Whatever stage you’re at (whether you’ve just found out your pregnant, or you’ve got a toddler running around) we know that it can be daunting knowing how to keep your child safe. And nothing is more scary (or confusing) than buying a car seat, especially when so much can go wrong. That’s why this child safety week we’re put together some top tips, with a little help from Britax, on how to buy a car seat:
Do you know how much your child weighs?
Car seats are grouped by the child’s weight. Age is an indicator, but for maximum safety you need to know how much your child weighs to choose the right seat. You also need to ensure that the seat you have chosen is approved for your vehicle. Take your car with you when buying your seat, no matter where you choose to buy it from, and ask a trained staff member to demonstrate the fitting procedure.
Does your car have ISOFIX?
Britax and VW developed ISOFIX back in 1997. Because ISOFIX connects child seats rigidly to the vehicle chassis rather than just using adult seat belts, it reduces installation errors and increases child safety enormously. Only 30% of child car seats are installed correctly when using an adult seat belt compared to 96% when using the ISOFIX system. So if you’re looking to buy a new car before your new arrival arrives, then check that it comes with ISOFIX!
What features should you look out for?
Five-point safety harness
When buying a seat for a child aged from birth to four years check if there is a five-point safety harness. This system fully restrains your child over the pelvic and shoulder areas keeping them firmly secured in every direction. In the event of a crash, the harness evenly distributes the impact forces over the five points of contact minimising injury.
Easy headrest and harness adjustment
Lets you alter headrest and harness height without having to re-thread the shoulder straps ensuring there are no errors when re-fitting the harness.
Deeply padded side wings
Does the seat offer side impact protection for full head containment and body protection? 1 in 4 accidents is a side collision and side collisions account for 20% of child car seat crash fatalities.
What does the law say?
Child seats are compulsory for children up to 1.35m(UK) or 1.5m(Ireland) tall – depending on where you are travelling in the EU
Need some more help?
To ensure parents choose the right seat for their child, Britax has created an online ‘Fit Finder’, which has approved vehicle lists, step-by-step user guides and installation videos to help you make the correct choice for you and your child.
All Mothercare stores also have trained staff who are able to help you make an informed choice when it comes to choosing the right car seat.