buyers guide car seats and carriers

Everything you need to know about car seats


Protecting your little one is your – and our – number one priority. This car seat buyer's guide takes you through one of the most important purchases you'll make. And makes it easy!

DO'S AND DON'TS

  • Do come to Kiddicare for free car seat fitting & safety checking
  • Do have a car seat ready to bring your baby home from hospital
  • Do keep your child in a rear-facing infant seat for as long as possible

  • Don't assume that all car seats fit all cars. They don't!
  • Don't accept a hand-me-down car seat. Be safe, buy new
  • Don't recycle a car seat that's been in an accident

IT'S A LAW THING

Since 18 September 2006 the law says:

  • every child must travel in an appropriate child restraint until either 135cm in height or 12 years old
  • rear-facing car seats must not be used in a front seat without deactivating front air bags
  • all car seats must comply with European standard ECE R44.04

HOW CAR SEAT GROUPS WORK

Car seats are divided into groups with each group covering a specific weight range. The key thing is matching your car seat to your baby's weight not age. This table shows the range of car seats available at Kiddicare. You'll see that some seats cover more than one group.

Single group car seats

Group 0

birth – 10kg

birth – 6 months approx

Group 0+

birth – 13kg

birth – 15 months approx

Group 1

9 - 18kg

9 months – 4 years approx

Group 2/3

15 - 36kg

4 years – 12 years approx


Multi-group car seats & boosters

Group 0+1

birth – 18kg

birth – 4 years approx

Group 0+1.2

birth – 25kg

birth – 7 years approx

Group 1,2,3

9 - 36kg

9 months – 12 years approx


What are the benefits of single group versus multi-group car seats?

Single group car seats

  • optimised shape for your child's weight + additional comfort features
  • most group 0+ car seats can be used as part of a travel system
  • most group 1 car seats have easy-adjust comfort reclining

Multi-group car seats

  • adjust to grow with your child
  • ideal if you have children of varying ages or for grandparents

EARLY DAYS. GROUP 0 (0-6 MONTHS) & GROUP 0+ (0-15 MONTHS)

Generally known as infant carriers, these are the easiest way to transport your newborn up to 15 months.

  • rear facing seats
  • Group 0 seats are for babies weighing 0-10kg (22lbs)
  • Group 0+ seats are for babies weighing 0-13kg (29lbs)
  • fixes with adult seat belt in the back or in the front (remember, absolutely NO activated passenger airbags) or with an ISOFIX anchorage system
  • handy carry handle for transporting sleepy babies
  • some models fit as part of a travel system
  • gentle rocking mechanism for use in the home

EARLY DAYS. GROUP 0+1. BIRTH TO 4 YEARS.

A flexible option that covers you from the journey home from the hospital to approximately 4 years of age.

  • both rear- and front-facing
  • babies weighing over 9kg able to sit unsupported for 20-30 minutes at a time and have been doing so for 6–8 weeks can face forward
  • one seat takes you through the first few years although you will miss out on the added flexibility of an infant carrier
  • fixes with adult seat belt in the back or in the front (remember, absolutely NO activated passenger airbags) or with an ISOFIX anchorage system
  • comfy multi-recline positions available on most models
  • many models include a simple one-step click and tighten harness
  • padded removable covers for washing

JUNIOR EXPLORERS. GROUP 1. 9 MONTHS-4 YEARS.

If you’ve been using an infant carrier for baby’s first year this is an ideal next seat.

JUNIOR EXPLORERS. GROUP 0+1,2. BIRTH-7 YEARS.

A versatile car seat that converts from rear to forward facing to take your child through babyhood and toddlerhood to approximately 7 years of age.

  • rear & forward facing
  • baby can sit forward facing from 9kg (provided s/he can up unaided for 20-30mins at a time and has been doing so for 6-8 weeks)
  • one seat takes you through to approx 7 years but you do miss out on the flexibility of an infant carrier and some Group 1 features
  • harnesses are used up until 18kg and then the adult 3 point belt is then used from 15kg to 25kg
  • fixes using the seat belt in the back or front (remember absolutely NO activated passenger airbags). Currently no ISOFIX options available
  • some come with an easy-to-use comfort recline
  • many models come with a simple one click and pull harness
  • padded removable covers for washing

JUNIOR EXPLORERS. GROUPS 1,2,3. 9 MONTHS-12 YEARS.

If you’ve been using an infant carrier, these multi-group seats grow with your child to last the rest of their car seat days.

  • forward-facing car seat from 9-36kg
  • from 9-18kg use the integral harness; from 15kg-36kg use with a 3 point seat belt
  • fixes with adult seat belt in the back or front (but not with activated passenger airbags though). Currently no ISOFIX fixed anchorage options
  • headrest & harness are height adjustable to grow with your child
  • seat belt guides ensure correct seat belt positioning when harness removed
  • most have recline options (some models extend sideways too)
  • removable elements to convert to a booster seat
  • some models have handy drink holders
  • padded, washable seat covers can be easily removed

BIGGER BOYS & GIRLS. GROUP 2/3. 3-12 YEARS.

