1. Car seat classification is based on a child’s height or weight – not age
Choosing the best fitting car seat for your child crucial to it’s safety performance. Children grow at different rates, and as no one size fits all, using height or weight as the measurement provides a much more accurate scale.
In the UK and the EU, car seats are approved to one of two regulations:
→ ECE R44 uses child weight as the classification guide
→ ECE R129 / i-Size uses child height as the classification guide
2. Will the seat adapt to the needs of your growing child?
We all know that children grow quickly. As they develop and grow, they will need a car seat that matches their changing needs.
Many car seats offer the ability to adapt with the physical development of your child - offering you greater flexibility. Features that provide some room to grow will increase the longevity of use of your car seat, like removable infant inserts, adjustable headrests and larger seat capacities.
3. Rearward facing is the safest way to travel?
Extensive testing has proven that a rearward facing position is the safest way to travel.
In the unfortunate event of a road traffic accident, younger babies are especially vulnerable to the forces of impact. Rearward facing car seats dissipate the force of impact over a larger area, and provide better protection for the head and neck.
Research has shown rear facing to be 500% safer up to two years of age. (Source: Carseat.se)
The risk of serious injury in a high-impact collision is reduced to 8% in a rear facing seat, compared to 40% in a forward facing seat . (Source: Carseat.se)
4. Side-impact protection is important too
Side impact collisions make up around 30% of road traffic accidents. (Source: carseat.se)
Although less common than rear or frontal , side impact collisions can be equally as dangerous and are nearly twice as likely to result in a child fatality compared to a frontal impact. This is due to vehicle design. Vehicle sides have less crumple zone that the vehicle front or rear, and therefore provide less innate protection.
5. Will the seat provide child comfort as well as child safety?
Safety should be the primary consideration when choosing your car seat, but there are some other things to think about too.
A comfortable child is a happier child – and that’s something to plan ahead for on the many car journeys you are going to make with your little one.
From the daily trips to the longer adventures, look out for added comfort features like seat recline positions, ergonomic design, seat contouring, deep padding and soft fabrics.
6. Will the car seat be simple and convenient to use? Day in, day out
It’s the little things that can make a big difference. A car seat that is easy to install, easy to adjust and easy to use can make parents’ lives a whole lot easier. Clever design features help to make the journey smoother too, like a rotating base for easy loading and access to your child, and fixed bases that remain permanently installed.
It should be noted that incorrect installation of a car seat vastly reduces it’s safety performance and the protection provided for your child. Unfortunately, surveys consistently find that a high proportion of child car seats are fitted incorrectly.
Check if your vehicle is fitted with ISOFIX connections. ISOFIX is a simple system that provides an easy and correct installation of a car seat on every journey - for extra peace of mind.