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How to buy the best child car seat – Which? guide

How to buy the best child car seat – Which? guide

A child car seat is one of the most important
purchases you’ll make for your baby to keep them safe, so it’s crucial that you get the
right one.So keep watching for everything you need before heading out to the shops.
Children’s’ bodies are different than adults and far less force is need to cause serious
injury. That’s why getting the right child car seats
to fit their growing body as it changes is so important. Child car seats are split into
groups from naught to three with each group designed to provide the right protection as
your child grows. It’s so important that the law now says that you must use a seat for
your child until they’re 12 years old or 135 cm tall. We’d go even further and recommend your child
stays in the seat until they’re one hundred and fifty centimeters tall. Before your baby
is born you’ll need a rearward facing group zero plus child car seat and remember you
won’t be able to leave hospital without one. This kind of seat provides the best protection
for babies and toddlers. We recommend that you keep your child rearward
facing until they’re at least 15 months old, reach the weight of 13 kg, or the crown of
their head is level with the top of the car seat. Babies’ heads are about a third of their
body weight and their neck muscles are weak so if they’re forward facing, there’s risk
of the head being pulled by the force of the crash causing severe neck and spine injuries. Once they’ve grown too big, they’ll need a
group one child car seat, which is for 9-18kg, and that’s around 9 months old to 4 years.
Once your child has outgrown a Group 1 seat, they’ll need a Group 2 or 2-3. This is for
children from 15 kg. which is around three years old. The recommended weight for each
group overlaps, so hold off until your child reaches the top of the range before swapping. For a group one, two, or three child car seat,
your child will also have outgrown it if his or her eyes on level with the top of the seat.
Once your child’s old enough for a Group 2-3 seat it’s always good to get a high backed
one rather then a backless one. Our test have proven that in a crash a seat without side
protection will leave your child’s head, neck and body at risk of hitting the side of the
car causing serious injury. You can get child car seats that combine more
than one group such as a 1,2,3. But our test have found that not all car seats protect
your child at every single stage. I mean there is a big difference between a 9 kg baby and
a thirty-six kilogram child. If you really want to use this kind of seat then make sure
you take a look at our best buy and don’t car seats. As well as weights there there three important
things you need to consider when buying a child car seat. Firstly, what car will you
be using fitting it in. Not all child car seats fit in all cars, so it’s vital you take
it on the car going to be using. You can check it fits properly. You should also make it
will fit in any other cars you plan to use it in such as grandparents or childminders. Some manufacturers’ websites will list what
cars their seats are expected to fit in, so it’s worth checking before you head to the
shops. Check whether your car has ISOFIX mountings. ISOFIX is a standard system of fitting which
is in most new family cars and it basically means that you can fit the child car seat
without the use of a seat belt. Isofix seats have 2 or three points that can
be fixed. There are two at the base and a third either as a strap to go over the back
of the car seat or a drop down foot. We recommend looking for one with 3 points as it’s generally
more secure if fitted correctly. If you get one with a drop down foot just check that
you haven’t got underfloor storage as this will stop the brace from working. Click the link below where you can look at
our fitting videos where we explain this further. Will you be transporting more that one child.
If you already have child car seats make sure you take them along to the fitting so that
you can check the new one will fit alongside provide them. Or if you can’t take them with
you, at the very least mention it to the retailer. How tall are you? tall people in front seats
can affect how much room there is for rearward facing child car seats, so keep this in mind
while shopping. never buy a child car seat secondhand or buy unofficial replacement parts.
It may have been weakened by an accident or have wear and tear that could make it less
safe child. Even if you are using one from a friend or
family member, it may have damage that you can’t see. We we’ve tested hundred’s of child
car seats and found big differences between a good one and a bad one. take a look at our
video guide to what makes a best buy. You can find all our information on child car
seats and best buy that have been able to withstand our tough lab tests that are higher
than the UK standard by visiting

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19 thoughts on “How to buy the best child car seat – Which? guide

  1. Why doesn't Which? advocate rear-facing beyond 15 months despite overwhelming evidence that children are much safer and avoid the spinal injuries associated with forward facing seats? You make the valid point about babies' heads being heavy relative to their bodies but this applies up until at least 4 years of age. Why the inconsistency?

  2. I know this is an old video now. But extended rearfacing should have been mentioned. My little girl born in 2012 is still rearfacing so the seats were definitely around in 2015 when this video was made. Poor show when it's 10x safer it should have been mentioned.

  3. Well im 12 and 165cm and Ive been out of a car seat since I was 8 or 9. Im not at all fat im underweight and I for the love of god cannot fit in any car seat at all. I have tried but they caused me pain and I was left with stiffness in my neck, shoulders and my shoulders are still very stiff and weak now so people will say my parents are bad parents- they arent my doctor and paediatricion said I shouls be taken out of it. Anyway that was before these new laws ans by 8 i was 140cm

  4. I live in Iowa where the law is babies must be in a rear facing car seat till they are 1 or weigh 20 lbs then they must be in a 5 point harness till age 4 then can move to a booster seat which they can leave at age 6. They can sit in the front seat at age 12 so saying a 12 year old should be in a car seat is just ridiculous. I moved from the booster to a regular seat when I was 7

  5. 15 months?!?!
    I child should stay rear-faceing until they are at least 5 years old for the best protection. watch crash tests and you'll see why. 😱if you care about your child ,keep them rear-faceing for as long as possible!

  6. There is absolutely NO way a 11 or 12 year old would be in a car seat. That's ridiculous. I'm 12 and I can't even imagine sitting in a car seat like what the heck.

  7. I definitely also think they should stay rear-facing longer, but with the new i-size regulations and the direction the law is taking on this matter it is only a matter of time before all car seats sold will have to meet i-size standards which means kids must be rear-facing up until 4 years old. Finally! If you guys are looking for the safest car seats you should definitely check out this guide !

    You're welcome 🙂

  8. Just wondering is this the uk because I’m 16 year old driver in the us almost 17 the laws are a little different hear

  9. Rear facing,,,,,0-4y….my 2.5y old legs are bent if rear facing plus weight is 15kg … think some of these rules are over the top

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