As a parent, it is our responsibility to make sure our children are always safe. Not just at home, but also when we travel, even by car. That’s why it’s so important to have the right car seat for our children, and today we will tell you everything you need to take into consideration.
When choosing a car seat, it’s important to be compliant with law requirements but, more importantly, with the task of keeping our children safe. First of all, we must establish the parameters as when a car seat is required; according to the highway code of the United Kingdom a car seat is required for those children that are either 12 or younger, or with a height smaller than 135 centimeters. If they are taller than 135 centimeters, they are required to wear a seatbelt.
Now, for choosing a car seat we can do it based on the height or weight of the child. It is important to consider that you can only use a child car seat if your vehicle’s seat belt has a diagonal strap, and be sure to deactivate any front airbags before fitting a rear-facing seat in a front seat.
For a height-based car seat all of them should be rear-facing the seat until the child is over 15 months old, once they pass this age, the car seat can be changed to face forward on the recommended position of the back seat: the middle one. Always be sure that the straps of the car seat are placed comfortably around your child to prevent them from harming the child.
As for the weight-based car seats there are different groups where you can choose from.
0 - 13 kg. This car seat must be rear-facing the seat and using a harness.
9 - 18 kg. This car seat can be rear-facing or facing forward using a harness.
15 - 36 kg. This car seat can be rear-facing or facing forward using a harness; they can be using a booster as well.
There are some car seats that are backless, these can be used by children that weigh more than 22kg and are taller than 125cm. All these rules also apply when buying a car seat for a child with a disability or medical condition, but they can use a disabled person’s seat belt or a child restraint that best suits their needs.
There are some exceptions to these rules, and those come when using a taxi, Uber or minicab. Children under three can travel without a child’s car seat or seat belt, but only on a rear seat, and children aged three or older can travel in a rear seat without a child’s car seat if they wear an adult seatbelt.
Besides the points mentioned above, it is necessary to consider some of the following: The car seats for newborn babies should have a newborn insert attached, or head hugger, that can bring some support to your child’s head, and it should not be removed until you are completely sure that the baby is tall enough to fit properly on the car seat.
This being said, take into consideration that your child will need a car seat for at least 10 years, so it is recommendable that you choose one that is not only tested and approved by law, but that it is also versatile so you can adjust it to your child’s needs.
While choosing a car seat might be hard for some, it is an easy step for others, it all depends on what category your child fits best, either weight or height. This also is a necessary process to be in compliance with the highway regulations since you can be fined for using an inappropriate car seat, thus the importance of choosing appropriately.