Monday, 1 October 2012

Sitting pretty: choosing the right car seat

Sitting pretty: choosing the right car seat

As a parent one of the most difficult things to do was to get the right car seat, especially as they grew and I needed to make changes in their car seats. I am delighted to be able to share this guest post with you as it provides factual information to help parents make the right choices about choosing car seats. I didn't even know you could insure your car seat! You learn something new everyday!

Most parents will remain anxious about the physical security of their children while on the road regardless of their age – and rightly so. Thankfully, in their earlier years, you can exercise some control over their safety in the car by purchasing the correct child seat.

If you’re unsure of the rules and regulations regarding child car seats, here’s what you need to know.

Making the right choice

You’re legally responsible for making sure that the children in your car – passengers who are younger than 12 or shorter than 135cm – are sitting in the correct child seats.

Get it wrong and you could face a hefty fine. More importantly, someone could get hurt. Always check that each child in the car has the appropriate car seat for their age or weight and that it is properly fitted.

The types of seats are grouped by the numbers 0-3 according to the size of child for whom they’re appropriate. The individual seat will be labelled accordingly.

The age and weight categories for each child car seat are listed here:
  • Groups 0 and 0+ are rear-facing to offer more protection to the child’s spine.
  • 0: Rearward-facing baby seat up to 10kg or from birth to nine months.
  • 0+: Combination seat from birth to 13kg or 15 months.
  • 1: Forward-facing child seat 9-18kg or nine months to four years. If your child’s head extends above the top of the car seat before they reach four, you must move on to the next level.
  • 2-3: Booster seats 15-36kg or four to 11 years.

All UK child car seats have to conform to the standards laid out in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe regulation R44.04, and must display an ‘E’ mark to prove that they do.

If you’re still concerned and want some more peace of mind, then check out the relevant government web page. You’ll also find some useful information at Child Car Seats.


Always replace a child car seat following an accident, even if there’s no visible damage, as their safety could be compromised. A Sainsbury's car insurance policy will pay out for replacements.


As with a life jacket, there’s no point in having one if it doesn’t fit. ISOFIX stands for ‘International Standards Organisation FIX’ and it is a standard for fitting child seats into cars, intended to make installation easy and safe.

Many large-scale vendors such as Halfords have fitting services. But if you decide to go it alone then, consider these points:
  • Read the instructions carefully.
  • Don’t alter the seat or the structure of the car to make it fit.
  • Watch out for the seat belt buckle – make sure it’s not stuck or twisted inside the tracks of the seat, and that it isn’t taking the strain.
  • Get the seat belt to go through the right gaps in the seat.
  • Make sure it’s absolutely rock solid.

Family life is kit-intensive. Every parent tells you that a particular piece of equipment is vital, but this one really is. So it’s well worth investing some time and energy in choosing and fitting the right car seat.

Author Bio:
Joel Dowling is a guest blogger for Sainsbury’s Bank Money Matters Blog and writes about various subjects including car insurance and vehicle safety. He likes nothing better than a long and safe, family road trip.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment