The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

Traveling Safely With Kids During COVID-19

After more than a year of staying home and adjusting to "the new normal", kids are itching to see new sights and to have a bit of fun outside. But according to Healthy Children, many families are still skeptical about traveling, especially since vaccines aren't available yet for children under age 12. While parents are more protected, children are at risk because of the highly contagious Delta variant. However, as legal restrictions are now being lifted across the UK, it's now possible to go on those postponed trips. Use these tips to keep you well-prepared and to help limit your family's risk of exposure.

Research Your Destination

Some destinations are safer than others, so this should be your number one consideration. For instance, BBC reports that unlike areas like Bristol and Cambridge, which are both within the 400-999 daily infection range, Wales is only in the 50-199 range. Safer areas also have fewer social distancing rules, and no limit to the number of people who can meet indoors and outdoors, including restaurants and parks. Face masks are still compulsory in most public places and transport, but it's an additional precaution you'd want in order to keep your family safe as well.

Rent A Camper Van

Try to head somewhere that is reachable by private car or van and avoid flying in planes. Now is the perfect time for road trips—when traveling in a camper van, Jane Adamson notes that you need to pack smart. And during a pandemic, packing smart also means packing for all the essentials so you can avoid going for pit stops as much as possible. One of the pros of taking a trailer with you on your trip is that you don't need to worry about where to stop for food or the safety of roadside restaurants. You can make your own tasty and healthy meals for the family.

Road trips usually take a few hours at least, and besides keeping your family safe from the virus, you'll also want to keep them safe during the long ride. Investing in a quality child car seat which is suitable for both your child and any car it is used in, for example, will keep a child of any age properly secured and comfortable. Besides this, it's also important to keep toys, medications, and a first-aid kit safely in the boot so if you are involved in a collision, they don't become dangerous projectiles around the car.

 Limit Your Interactions With Others

Although airline industries take precautionary measures to lower the risk of transmission, it's still less safe than traveling by car. So if you must fly, Travel Health Pro advises people to try to book direct flights to avoid busy airports and packed planes. It's also best to keep your family from removing their mask during the flight—this means opting out of meals. Avoid interacting with others when sightseeing, as anything from speaking, coughing, and sneezing can generate droplets that could potentially carry COVID-19, as well as other viruses.

Teach Your Kids COVID-19 Protection Strategies

It goes without saying that you should make sure your family is constantly practicing sanitary measures. Wear masks constantly, and wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds whenever possible. Pack enough masks to last the duration of the trip and sanitize any high-touch surfaces you encounter, like car handles and doorknobs. Bring travel-sized hand sanitizers for everyone, and toss in a refill bottle in your bag.

It can be tempting to be lax and to just enjoy your trip, but it's more important to consider all the risks and prioritize your family's safety first.

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Which is safer; extended rear-facing or forward-facing?

One of the most common questions our Good Egg Safety experts receive from parents is in relation to extended rear-facing versus forward-facing and it can stimulate quite a lot of debate.

It's understandable some parents believe it's safe to forward-face their baby from nine kg onwards because seats which are made to the older regulation ECE R44/04 allow this by law.

Newer regulation seats ECE R129 (which includes i-size) makes it illegal to forward face until a child is at least fifteen months old. This crucial difference between regulations can create confusion. 

As a leading child safety specialist, we are primarily focused on 'best practice' which is not the same as the legal minimum. We prefer to look at the evidence and then enable parents to make an informed choice.

The evidence shows us the safest option of travel is to rear-face your child, ideally until they are at least four years old.

The reason is simple and it relates to the physiology of your precious and irreplaceable child.

Babies and toddlers are especially vulnerable in a collision because their heads are disproportionately heavy in relation to the rest of their body and their neck muscles are not fully developed. Frontal impact tests show that the strain on the neck is many times greater when the child is sitting forward-facing compared to when sitting rear facing.

The reason for this is in a collision everything continues to travel towards the point of impact at the speed the vehicle was moving. In a forward-facing car seat, the ISOFIX anchorage or the seatbelt stops the continued movement of the child seat, while the restraints (harness or impact shield), stop the child.

The continued momentum of the child's head is stopped by their neck, and finally the movement of their brain is stopped by their skull.

