Most of us will have to deal with choosing, buying, and installing child car seats at some point in our lives. Not only are child car seats vital for ensuring the safety of the children sitting in your car, it is a legal requirement to have an appropriate seat when transporting children. Here's our guide to help you choose the correct car seat and how to understand the rules and regulations around car seats.
What the Law Says
Many people aren't sure of the laws and rules surrounding use of child seats. For example, did you know that until your child is 135cm tall or 12 years old (whichever comes first), they must have some sort of child seat? Did you know that a child seat should be rear facing until your child is 15 months old? In addition to this, only EU-approved child seats can be used in the UK. As your child gets older they can have a booster seat rather than a high-backed child seat. More information is available on the Gov.UK website, to help you clear up any confusion and make sure you stay the right side of the law.
Fitting A Seat Safely
According to Which? In this article, a staggering 42% of parents didn't have the fit of their newly purchased child seat checked at all. Which? advise you to have your child seat professionally fitted when you buy it. Mothercare provide a ‘free safe fit service’, where one of their trained advisors will check the car seat you buy to ensure it fits your child and car.
What Child Seat Choices Are There?
For younger babies, you'll need a rearward facing child seat. This means that your baby faces the back of the car and is more protected from anything that happens up front. This seat will take your child comfortably and offer excellent protection. As your child grows older and bigger, get them fitted for a new seat as necessary, changing to a forward-facing seat when they're old enough, then a booster seat when they don't need a high-backed seat.
Choosing the Right Seat
Avoid buying second hand seats, and only buy seats from reputable retailers Halfords or Mothercare. Research different brands and models of seats to make sure you're buying the right one for your child, and the correct one for your brand of car. Don't buy an ISOFIX one if you don't have ISOFIX in the car, because you might not be able to secure it properly. Isofix provides a more secure and easier way of attaching child seats in cars, in comparison to other anchorage points.
Refer to your car's owner's manual for their recommendations of suitable seat styles. Don't be afraid to ask the store advisor to demonstrate fitting and use of the seat in your car - it's far less of a problem if the child seat isn't suitable for your car, when you find out before you've bought it and got it home!
Hopefully this guide contains some useful tips and answers any questions you have about child seats. Here at Thame Cars we stock a range of popular family models with interiors designed around a family's needs - most of our cars have ISOFIX fitted as standard. So, if you're looking for a new car to help keep your loved ones safe, you know where to come! Pop in and see us or give us a call for more information about child-friendly cars.