BY CAITLIN CRAWFORD (GUEST WRITER)
We have a guest post from the lovely Caitlin, who works for “In Car Safety Centre”, and she will be sharing all the things you need to know about picking the right car seat for your baby.
Baby is on the way (congratulations!) and you have a large list of all those new baby essentials that you need. Where have you put your new baby car seat on that list? Your car seat is a vital piece of safety equipment that is used to protect your precious little one in the event of a collision, and therefore it should be right at the top of your list! You may be shocked to hear that 70% of children’s car seats are either inappropriate for the child, incorrectly fitted or incompatible with the car(s). This is why choosing the right seat is so important.
So which seat is best? Well, this will totally depend on your vehicle(s), your child and what best suits your needs. But the simple answer is R129 (i-Size) car seats. All seats sold within the UK are manufactured to one of two legal standards, ECE R44 or ECE R129 (often known as i-Size). The testing carried out to meet the ECE R129 standard is more sophisticated and focused. Therefore, seats manufactured under the R129 standard are certified accordingly and are therefore known to meet the higher standard.
So, while we cannot say which one seat is safest, we can tell you that it is incredibly important to make sure that the seat is ‘approved’ for use in your car(s). It is also important to select the position in the car where you would want your child to sit, not all positions are approved or suitable. We always recommend physically trying the car seat in your car, but this isn’t always possible, and so if you get in touch with our experts, they will use both manufacturer’s fit lists and their experience to tell you if a seat is suitable for your car(s).
What type of seat should you go for? Children are different, no one seat fits all. However, we would recommend Extended Rear-Facing (ERF) seats for toddlers and young children. Most rear-facing seats will grow with your child until 18kg, while some go right up to 25kg. When choosing this seat, you should consider the weight and height of your child as this will typically be an indicator of what size they will be at 4 years of age. If they are bigger than average, it is recommended to opt for a bigger seat to get as much use as possible out of this. Your baby’s skeleton is made up of mostly cartilage, which over time turns to bone. As babies grow, their bones fuse together and specifically in the spine, the vertebrae start to form at 3 years of age but will not be fully developed until 6 years of age. Therefore, we promote rear-facing for as long as possible, because in the event of a collision, your baby’s whole body is protected by the seat as it absorbs the impact over the whole head, neck and spine. Whereas in a forward-facing seat, your child’s torso is held in place, but their head, neck and limbs are thrown forward causing great strain on the neck which can lead to severe injury. Always remember that even if you have a bigger child, they will develop at the same rate, and so you still need to consider staying rear-facing for as long as possible.
So, we can’t tell you exactly which seat to go, as the real answer is entirely bespoke. In Car Safety Centre is an independent, family-run business and we take pride in offering impartial advice to help you make an informed choice on your child car seat. Whilst we always feel you will get the best experience if you visit one of our Centres in Belfast, Milton Keynes & Essex, we understand that this isn’t doable for many people and lockdown restrictions especially have taught us how to overcome this. Our experts are available on Facebook, Instagram, via email and on the phone (1908220909) to give you advice and help you pick the perfect seat.
We hope you found this post helpful and it has helped give you some insight into which car seat to pick for your baby.
YOU CAN FIND CAITLIN ON;
INSTAGRAM: IN CAR SAFETY CENTRE