If you’ve been using a Group 1 car seat a booster seat is all you need for safe travels up to age 12.

  • forward facing seat from 15-36kg
  • height adjustable head support
  • some backs can be removed for a group 3 booster seat
  • seat belt guides for correct positioning
  • most have padded arm rests & retractable cup holders

Booster seats don’t have an integral harness so it's important that the seat belt is correctly adjusted:

  • the belt should be worn tight
  • the lap belt should go over the pelvis not the tummy
  • the diagonal strap should rest over the shoulder, not the neck

ISOFIX CAR SEATS

ISOFIX is a worldwide standard fitting system that doesn’t use seat belts so it minimises the risk of slack installation. Essentially it takes the ‘human error’ element out of fitting car seats. It also reduces forward head movement to better protect your child’s head and neck.

It works with a series of rigid connectors that lock the car seat to the car. The result is reduced forward-head movement and a smoother, safer ride for your child. But here’s the rub: not all cars are ISOFIX compatible. To find out if yours is either check in your car manual or ask at the Kiddicare Community and one of our colleagues will be happy to help.

CAR SEAT ACCESSORIES

Handy extras that make life easier for you and comfier for your child. And a comfy child means a happy parent. Which gets our vote!

Car seat bases & adaptors

We sell a range of ISOFIX and non-ISOFIX bases to make sure your car seat is securely fixed in your car. Not all bases fit all car seats and not all bases fit all cars so carefully check your spec before ordering. An extra car seat base is particularly handy if yours is a two car family. You can install one in each without having the hassle of reinstalling each time but remember to check the base is compatible with your second car. Our adaptors fit certain car seat models which attach to specific pushchairs, creating a handy travel system. Again, one size doesn’t fit all so it’s a case of checking and checking again.

Car seat footmuffs & blankets

Designed to keep little one nice and snug, these are a great investment, particularly as you can take them on planes and trains (and automobiles). Travel blankets are cleverly designed to attach to your car seat so they stay in place much better than a standard blanket. Our footmuffs are brand-specific so you can be sure you’re getting the best fit with your particular car seat

Car seat toys

Keep the little one entertained with toys that dangle, squeak, shake, rattle and roll. It’s a party for one going on in the back of your car

Car seat sun & rain protection

Full tilt sunshine coming through non-tinted car windows will make your baby feel all hot and bothered. We sell a range of UVA/UVB sun stops (from pop-open to suction models) for a comfortable – and peaceful - journey.

Let’s be honest, in the UK the likelihood is that you’re more likely to need a raincover. These clear plastic covers fit snugly over infant carriers (group 0 and group 0+) keeping baby dry.

Click to see our full range

Car seat travel bag

Car seats can be cumbersome but these carriers are designed for easy transportation. Plus they’ll protect the upholstery from the rigours of the airport carousel.

Car seat pillows & supports

From head cradlers to neck supporters these little extras will ensure that when your little one drops off there won’t be any awkward-looking neck positions.

And finally, a few extra things to consider:

A car seat cover is a sound investment to protect your seat from wear and tear, not to mention multiple juice spillages. Car seat storage might not seem like an essential but back-of-seat organisers and pop-up bins really do turn chaos into calm. A car seat mirror is a great way of – literally – keeping an eye on rear-facing babies. Oh and don’t forget your ‘Baby on Board’ sign!

WHEN TO MOVE UP A GROUP

Some handy pointers on how to tell when your child is ready to move up to a new car seat group.

  • group 0 will fit your child until 10kg
  • group 0+ will fit your child until 13kg OR the top of your child’s head is above the top of the seat
  • group 1 will fit your child until 18kg OR until your child’s eye line is level with the top of the seat
  • group 2/3 fits children to either 12 years of age OR 135cm in the UK OR 36kg in weight. Please note that in countries outside of the UK children must use booster seats until 150cm tall (which these seats will accommodate.)

FITTING IT RIGHT

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all instructions so it’s important to get acquainted with your car seat’s fitting instructions. And when you’re next at a Kiddicare store pop in for a free car seat fit and safety check. Our certified car seat specialists will make sure your seat is securely fitted; they’ll also give you a thorough demo so you know how to fit it yourself. Remember that the most expensive, feature-packed car seat won’t be safe if it isn’t properly installed every time it’s used.

Here are a few tips for secure fitting:

  • check the seatbelt buckle is not resting on your child’s seat -– this can reduce the effectiveness of the seat on impact
  • the harness must be firm – you should be able to fit no more than 2 fingers between the harness and your child’s chest
  • always keep the car seat manufacturer’s fitting manual/instructions in your car – you never know when you might need a reminder
  • make sure there are no twists in either seat belt or harness
  • make sure your car’s headrests aren’t obstructing forward-facing seats. If they are adjust or remove



©Kiddicare 2014

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