How to choose the best car seat for your baby

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Choosing the right car seat can be confusing if you’re looking for a first-time purchase or if you’ve had a child a few years ago and want to brush up on your knowledge. Refused Car Finance have complied a guide of how to choose the right car seat for your baby and some of the top-rated car seats in 2021!

What is the child car seat law?

Having a car seat for your child is a legal requirement in the UK. The rules can be confusing but if you don’t follow the law, you can get pulled over and fined! All children in the UK must use a car seat until they’re 12 years old or 4ft 5inches tall, whichever comes first.

Only EU approved car seats can be used in the UK (these will have a label with a capital ‘E’ in a circle) and buying the wrong car seat could put your child’s life at risk and also result in a fine.

There are a few exemptions to the child seat law in different vehicles.

  • A child can travel in a taxi or minicab without a car seat but wearing a car seat. Children over 3 must travel in the rear and wear an adult seat belt. Children under three should travel without a seat belt.
  • Children aged 3 or over can travel on a coach or minibus and must wear a seatbelt. If there are no seatbelts, a child must travel in the rear of a coach or minibus.
  • A child aged three or over may use an adult seatbelt if they have to make an unexpected but essential short journey
  • Children with disabilities follow the same rules but they can also use a disabled person’s seat belt or child restraint designed for their specific needs.
  • Doctors can also issue exempt certificates if necessary.

What to look for when buying a car seat?

Car seats are divided into baby car seats, car seats and high back booster seats. They fall into 3 categories depending on age and weight.

  • Group 0+. Group 0 includes rear-facing car seats which are suitable for babies aged up to about 15 months or who weigh up to 13 kg. Some seats can be clipped on to a pushchair frame and are known as travel systems.
  • Group 1. Group 1 includes forward-facing seats suitable for children who are aged from about 9 months to 4 years or who weigh 9-18kg.
  • Group 2/3. Group 2/3 are high-backed booster seats which are suitable for children who are aged from about 4 to 11 years or weigh 15-36kg.
  • Combination seats. You can also buy combination seats which cross over groups and also ages. For example, you can purchase a car seat in group 0+/1 which would be suitable from birth till around 4 years old or 18kg. This choice can eb more economical and save you from buying 2 car seats however you may not have the same level of protection.

What is Isofix and i-Size?

Isofix stands for ‘International Standards Organisation Fix’ which can be found in the rear seats of all vehicles manufactured after November 2014. Many family cars before 2014 also come with Isofix fittings included but if you are buying an older car its best to check. It is the top-level of car seat safety and allow car seats to be attached into the car rather than use a seatbelt. I-Size is a European standard which relates to the car seat groups listed above. I-Size seats are only compatible with Isofix and many car seats come with Isofix fittings.

What are the highest rated baby car seats 2021?

1 Ickle Bubba Galaxy Group 0+ Rear Facing Car Seat With Isofix base

2  Maxi-Cosi Pearl 360 car seat

3 Chicco Seat 4 Fix car seat

4  Cybex Cloud Z i-Size Baby Car Seat

5 Joie Baby i-Spin 360 Group 0+/1 i-Size car seat

6 Maxi-Cosi Marble

7 Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size Car Seat With Isofix base

8 Maxi-Cosi Jade

9 Britax Römer Baby-Safe 2 i-Size

10 BeSafe iZi Go Modular X1 i-Size

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