In a rear-facing seat, the shell of the seat stops the body and maintains the alignment of the head, neck and body, so the forces imposed on the components of the neck and spine are much lower.

In a forward-facing seat, your childs neck would be subjected to a force equivalent to 300kg-320kg (47-50 stone) at speeds of only 35mph, while in a rear-facing seat, the force on their neck would be equivalent to only 50kg.

This is why the gold standard Swedish Plus Test (Sweden are world leaders in child car safety) generally only tests rear-facing seats because forward-facing seats wouldn't come close to passing it.

No matter how well made a forward-facing seat is, in a frontal (head on) collision - which is the most common and the most dangerous - a childs head and neck gets thrown forward with great velocity and the risk of serious head and neck injuries are higher.

The seven vertebrae of the neck provide the main structure around the nerves of the spinal cord, which connect to the brain in the highest part of the neck. The vertebrae in the spine, the spinal cord and the nerves all have a degree of flexibility, but when the immense forces of a sudden impact are imposed on a child's delicate body, there is a significant risk of breakage and injury to the spinal cord.

In rare cases, what is medically referred to as atlanto-occipital dislocation (e.g internal decapitation), can occur.

These alarming news articles explain it more fully:

The use of a correct rear-facing child car seat will almost eliminate the risk of serious neurological damage and death in young children and the evidence for this can be found in the almost zero child occupant casualties recorded in Scandinavian countries where rear-facing is the cultural norm compared to countries where forward-facing from 9kg is more common.

Ultimately, providing your child seat meets the legal requirement, which as you can see differs between concurrent ECE regulations, it is your choice to make. 


'Killer car seats' sold online for £8


Children's car seats, dubbed "killers" by trading standards officers, have repeatedly appeared for sale on online marketplaces, Which? has warned.

The consumer group said the fabric seats, which can cost as little as £8, offered almost no protection in a crash and were illegal to use in the UK.

The online sites - Amazon, eBay and AliExpress - all said they had removed the seats from sale.

But Which? said the listings should have been deleted quicker. 

Crash tests

Which? said the seats had been described online as suitable for children from newborns up to the age of five.

However, in 2014, Surrey Trading Standards had conducted tests on a fabric seat which fell to pieces in a 30 mph accident. The crash test dummy of a three-year-old child was flung through the windscreen when the straps securing the seat failed.

Trading standards officers dubbed them "killer car seats" and removed dozens of them from sale. Which? said they lacked the support needed to protect babies and toddlers.

However, the consumer group said that they had repeatedly re-appeared for sale on online marketplaces ever since.

Alex Neill, from Which?, said: "Parents will be horrified at the thought they could be unwittingly putting their child's life at risk with one of these 'killer' car seats. Online marketplaces cannot continue to turn a blind eye to dangerous and illegal products being sold on their sites."

How to check

Regulations state that only EU-approved child car seats can be used in the UK.

Approved seats carry a clear orange label with the codes ECE R44-03, ECE R44-04 or ECE R129 to indicate they have been put through EU safety testing and can therefore be legally sold on the UK market.

Consumer groups suggest car seats should never be bought secondhand, as they could have been involved in an accident but damage to the seat may be unclear.

Sales site eBay told Which? That it had asked the sellers involved to contact the buyers to organise a return, and to pay for the return shipping.

"Our specialist teams work with regulators and Trading Standards to ensure our block filters stay up to date, using sophisticated software that monitors billions of listings a day to remove any prohibited items," an eBay spokesman said. 

Amazon said "All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who don't will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The products in question are no longer available."

AliExpress said: "After we were told by Which? about these third-party listings, we took prompt action to remove them. We will continue to take action against sellers who violate our terms of use."

Source Original news item: BBC News
Image source: Which?


Revealed: the child car seat retailers 'putting babies lives at risk'

89% of stores failed to ask key car seat questions

A joint undercover investigation by Which? and Good Egg Safety into car seat retailers has discovered most stores are failing to ask key safety questions of parents, potentially putting children's lives at risk.

We sent mystery shoppers into all the top car seat retailers. They were posing as parents upgrading a baby car seat. We visited 213 stores in total and, judged against a success rate of 100% for asking all the right questions, we saw an 89% failure rate. 

