Enjoy car rides together knowing your child is safe in their car seat. Here are some tips for choosing one.
What is the right car seat for my child?
The right car seat is the one that:
- fits your child
- fits your car
- is easy to install and use.
There are three main things to consider when you choose a car seat:
1. How old is my baby and how much does he weigh?
Car seats are divided into 3 groups, based on children’s weights:
Baby car seats (Group 0 and Group 0+ )
From birth to 9 (Group 0) or 13 kg (Group 0+), i.e. up to around 9-12 months
Toddler car seats (Group 1)
From 9 to 18 kg, i.e. from around 9 months to around 4 years
Child car seats: (Group 2/3)
From 15 to 36 kg, i.e. from around 3½ years to around 12 years
There are multi-group car available that adapt as your child grows. A Group 0/1 car seat takes your infant from newborn to kindergarten age, and a Group 1/2/3 adapts all the way from toddler to pre-teen.
2. Fine tune your choice
When you know what group car seat you need, go along with your baby to choose a car seat.
Here is a checklist to make sure you’ve got everything covered:
- Is the car seat suitable for her age and weight and can she fit into it with her coat on?
- Does your child feel comfortable? Is the harness easy to adjust?
- Is the car seat too big for your little one? Don’t buy it – it needs to be the correct size from day 1
- If you have several children, can the car seat fit in the car with them?
- Group 0 and Group 0+ are usually sold in sets with strollers. If you’re buying this type of car seat separately, make sure it’s compatible with your stroller.
- Finally, make sure that your car seat carries an orange ECE-R 44/04 label, which means they have been tested to the most recent and stringent European safety standards
3. When to change to a bigger car seat
Rear-facing position, from birth to 9-12 months (Group 0/0+)
Babies up to 9-12 months are best protected in a rear-facing car seat. In an accident, the car seat and seat belts, not your baby, absorb most of the impact. So don’t be in a rush to switch to a toddler seat.
Forward-facing position, baby to toddler (Group 1)
When the tops of your baby’s ears are higher than the top of the seat back – and not before – the baby car seat is too small. In the toddler car seat, make sure your baby’s head is generously protected by the top of the seat.
From toddler to child seat (Group 2/3)
When your child’s shoulders are 2 cm above the highest settings for the shoulder straps with the headrest in its highest position, you can move to a child seat. Ensure the headrest is positioned correctly to protect your child’s head.
No more car seats
When your child is 1.35 or 1.50 meters tall, and approximately 10-12 years old, depending on the country, he won’t need a car seat any more, but still needs to buckle up with a seat belt.