The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

Child seat group stages

For child car seats to legally be sold in the UK, they must pass various tests and gain recognised approval. To be sold, they can be approved to R44.04, which is a regulation that has been running for some years, or they can be tested under the new R129 (i-Size) standard, which was established in summer 2013.

This blog looks at the different group stages for R44.04 child car seats, along with the weight and the height limits that you should take into consideration. There are three main group stages and also combination group stages to create multi stage, longer lasting seats.


Group 0+


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What are group 123 car seats

A group 123 car seat is a combination seat that is approved for children weighing 9kg, and it will last them right through, until they no longer need a child seat. They are often an economical solution, as they last a long time.

Group 123 car seats are generally forward facing, although there are some which now allow your child to be rear facing to 13kg or 18kg. Your little one is safest rear facing for as long as possible.




There are different options to consider when choosing a group 123:

  • ISOFIX or seat belt fitment
  • Harness or Impact Shield
  • Recline

ISOFIX or Seat Belt Fitment

It is more common for group 123 car seats to be fitted with the adult seat belt, however there are some ISOFIX + Top Tether group 123 car seats available. Both methods of fitment are safe, however ISOFIX is considered safer as it reduces the risk of incorrect fitment.


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Extended Rear Facing Car Seats

Extended Rear Facing Car Seats

An extended rear facing child car seat, is a seat which allows a child to travel rear facing for longer, usually up to 4 years of age. These seats have been used in Sweden since the 1960's, and over the past few years, they have become increasingly popular in the UK due to their excellent safety offering.

ISOFIX, or seat belt fitted?

Extended rear facing car seats are available with ISOFIX, and there are also seat belt options available. ISOFIX extended rear facing car seats have an 18kg weight limit (iSize seats may differ), and some belt fitted rear facing seats have an 18kg weight limit. There are also many seat belt fitted seats which have a 25kg weight limit.

The group stages available to rear face:

Group 0+1 – 0-18kg
Group 1 – 9-18kg
Group 1,2 – 9-25kg

Combination, or rear facing only?

Some extended rear facing seats will allow the option of putting your child rear or forward facing, where others can only be fitted rear facing.

Testing

Extended rear facing car seats are currently tested to R44.04. ManyiSize child car seats which are approved to R129 will offer longer rear facing, up to approximately 4 years old (105cm). Some rear facing only car seats may also have passed the Swedish Plus Test.

Additional fitment

Leg Room

One of the most common questions asked about keeping children rear facing is "Where will their legs go?" While children are very flexible and comfortable in a rear facing seat, it can look quite odd to adults. There are seats available which have extended leg room options, which is usually achieved by adjusting where the seat is fitted on the vehicle seat.

Three rear-facing children
If children feel the need to stretch out their legs, they can stretch them up the back of the vehicle seat.

What is the best extended rear facing seat to buy?

What is the best seat for you, will depend on your vehicle, your child and your family situation. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Method of fitment – There is no safety difference between a properly fitted belted seat, and ISOFIX seat, however ISOFIX is considered safer as it reduces the risk of incorrect fitment. Belt fitted extended rear facing seats can be more difficult to fit.
    With any method of fitment you choose, be sure to seek professional advice and fitting help, read the manual and practice fitting the seat so you are confident with it.
  • Combination or rear facing only – Do you want to have the option of using the seat forward facing 'just in case', or are you 100% sure that your little one will be rear facing up until the limit of the seat? Take this into account when choosing your seat, if you aren't completely sure you will be rear facing until 4, you may want to opt for a combination seat. Similarly, if you know you definitely will be rear facing to the limit, you may want to consider a rear facing only seat, as these can often be cheaper!
  • Additional fitment – Almost all extended rear facing car seats are classed as semi-universal, and they will have a vehicle compatibility list available online. Before you buy your seat, check that every car the seat will be used in is on the compatibility list.
  • Is your child tall or heavy for their age? – Child seats with an 18kg limit will accommodate most children to around age 4. If your child is likely to reach 18kg long before their 4th birthday, a seat with a 25kg harness limit will give you better longevity.  You may also want to consider a 25kg harness limit seat if you wish to rear face beyond 4 years of age.
  • Where to buy – extended rear facing car seats are becoming increasingly available in major retail stores. However, you are more likely to find them in your local independent nursery retail shop.  Phone up local stores to see what they have in stock, and if they are trained to show you how to safely fit the seat.
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Group 1,2 rear facing car seats