John Lewis and Mamas & Papas came bottom with what we judged to be a fail rate of 100%. This means that none of the store staff at their stores correctly asked all of the key questions (listed below) before recommending a car seat (though half of John Lewis branches that were visited did achieve a score on our scale of between 80 and 91%, only missing out on a few questions). 

Only three Mamas & Papas stores scored more than 50% on our scale. 

Halfords performed best of the retailers we visited, but still had an 83% fail rate overall against our scale. Halfords stores in Scotland scored best: 13 (38%) Halfords stores out of 34 in Scotland passed with 100%. In England/Wales, two out of 52 Halfords stores also got 100%.

Car seats - which retailers are best? - Find out who came out top and how other retailers, including independents fared.

Car seat safety questions that aren't getting asked

Our mystery shoppers visited retail stores in Scotland, England and Wales, across all the major car seat retailers: Halfords, Mothercare, Smyths, John Lewis, Mamas and Papas, plus a range of independent retailers.

Our mystery shoppers posed as customers wanting to upgrade a baby car seat for a nine-month-old, 9kg, baby. Among those questions they should have been asked were:

What's your baby's weight, height and age?

Many baby car seats are chosen by weight or height, and keeping a baby in a lower group seat is considered better than moving up a seat too soon. 95% of stores we visited asked the age of the child rather than the child's weight or height. Age is a starting point, but it's not the best way to select a child car seat. Asking the child's weight and height, too, will help to ensure the right car seat can be recommended, especially if the baby isn't with you.

What vehicle do you have?

Not all car seats fit in every car, so it's vital that staff ask this question to ensure they can select the correct seat. However, 18% of assistants we questioned didn't ask what car the seat would go in.

Will you be using the car seat in any other vehicles?

Assistants should also be asking about any other cars the seat will be used in, to ensure any car seats recommended will be compatible. 54% of those assistants we visited completely missed asking this question, but went on to recommend car seats anyway.

Does your car have ISOfix connectors?

Almost a third (29%) failed to ask if the car had ISOfix connectors. If a car does not have Isofix connectors, this will affect the seat recommendation.

Does your car have a top-tether point?

Not all cars have a top-tether point. Just over a third of visits (34%) didn't mention top tether when discussing ISOfix. This could affect which car seat should be recommended.

Does your car have underfloor storage?

A whopping 81% of those sales assistants we visited failed to ask if the car had underfloor storage, which could lead to the wrong car seat being recommended. In some cars, a child car seat using a support leg, can't be used in a seating position with underfloor storage. However the majority of assistants did not mention underfloor storage at all or give advice about why this could be an issue.

Other key safety issues that are getting ignored

Fit list check

Not all ISOfix seats are compatible with all ISOfix cars. If an ISOfix seat was recommended, the manufacturer fit list should have been checked by sales assistants to confirm compatibility. 10% didn't do this check.

Demonstrating the fitting of the car seat

A demonstration of how to fit the car seat is vital as it allows parents to see what they are buying and ensure it's the best car seat for them, their car and their baby, but nearly a quarter (23%) of assistants didn't offer this.

Not explaining benefits of rear facing for longer

Our mystery shoppers were posing as parents upgrading from a baby car seat to the next stage. But, despite this, 20% of sales assistants didn't explain the benefits of keeping babies rear facing for as long as possible. Turning a baby forward facing too soon is a potential safety risk.

Years of safety failings

What's most disappointing is that these safety failings aren't the first we've seen. Which? investigated car seat retailer fittings in 2011, 2012 and 2014. In each of those years we received similarly shocking results which were fed back to retailers.

In our 2014 investigation, nine out of 10 retailers failed our car seat fitting tests and promised to follow up and improve the situation.

Jan James from Good Egg Safety says: "These are extremely disappointing results. Following last year's independent checks commissioned by Good Egg Safety, we shared all of the information with retailers in our national joint industry group meeting. They were given the information in great detail and understood the methodology. Nothing has changed, nothing should be a surprise.

