How to chose the right car seat

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  • Choosing the best car seat for your newborn or older child can be confusing, there’s no denying it – our consumer expert Heidi Scrimgeour shares her advice for getting it right.

    Car seats are confusing. There’s no denying it. The most important thing you need to know before you buy a car seat for a child is that children must use car seats until they’re 12 years old or 135cm tall. The second most important thing to know is that car seats are categorised into several different groups according to their weight or height limits.

    Babies must use rearward-facing seats until they are at least 15 months old. At that stage, you can switch to a forward-facing car seat, but a rearward-facing car seat offers better protection in a collision. Ideally, keep your child in a rearwards-facing car seat until she is at least four years old.

    Whichever car seat you’re currently using, it’s likely that your little one will need to move into the next category of car seat in due course. If you’re using a weight-based seat, you should replace it when your baby weighs more than the maximum limit for that seat OR when the top of your child’s head is level with the top of the car seat.

    Don’t rush this process – it’s very important to keep your child in the lowest category of car seat for her weight or height. Swapping your child’s car seat for the next stage seat too soon is not safe. In a collision, a child is more at risk of an injury if they are at the minimum weight limit of the car seat they’re using.

    With all that in mind, it makes sense to shop around for the next stage car seat for your child while there are savings to be made. Just don’t be tempted to move your child into that seat to soon.

    If you’re expecting a baby, it’s well worth taking advantage of Prime Day to get your infant car seat now.

    Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus Baby Car Seat

    Credit: Maxi-Cosi

    View on Amazon – £132.27 (SAVE £66.73)

    This is an iSize infant carrier car seat that’s suitable from birth until your baby weighs 13kg or reaches 75cm, which equates to around one year old. You can secure it your car using the Maxi-Cosi FamilyFix2, BabyFix or FamilyFix One i-Size car seat base, and it’s compatible with Maxi-Cosi and Quinny pushchairs to create a complete travel system.

    If you have an infant carrier car seat, Prime Day is the perfect time to nab the next stage car seat that your child will need – don’t move your child into too soon, but grab a bargain now and pop it away for when the time comes.

    Maxi-Cosi AxissFix Toddler Car Seat

    Credit: Maxi-Cosi

    View on Amazon – £199 (SAVE £100)

    This toddler car seat can be used from four months up to around four years. If you’ll need to replace your baby’s car seat with a toddler seat in due course, we think this is a brilliant buy. In our consumer tests, parents rave about this one because the seat swivels  360 degrees to make it super-easy to get your child in and out of the seat. It’s a particular hit with parents who suffer from back pain.

    It’s also an iSize seat, which means it meets or exceeds the very latest car seat safety regulations, and it’s what’s called ‘extended rearward-facing’ which means it allows you to keep your toddler the safest seat position, facing the back of the car rather than the direction of travel. There’s also a handy height indicator, which lets you know when it’s safe to change the direction of this seat. 

    Britax Römer car seat KIDFIX 2 S

    Credit: Britax Römer

    View on Amazon – £112 (SAVE £63)

    Perhaps you’re keeping your toddler in a rearward-facing car seat until she is four, but you’re thinking about the car seat she’ll need after that.

    This high back booster is suitable from around 3.5 years to around 12 years. We’d recommend using an extended rearward-facing seat until your child is at least four years old, but if your child has outgrown that type of seat and is ready for the next stage child seat, this is worth considering. It offers head to hip protection and enhanced side impact protection, and has an adjustable v-shaped backrest.