Extended rear facing BeSafe iZi Plus, which has a 0 - 25kg weight limit, approx 6 months to 6 years.  What is a group 1, 2 extended rear facing car seat? A group 1, 2 car seat is a combination group seat which can accommodate a child from 9kg through to 25kg.  They are called extended rear facing as they typically keep children rear facing to 25kg, around 6 years old.  This stage seat can be used after the group 0+ infant seat has been outgrown, it is an alternative option to forward facing group 1 car seats. The seat is normally outgrown when the child’s eyes are level with the top of the car seat, although it is important to check the manual for the seat.   Extended rear facing BeSafe iZi Plus, which has a 0 - 25kg weight limit, approx 6 months to 6 years. Why would you keep a child rear facing after the infant seat? Traditionally, children in the UK are moved up to a f......
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What is a group 1 car seat?

RubiGroup 1 car seats Group 1 car seats accommodate little ones that weigh between 9kg and 18kg.  After reading the previous Good Egg blog on group 0+ child car seats, you may have noticed that there is a crossover in the weight recommendations.  A rear facing group 0+ child seat will last until 13kg, yet a group 1 car seat says it is suitable from 9kg!  So are they just as safe as each other? The simple answer is No.  Forward facing your baby at 9kg is not as safe as keeping them rear facing to 13kg. If your child is moving up to a group 0+1 combination seat in rear facing mode, or an extended rear facing group 1 seat at 9kg, this isn’t such an issue as they still have the protection of being rear facing.   So when should you move to the next stage? The infant seat should b......
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What is a group 0+1 car seat?

Group 0+1 car seat  Group 0+1 car seats are a combination of group 0 or 0+ and group 1. They backward face until 10kg for group 0 or until 13kg for group 0+, they then either remain rear facing to 18kg, or can be used forward facing 9-18kg, depending on the seat.  It is vitally important that you read your car seat manual so you are fully aware of how long your seat can backward face.     How are group 0+1 car seats different to group 0+ car seats? Group 0+1 car seats are different in several ways.  Firstly, they are not portable like the infant carrier seats and generally stay fitted in the car at all times.  When a baby is asleep it would be difficult to remove the group 0+1 seat from the car without disturbing little one, so you’d have to take them out of the seat.  Unlike group 0+ c......
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What is a Group 0+ car seat?

Group 0+ Car Seat  A group 0+ car seat is 1 of 3 options you have for your baby’s first safety seat and can accommodate them from newborn all the way through to 13kg.  They are the most common first stage car seat and often form part of a ‘travel system’. All babies, toddlers and children are required by law to travel in a suitable child restraint with very few exceptions. The infant seat is backward facing, and ‘bucket’ like, cradling the baby with either a 3 or 5 point harness to strap them in.  You can expect to see a carry handle on the seat which has the dual purpose of allowing you to carry the baby into the house without disturbing them, and it also acts as a roll bar or rebound bar should you be involved in a collision.   Pros of using a group 0+ seat There are many advantages of using a 0+ seat, rat......
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What is a Group 0 car seat?

Group 0 car seat label  The group 0 car seat is the very first stage and has the lowest weight range.   Car seat stages can be confusing at the best of times and trying to understand which seat does what and what that group number means can be very frustrating!   Child seats are grouped based on the weight of the child that they can accommodate.   As an example:  A group 0+ seat is suitable from newborn to 13kg rear facing, a group 1 seat can accommodate a child between 9-18kg forward facing or some rear facing.  Therefore if you wanted a seat that could carry your baby from newborn right through to 18kg, it would be referred to as a 'group 0+1' - as it covers both weight categories!   A group 0 car seat is suitable from newborn up to 10kg – approx. 6 months old.   These seats are generally l......
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