It is evident retailers have a genuine interest in improving their advice in-store by attending our meetings and we have always stated that we'd prefer parents to buy in a store than online. That is still the case. One of the main issues, however, is sales assistants are not completing a safety assessment form at the point of sale. In a busy store, with children, ear pieces and myriad distractions;without a consultation form, some of these critical questions are being missed. We see the results in our child car seat events where almost 70%, on average, are incorrectly fitted to either child or car."

Jan James, CEO Good Egg Safety

Lisa Galliers, Which? car seat expert says: "Years on we really shouldn't be seeing results like this.

Retailers continue to put babies lives at risk by failing to ensure car seat salespeople are asking the right questions and giving out the best advice and recommendations for car seats.

Retailers say they're offering training, and I've been on some of these training courses, but something is clearly still not filtering down to the shop floor. That needs to change. We've offered to meet with all retailers involved to help them improve.

We carried out our mystery shop in partnership with Good Egg Safety, an organisation that champions car seat safety and runs regular mystery shops and car seat checks carried out across the UK. Its last mystery shop, in 2017, recorded a nine out of 10 failure rate."

Lisa Galliers, Which?

What we want to see from retailers

We want to see all sales assistants selling child car seats using a 'Safety Assessment Form' and we want to see parents asking for this to be used. This lists all the key questions that need asking, so that no vital safety information is missed. Some retailers say they have these forms, but 86% of of the store staff we mystery shopped did not use one - the results could have been a lot different with this simple check in place.

Until this happens we'd encourage all parents to download our 'seat buying check list' and 'retailer safety assessment form' to take with them when buying a child car seat.

How we carried out our testing

In one of the largest car seat mystery shops, 213 retail stores were visited in total, divided across 10 different areas of the UK. These included all the major car seat retailers: Halfords (86), Mothercare (52), Smyths (36), John Lewis (12), Mamas and Papas (7), plus range of independent retailers (20). The number of visits to each retailer (indicated in brackets) were a snapshot based on the number of stores across the UK offering car seat fitting.

The salesperson at each retailer was marked according to how many of the applicable key safety questions were asked. The questions, developed with car seat industry experts and car seat manufacturers, were all rated equally. Retailers were marked with a 'fail' if a question wasn't asked, or there was no understanding of the topic demonstrated, or the store staff simply didn't explain why they hadn't asked that question.


Child fatalities rise as some retailers are still not showing parents how to choose and fit child car seats safely.

Good Egg Safety has been in the business of saving children's lives for seventeen years. Supported by the Arnold Clark Group, they lead the way nationally in car seat safety, and in monitoring the retailers who sell these seats to parents. In 2017 their latest car seat checks showed that, over the last eight years, there has been a 47% increase in the number of child car seats found to be incorrectly fitted, at the same time that child casualties are on the rise. 

Children's car seats can be quite expensive items and parents mainly trust advice from car seat retailers, on how to fit them properly. Alarmingly some retailers are continuing to fall short in providing this vital support.

More than 9 out of 10 retailers failed these tests in 2017 from a sample of 146 stores, even though this vital advice is freely available through Good Egg Safety, a community interest company which specialises in making our roads safer.

Parents are being encouraged to download Good Egg Safety's free new parents' checklist. This outlines all the questions parents need to have answered in order to be more confident that the seat will protect their child as intended.

"We have been relentlessly campaigning for greater in car child safety for over 17 years and it is of major concern that we are still finding major errors in child seat fitting in our free car seat clinics. The difference between a correctly fitted seat which is compatible with the cars it's used in and fits the child who will use it, could literally mean the difference between life and death for that child in the event of a collision. This reality was recently brought home last week when a child was saved from serious injury in a dreadful crash in the south west, by being secured in a correctly fitted seat."

Good Egg has founded a joint industry group of leading retailers, child seat manufacturers and road safety organisations and all these results have been openly shared with them to help drive change. More mystery shops are being undertaken by independent testers who have no commercial links to retailer training, to establish whether the increased retailer focus on training provision is working.

Jan added "it is clear that the retailers represented in our national industry group care deeply about this issue and costly training can seem like a luxury in the face of other business challenges.But it's not a luxury, it is essential to help save lives, and we are calling for the government to endorse the need for child car seat specialists to be fully accredited."

