properly securing children in their seats goes a long way in ensuring their safety.
Which is why, when buying a car, you want to make sure it’s suitable for all your needs - and that’s why we’re going to give you the low-down on how to fit a child car seat, safely.
Ensuring a car seat’s compatibility and size is fundamental for their safety. It’s essential to check that the seat you buy fits suitably in the car, and able to fit in all the intended usage positions. Due to the varying shape, length and position of car seats, belts and anchor points, you will need to test its fit prior to purchase.
Understanding whether your seat is fit for your little one is also crucial. The UK law states that any child under 135cm and weighing less than 36 kilograms, must be placed in a child or high-backed booster seat.
Divided into three main groups of sizing, the one you buy will depend on their age and weight:
· group 0+ – This category concerns rear-facing car seats, appropriate for babies aged up to 15 months or weighing up to 13 kg (29lb); some of these can be clipped on to a pushchair frame and are known as travel systems.
· group 1 – Forward-facing seats suitable for children who weigh 9-18kg (20-40lb) or are aged 9 months to 4 ½ years.
· group 2/3 – These high-backed booster seats are suitable for children who weigh 15-36kg (33lb-5st 9lb) or aged around 3 to 12 years
You can also buy combination seats that cross over these groups: group 0+/1 seats, for example, are suitable from birth right up until your child weighs approximately 18kg (40lb) or is aged around 4 ½ .
Fitting Your Seat
When installing your child’s car seat, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions as there is no ‘one size fits all’ option. If you’re unable to find these instructions, you can contact the seat’s manufacturer or find them online.
The safest recommended position to fit your child’s car seat is the middle rear seat because it is the furthest away from the sides of the car. If this is not possible, then the rear seat behind the passenger would be preferred to the rear seat behind the driver, as it’s safer to get your child in and out of the car on the pavement side.
Likewise, it’s always safer for children to travel in the back of the car; it’s illegal to carry a child in a rear-facing seat whilst in a front passenger position that has an active airbag. Forward-facing seats in the same position, while not illegal, are not ideal because of the force an airbag can cause.
Fitting should be quite tight, so that only one or two fingers can fit between your child’s chest and harness. Always remember, however, that clothing can affect how snugly the harness fits, so make certain you check it on every journey.