There are a range of options out there when it comes to finding a safe and suitable child or baby seat for your car, and you should be aware if you’re not already that there are laws governing the appropriate products you need at different stages during a child’s growth. Luckily, the folks at Auto Express put together a handy guide so we thought we’d give you a run down!
The single most important thing to note is that all children under the age of 12 or 135cm tall do need to be using a booster seat according to the law. Whichever one you use must also adhere to EU standards, and you can make sure your does by looking for a capital letter E on the label. If you can’t find one, we recommend getting a replacement as soon as possible. There are very few circumstances In which a child can legally travel without a seat, for example in an emergency when the journey is both unexpected and absolutely necessary.
Seats are categorised for suitability by either the child’s height or weight, and there are two rating scales which determine that. I-size seats are height dependent and will have appropriate heights for each model clearly labelled.
ECE R 44/04 is weight depending and of the two is the older system. As a basic overview: children between 0-25kg should be supported by a rear-facing baby seat using a harness, 9-18kg can use a rear or forward facing baby seat. Those between 15-36kg should use a forward-facing child seat otherwise known as a high-backed booster seat, and finally those over 22kg can simply use a booster cushion.
You can get a better idea of the best seat for your particular car by looking at the new car assessment programme (NCAP) which includes a child restraint system installation where popular seat options are fitted to your car and rated.