Good Egg Safety chief, Jan James

"IAM RoadSmart are acutely aware that parents need the best possible independent and informed advice when choosing a new seat for their most precious cargo. It is very disappointing that some of our most trusted retail brands have done so badly in these secret shoppers surveys. IAM RoadSmart are confident that these retailers can turn this around quickly through better training and more consistent service delivery. In the meantime our advice to parents is to do your research thoroughly and go into every shop armed with the Good Egg questions." quote here...

Neil Greig, Policy & Research Director, IAM

"It's important that parents get the right advice when it comes to choosing a child's car seat to ensure children are well protected, should a crash occur. Retailers have a duty of care over their customers and should always put safety and quality at the forefront of their minds when talking about and fitting child seats into a vehicle. We would encourage all parents to do their research, and make the most of tools like Good Egg Safety's free parents' checklist, to make an informed decision when buying a car seat for their children."

Mike Bristow, spokesperson for Brake, the road safety charity

"As long-term supporters of the Good Egg initiative, Arnold Clark is committed to promoting in-car child safety. This disturbing statistic shows that it's more vital than ever to educate people about the correct way to fit car seats and we are fully supportive of Good Egg's efforts to monitor retailers and spread the message that in-car child safety is of paramount importance"

Eddie Hawthorne, Chief Executive and Group Managing Director for the Arnold Clark Group

What is i-Size?

 Survey banner Britax


i-Size is part of the latest child car seat regulation ECE R129 that will launch in three phases.

Phase 1, is for children up to 105cm and includes an integral restraint, such as a five-point harness launched in 2013.

Currently, this regulation is running alongside child car seat regulation ECE R44.04 which is an older yet still valid car seat safety regulation.

Eventually, ECE R129 will phase out ECE R44 and be the only legal child car seat regulation, however a definite date is yet to be confirmed.

ECE R129 will eventually become the only regulation that you will be able to approve a car seat to.  However, older models of R44.04 car seats will still be legal to use.

The primary goal of ECE R129 (i-Size) is to keep children safer in the car, by making child car seats easier to choose, fit and use.



What are the key changes?


Mandatory rear facing to 15 months

Under the older R44 regulations, children can legally forward face in car seats when they weigh 9kg.

However, with R-129 this is not the case, and children must be rearward facing until 15 months in i-Size seats. This is because it is a safer way to travel, and it is recommend to keep your child rear facing for as long as possible.

This is because young children are at most risk of neck and spinal injuries in the event of a collision due to the size of their head in relation to their body and their developing muscles and bones. This makes them much more vulnerable to serious injury than older children and adults.

i-Size seats require children to be rear facing to at least 15 months old, a point when a child’s neck is stronger and more able to cope with the forces applied during an impact when facing forward.


Better compatibility

i-Size addresses the frequent problem of compatibility between R44 regulated ISOFIX car seats and many vehicle makes and models.

From July 2013, car manufacturers were able to have i-Size seating locations approved. Although in the first few years only a few cars had this feature, today nearly all newly designed cars have i-Size seating positions. You can identify i-Size seating locations by the label on the vehicle seat or in the vehicle handbook.

i Size

The benefit of an i-Size approved seating position in a vehicle, is that an i-Size car seat is automatically compatible.

You can still use an i-Size car seat in a standard ISOFIX car, however you must always check the vehicle compatibility list first.


Seats selected by height

ECE R44 child car seats are defined by a child’s weight. An approximate age is often also stated but this intended as very rough guidance only.

However, this combination does sometimes cause confusion and can lead to a child being moved to the next stage child car seat before they are ready and their safety can then be compromised.

i-Size makes it simpler for parents to get the selection right as it is defined by the height of the child and mandating rear facing for the first 15 months.

A maximum weight limit will also apply to each child seat and this will be shown clearly approval label attached to the product.


R129 i-Size car seats are selected by the child’s stature. i-SIZE restraints are selected by your child’s height, and each i-Size seat will carry an individual maximum child weight limit. R44 child seats will continue to be chosen by weight, stipulated by defined “group stages”.


Side impact test

You may be surprised to read that ECE R44 does not require child car seats to undergo a side impact test.

Although not legally required, some manufacturers already do this but it is not apparent to the consumer from the ECE R44 product labelling.

