfort extras include cushions, head-huggers and padded straps

Shop 0+ car seats here

Infant/ toddler combination seat from birth – up to 105cm, 18kg/40lb (0 to 4 years approx.)

For extended use you can select a combination seat. Group 0+/1 is suitable for your newborn up until they are:

18kg/40lb if you are looking at R44.04 regulation seats

Up to 105 cm in height if you select a R129 (iSize) regulation seat


Go for a Group 0+/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
  • Spinning options are available, meaning no awkward lifting getting your child in and out of the seat
  • Some car seats in this category even extend beyond 4 years old

Shop 0+/1 car seats

Toddler/ child combination seat 85-150cm, 9-36kg/20-79lb (9 months to 12 years approx.)

Looking for your child’s next stage seat? Group 1/2/3 car seats are suitable for your child if they:

Weigh 9-36kg/20lb-79lb, if you are looking at R44.04 regulation seats         

Have a height of 85-150cm, if you are looking at R129 (iSize) regulation seats 

Select a Group 1/2/3 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

Shop 1/2/3 car seats

A group 1,2 and 3 car seat

Child seats (high back boosters) 105-135cm, 15-36kg/33-79lb (4 -12 years approx.)

Looking for your child's final stage seat? Group 2/3 car seats are suitable for your child if they:

Weigh between 15-36kg/33lb-79lb, if you are looking at R44.04 regulation seats

Have a height of 105-150cm, if you are looking at R129 (iSize) regulation seats

A Group 2/3 car seat is a good option 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

Shop 2/3 car seats 

A group 2/3 car seat

THE LAW AND YOUR RESPONSIBILITY IN USING CAR SEATS AND BELTS

 

  • Until they’re 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first, children must normally use a child car seat appropriate for their weight in any vehicle (including vans and other goods vehicles)
  • Don’t leave even the shortest journey to chance: always take the time to harness your child in an appropriate car seat
  • Under no circumstances should a car seat be used on a passenger seat where there is an active airbag
  • Correct fitting of all car seats and boosters is of paramount importance to make them most effective in the event of an accident. Not all car seats fit all cars and it is important to check for fitting suitability on all cars you intend fitting the seat to, as well as re-checking if you change your car
  • Always read the instruction booklet which comes with your car seat to achieve a safe and correct fitting, retaining the guide for future reference. We recommend fitting your car seat in advance of first using it
  • We recommend that babies should not be left in Group 0/0+ car seats (infant carriers) for prolonged periods
  • Our Partners are trained to advise on the right type of seat for your child. We offer in-store and virtual appointments so you can access our All Things Baby services at a time and place to suit you. Click here to book your appointment

 

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 & Partners and Waitrose & Partners. 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.

Car sun blind/ shade

Suction pads secure the blind in the best position to shield your child from direct sunlight and UV rays. Shop car sun protectors here

Extra rear-view mirror

Helps you keep an eye on your child when travelling. Shop car mirrors here

Car seat protector

This can be fitted underneath a car seat to protect the car's upholstery from compression, spills and crumbs. Shop car seat protectors here

Car organiser

Useful for storing books, toys, drinks and snacks. Shop car seat accessories here

Car seat adaptors

These can help fit your infant carrier on to a pram/ pushchair frame. These are specific to the brand of car seat and pushchair so please check compatibility before purchasing. Shop car seat adaptors here

Car seats

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.

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+/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 their eye line 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
  • 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 as 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 around an adult and child together

What is iSize?

The R129 regulation, more commonly known as iSize was introduced in 2013. It was brought in to offer improved protection for younger children and make travel in a vehicle even safer. In this regulation you select a car seat based on your child’s height rather than their weight.  

Current child car seat laws mean it is legal to use either an R44.04 (weight based regulation) or an R129 car seat. So iSize doesn’t replace anything, it just gives you an alternative option when picking the best seat for your baby or child. 

Good to know about R129 (iSize):  

  • A baby must travel in the safer rear-facing position up to the minimum recommended age of 15 months. Some iSize car seats can even be used rear-facing until a child is 105cm tall, which is around 4 years old
  • Side impact testing is assessed as part of the regulation


Shop iSize car seats

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

SEAT BELTING vs ISOFIX

When it comes to installing a car seat you have two options., You can either choose installation with the vehicle seat belt or you can opt for an ISOFIX attachment.

SEAT BELT 

Using the vehicle seat belt to install a car seat is the more traditional method and, when done correctly, is extremely safe. This installation method is great for swapping between vehicles and occasional users, for example grandparents. Its a universal fitting method so will be suitable in all cars with a 3 point seat belt. 

ISOFIX

If you want peace of mind that your child’s car seat is correctly installed, we recommend using an ISOFIX attachment. ISOFIX car seats have anchoring points on their base which then simply fix into the anchorage points inside a compatible car. ISOFIX was introduced to reduce the risk of car seats being installed incorrectly and increases the level of protection for your baby or child. Please don’t forget to make sure that your car and any other car the seat might be used in is ISOFX compatible. 

 

  • 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

RoSPA CAR SEAT VIDEOS

Watch these videos from RoSPA for more help with choosing and fitting a car seat

Introduction

Types of seat

Rear-facing seats

Forward facing

High backed

Booster cushions

REPAIRS

If you need help with a product you've purchased from us, please call the Nursery department of your nearest John Lewis & Partners for assistance. 

We recognise that bringing in the product can be difficult, and in some cases the issue can be resolved without you needing to leave home.

Find out more about our car seat guarantees

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INTEREST FREE CREDIT AVAILABLE

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