Your children become your number one priority after they are born; worrying about yourself goes on the backburner. This thought process makes your choice of car a more important decision with safety becoming the main focus over performance, refinement, reliability or even price. Once you have picked a safe vehicle then it is time to pick a child seat to make your child’s journey comfortable and risk-free, but which one do you choose? This article breaks down around the proper use and need of child seats, but here’s a quick and basic guide to car seats:
Car seat types for all ages
There are several types of car seat that are required as a child grows up, here are the options:
- Rear-facing seat(0-9 months or up to 13kg) – New-born babies must have a rear facing seat which can be fitted in the front or back of the car, but not if there is an airbag on the passenger side. These provide more support for neck, head and spine of a young baby and it is always best to keep them in one until they exceed the weight allowance
- Forward facing seat (9 months-4 years or up to (19kg) – The next step is a seat that faces forward that is formed of an internal harness that keeps a young child strapped in tightly to avoid them sliding out. Keeping a child in this until they outgrow it again is the best option, which will come down to being too heavy or tall for the seat according to the manufactures guidelines
- Booster seats (4-10 years or over 15kg) – Once a child has grown too big for a harness it is time to move up to a booster seat or cushion and the use of a normal seatbelt to hold the child and seat in place. The seat belt should fit as it would a full grown adult; with the lap strap around the pelvic region and the diagonal strap over the shoulder and not the neck
The legal stuff
Children are required to have a car seat until the age of twelve or until they reach the height of 135cm; when it is safe to sit in a car unaided. All car seats have to be sanctioned in Europe and you can tell if the one you buy is by a checking for the letter ‘E’ in a circle displayed somewhere on it.
When a child seat is not needed
There are some unique cases when child seats are not needed, which include:
- In a taxi – Children under three can sit on a back seat without a car seat or belt, but children over three must use a seat belt
- Off-the-cuff journeys – If there is a short, necessary, but unplanned trip then three-year-olds or over can again sit on the back seat with a seatbelt, but a child younger than three must have a car seat
- When there is no room – If there is no space for a third car seat in the back then a child under three can sit in the front when there is a correct car seat in place; while a child over three can either use a car seat in the front or sit in the back with an adult seat belt
Where to buy a car seat for your child?
You will find a comprehensive range of car seats in the usual outlets with a wide array of prices to suit your budget. There is no issue with buying second-hand to make life even cheaper as often car seats are built for longevity and can be in a next-to-new condition. However, they must meet current safety standards and should be thoroughly check over to ensure they are fully functional and safe.
A car seat is a necessity for a child when travelling in a car and buying the right type can offer an invaluable peace of mind to parents when driving.
Content by Sophie Carvana.