To ensure an enhanced level of safety and clarity, all i-Size child car seats undergo a rigorous side impact crash test and so provide a high level of protection in the event of a side impact.


Child seats will be easier to use

i-SIZE phase 1 specifies that child seats must be installed with the ISOFIX mounting system.

ISOFIX establishes a stable connection between the bodywork and the child seat, and minimises the risk of incorrect installation in the vehicle.

Note: there is an exception for infant carrier which may have a belt routing.


A Better Fit For Longer

Unlike ECE R44, the internal dimensions of an i-Size seat will be specified and these dimensions will relate to the latest size data for European children.



i-Size Car Seat Example



The Britax Römer Trifix i-Size conforms to the ECE R129/01 car seat regulation (i-Size) and is suitable for children from 76 cm to 105 cm tall (15 months up to approx. four years), making it the perfect follow up to your infant carrier.

The Trifix i-Size not only provides optimum safety technologies, but also makes sure that children are travelling in comfort with advanced ergonomics of a good seating position and padding.

This seat offers three recline options and a headrest which provides seven height positions to ensure that the seat will grow with the child. Find out more




Road Safety Scotland launches major new campaign in response to potentially fatal child seat fitting errors

Road Safety Scotland, in partnership with leading child seat specialist, Good Egg Safety, has launched a major new campaign over the summer to warn parents about potentially fatal common errors made in fitting child car seats.

Images of incorrectly- fitted child seats will be released via social media and backed up by nine short videos produced in partnership with the Arnold Clark Group, to graphically demonstrate why the child seats, or the children seated within them, are unsafe.

Good Egg has already issued an urgent safety alert on social media for parents in relation to incorrect routing of seatbelts through child seats, which is being found in 1 in 10 of their child seat checks across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Jan James, Good Egg Safety CEO said: 'these routing errors could mean the difference between life or death for a baby or child if they were involved in a collision, and yet, they are very simple to fix.We strongly urge parents, grandparents and all who carry children in a car, to take just two minutes to view our video. This shows why it's dangerous and how easy it is to correct it and make the seat safer."

This coincides with a new programme of 50 free checking events across Scotland where parents, grandparents and carers can go for further reassurance. Previous checks in Scotland have shown that, on average, 54% of child car seats are incorrectly-fitted or incompatible with the child or the vehicle.

All the new videos are set to go online as the annual Good Egg in-car child safety campaign is launched; funded by Road Safety Scotland and supported by The Arnold Clark Group, Britax Romer and Police Scotland.

Michael McDonnell, Director of Road Safety Scotland, said: "Many parents would be horrified to learn their child car seats are not fitted properly and, therefore, not providing the protection their children need.This campaign seeks to highlight that, not only by raising awareness of the issue and providing advice and guidance, but it also has a very practical element in that people can check the website, find the nearest car seat clinic and get the child-seat-car combination checked by an expert. It only takes a few minutes yet could save a child's life."

Superintendent Louise Blakelock of Police Scotland said, "It is absolutely essential that child safety seats are properly fitted, as the consequences of them not being so can be fatal for a young child, even in a relatively slow speed collision.We continue to work with partners to highlight the dangers and encourage parents and carers to ensure their precious passengers are properly and safely secured."

George Baggley of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service stated: "The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service would urge anyone transporting children to go along to a Good Egg car seat checking event. Once there, you can have expert advice and the reassurance that your child is safely and securely seated in the car."

Eddie Hawthorne, Chief Executive & Group Managing Director of Arnold Clark, said: "It's vital that parents and carers know how to keep their little one's safe when travelling by car and we are very proud to support Good Egg and help raise awareness of potentially dangerous issues" 


Child Car Seat Standards Change

There have been many reports regarding the new stricter rules about booster cushions and this has caused much confusion.

This new amendment to the current regulation 44 is now in effect. This means that parents who currently have booster cushions can legally continue to use them as they have been.

Any new backless booster seats (booster cushion) coming to market from the 9th February 2017 will only be suitable for children above 22kg AND 125cm. Stock that was introduced before this date, will still be eligible for sale.

However, we always recommend that children travel in the high back booster if they are the correct weight and height for it, and fit comfortably within the headrest. A high back booster provides additional head, neck, torso protection and side impact protection that a booster cushion does not.

