The One Thats Fits Your Child... & Your Car!
Sounds like a simple question, but believe me it's not. First, take out of your mind all expectations of costs. Put simply you must buy the right seat for your child and your car, it may be the cheapest or it may be the most expensive, but it has to be the right one.
Too many times when advising customers about child-seats I get the response that the seats are so expensive, and I hate to say it, but are you telling me you would put a price on your childs life? In the scheme of things even if the seat thats right for your child and fits your car perfectly cost £200, you wouldn't buy it? I know they are expensive, that's why it's important to shop around and try plenty of baby seats before the child needs it, that way you'll be able to save up the cash to get a really great seat.
So which to buy? Well, manufacturers are very strict about the weight requirements of their seats, so you have to follow their guide. If a child is too light, or too heavy, the seat will not perform correctly in the event of an accident, negating all the point of using the safety seat anyway.
Roughly speaking baby seats are divided into 3 categories: Newborn, Infant & Junior. Booster seats are tagged on the end of this, but in my opinion if your child needs a booster type seat they'd be better off in a high back Junior seat, much safer, especially if they tend to fall asleep in the car, like most kids do.
Newborn Seats hold baby from 0 to 9 months (12 sometimes) or more importantly birth to 13kg (29lbs) - but remember see each individual seat for details. These seats will be rearward facing, but not in the front passenger seat if it is fitted with an air-bag. I recommend you go for a 2-way seat so that you get better value for money - and a safe seat. Once they child grows out of rearward facing you can swap it round, and when they grow out of that you can put them into a Junior seat. This isn't always right for all cars though, as some 2-way seats are very upright in some cars when facing the back, so a more laid back seat is better for babys comfort.
Infant seats cover from around 9 months to 4 years, or 9-18kg (20-40lbs) but again always check the individual seat for weight requirements. In these sort of seats, as usual, look for a good fit in the car and with baby. Go for a recliner, or better still one that also has seat-belt tensioners for a really good fit. If you've got isofix, use that, its the best way.
Junior Seats go from approximately 4 years to 11 years, 18-36kg (33-79lbs), when your child grows out of these they'll be into a full adult seat-belt. Choose one that fits child and car perfectly, and that the kiddy likes, they're now at the age when it will make a big difference if you ask their opinion!
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