When buying a new child car seat, parents want to know they are getting the best advice for their child can car(s) the seat will be used in.
We have produced a handy checklist of the kinds of questions you should ideally be asked to ensure you select the best seat for your individual needs.
Many reputable retailers have their own checklists and you can compare the questions asked with our download for added peace of mind.
When we worked with consumer champion Which? in 2018, these are the questions we agreed were important to be asked to select the right car seat for you, your car(s) and your child
1) Ask the child’s weight (ECE R44.04 seats)
Important for car seats which have weight limits. Some seats have a crossover weight limit. It’s important to know the child’s weight so that the correct advice can be given about keeping a baby in the lowest group car seat for as long as possible.
2) Ask the child’s height (ECE R129 seats)
i-Size seats have height limits. And a baby will have outgrown its baby car seat when his or her head is level with the top of the seat.
3) Ask the child’s age
I-Size makes it mandatory to keep a baby rear-facing until he or she is 15 months old.
4) Ask what vehicle the seat will be used in
Not all car seats fit in all cars so it’s vital to select one that will fit in the car it will be used in.
5) Ask what other vehicles the seat will be used in
It’s also important to know other cars where the seat will be used to ensure it will fit in those, too.
6) Ask if the vehicles have ISOfix
This should be asked so the staff member can explain about ISOfix and the pros and cons of using this system.
7) Ask about underfloor storage
Underfloor storage will affect the type of seat which can be recommended, as some car seats use a support leg which may not be suitable to be used in some cars with this feature without under-floor fillers.
8) Ask about top tether
Not all cars have top tether, and if a car has underfloor storage in the back then a seat with top tether may be a good alternative to use, rather than a car seat that uses a support leg.
9) Check fit list for ISOfix car seats
For ISOfix seats it’s important to confirm via a manufacturer fit list that the seat will fit the make and model of the car it's to be used in.
10) Explain rear-facing benefits
A nine-month-old baby weighing 9kg could, according to the older ECE 44.04 regulation, be moved up to a forward-facing Group 1 car seat, however car seat experts agree that this is far too young to turn a baby forward-facing. The latest i-Size baby car seats make it mandatory (the law) to keep your baby rear-facing until at least 15 months old.
For maximum safety, Good Egg recommends extended rear-facing until four years old.
11) Offer to demonstrate the car seat
A vital part of buying a car seat is being shown how to install it safely. If the shop assistant doesn’t offer you a demonstration, ask for one and then get hands on yourself.
If you buy a child seat online or from an 'order-and-collect' store, be certain it fits your child and any vehicle in which it will be used. Seek expert advice when fitting. Some local authorities offer a free child seat fitting service.