There are currently two child car seat regulations running alongside each other – R44.04, which are the weight based car seats, and R129, which is a new regulation.

R129 is making seats easier to choose, fit and use. However, R44.04 weight based approved seats will still be sold, legal and safe for some years to come. One of the key features of R44 is that child seats are chosen based on weight:

Group 0+ (infant seats) – 0 to 13kg
Group 1 (toddler seats) – 9kg to 18kg
Group 2,3 (Booster seats) – 15kg to 36kg

Part of the problem with R44, is that children tend to be moved up a stage as soon as they reach the minimum weight limit for the next stage, when it is actually safer for them to stay in each stage seat until they reach the maximum weight limit for their current stage. A step up in group stage is a step down in safety.

R44.04 currently allows boosters, even booster cushions, to be approved from 15kg – this can legally be a child as young as 2 years or less! While the weight limit is the main factor, there are also height considerations to take into account. A child can be 15kg in weight, yet still be far too small to use a booster.

Children's bones are very different from adults, and their hips and pelvis are very small and set far back. The hips and pelvis are what helps to keep a seat belt in place, and absorb energy. These bones are not really strong enough for a seat belt until a child is around 4 years of age. There are 25kg harness limit seats for children who reach the 18kg harness weight limit at a young age.

Children under 125cm in height and 22kg weight will not be allowed to use a newly type approved (R44.04 supplement 11) booster cushion, but can still use booster cushions that were approved prior to the implementation date.  Otherwise, they will have to use a high back booster.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly at


When should I turn my baby forward facing?

When should I turn my baby forward facing?


It can be very confusing to know when you should move your baby forward facing, but this blog will help you know what the safest course of action is!

Child car seat groups can seem complicated at first as they go by weight and height, yet there is a crossover between each stage on the weight limit, and then there are age recommendations to top it off!  What do you do with a baby who is the 9 months forward facing age but only 18 lbs?  Do you have to turn forward?  Is the rear facing seat not safe to use after 9 months then?

The best thing to do when researching car seats is to ignore age recommendations and choose a seat solely on your child’s weight and height.  This helps to remove some of the ‘smoke’ and it makes the seat stages a little easier to understand.  The seat stages have a crossover on the weight categories, and this is due to the chance that a child can outgrow a seat by height before they hit the maximum weight and so they will have to move up a stage.

This chart shows the categories for R44 seats:

Group Stages 2014-01

*For maximum safety time you should keep your child in their rear facing car seat until it is fully outgrown

**Some seats may specify a different height limit - check instructions and follow carefully

If they are in a group 0+ infant seat this is at either 13kg, or when the top of their head is level with the top of the seat.  Their feet are not in danger of being hurt if they are touching the vehicle seat back, and they will not be uncomfortable if they are ‘filling’ the seat.  Child car seats are not unlike a crash helmet - a tight fit will provide better protection than having lots of room!

0+ Car Seat

The 9 month age given on a group 1 R44 forward facing car seat is an approximate recommendation.  The 9kg minimum weight limit is just that, a minimum.  The best advice states to keep your child in each seat to the maximum limit, and then move them up. If you have an i-Size R129 seat then the minimum age to keep rear facing until is 15 months.

Babies can legally move to a front facing seat at the 9kg minimum weight, but they must fit in the harness correctly.  Moving your child forward facing at 9kg is not just as safe as having them rear facing.

If your child has outgrown their baby seat by height or you want to move them up to the next stage before they have outgrown their seat, you do have the option of a combination 0+1 car seat.  This will let you have them in a full size group 1 car seat, but it is rear facing.  These seats can either rear face to 13kg or 18kg, and offer your baby the best safety of rear facing before you make the switch to front facing.

Elena Car Seats 015

If your baby is 9kg and outgrowing their baby seat by height you can also use a rear facing group 1 or 1,2 seat as well as the option of a 0+1 seat.

Elena Car Seats 022



Group 0+1: newborn - 18kg (newborn - approx 4 yrs)

Group 1: 9 - 18kg (mainly front facing, but rear facing seats available) (up to approx 4 years)

Group 1,2: 9-25kg (mainly rear facing) (Up to approx 6 years)


So… when can my baby move forward facing?  

Legally you can currently turn your baby forward facing once they weigh 20lb/9kg and they must also be sitting completely unaided for a minimum of 30 minutes.  If you are using an i-Size car seat, you must legally rear face until a minimum of 15 months.  Eventually, all children will be rear facing to at least 15 months by law.

However, ideally you would not move forward facing until they are at least 18kg/4 years old.  A rear facing group 1 (or group 1,2 seat) will provide much better protection for your child from the most dangerous and most common type of impact - a frontal impact.  The younger a child moves forward facing, the less protection they have in a crash - it could be the difference between life and death.  This doesn’t mean that you should ignore maximum outgrown limits on your seats however!  If your baby has outgrown the rear facing limit of their seat, they will need to move up to the next stage, be that rear or forward facing.


Are forward facing seats dangerous?

Since child seats were introduced, car seats have gone a long way in helping to reduce death and injury in children.  Forward facing car seats are designed to restrain a child in a collision, which when they are correctly fitted and used - they do very well.  New technology and data does however show that children are much better protected by facing backwards when in the car.


Forward facing when carrying your child

All you need to know about carrying your child from our friends at Mom Loves Best



What to consider when choosing the next stage car seat?

What to consider when choosing the next stage car seat?

Life as a new parent comes with lots of challenges, including choosing car seats! Before you know it, your little one is starting to look a little big for his/her first stage seat. So, is it time to move up to a bigger seat? Should you choose a forward or rear-facing seat? What do you need to consider?

When is the infant carrier outgrown? 

Firstly, check the approval sticker on your car seat (often found underneath.)This will tell you the regulation your seat is approved to and its weight and/or height limit.

Most infant carriers are approved to R44/04 and classed as a group 0+. These seats have a weight limit of 13kg/29lbs. They are also outgrown when the top of your baby's head is level with the top of the seat.

If you have an infant carrier approved to R129 (i-Size) then it will have a height limit, e.g. 75cm, and possibly a weight limit too. These limits are clearly marked on the seat.

The infant carrier is outgrown once your child reaches the height or weight limit, whichever comes first. Don't worry about long legs over the edge, they are perfectly safe; or that your baby looks "squashed" – think of the car seat as a crash helmet, a tight fit is good.

Should I choose a forward or rear-facing seat?

It is safest to rear-face your child for as long as possible. This is due to their anatomy and the physics of an accident.Young children have relatively larger heads with less developed neck bones and muscles.In a frontal impact the head is thrown forwards, putting stress on the neck and spinal cord. The less developed the spine is, the greater the risk of serious injury. When rear-facing, the child's head, neck and spine are kept in alignment and the force is spread out over a greater area.

Does this mean forward facing seats are dangerous?

Simple answer is no. Since car seat regulations were introduced in the 1980's the number of fatally and seriously injured children has reduced. Forward facing seats do offer adequate protection as long as they are fitted and used correctly. However, rear-facing provides even better protection for your little one. If you do decide to buy a forward facing seat it is advised to keep your child in the infant carrier until it is completely outgrown.

What does the law say?

If you have a seat approved under R44/04 then it is legal to put your child into a forward facing car seat at 9kg.However, they should be able to sit unaided for at least 30 minutes and fit the seat they are going into.

If you have an i-Size seat, then legally your child must stay rear-facing until 15 months.Each i-Size seat also has a minimum height limit for forward facing.

Bear in mind that the law is a minimum standard: experts recommend rear-facing up to 4 years.

What else do I need to consider?

If your child doesn't like the infant carrier, or you would prefer to move them into a bigger seat, then you could look at Group 0+1 as these are rear-facing from birth initially, then turn forward facing at 9kg. Some can even rear-face up to 18kg. Or if your little one is 9kg and you would like a rear-facing seat then a Group 1,2 may suit you. Have a look at our car seat selector tool as it can help when choosing a seat:

Follow these points:

1. Check your child's height and weight

2. Keep your child in the infant carrier until it is completely outgrown

3. Choose a seat that is suitable for your child

4. Choose a seat that is suitable for vehicle/s that the seat will be fitted into

5. Visit a retailer to try a few seats in your car

6. Consider rear-facing for optimum safety


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