Keeping your little ones safe when driving is a top priority for any parent, but knowing and ensuring you meet all of the car seat laws can be confusing! Here are some tips and advice to keep you on the right track.
When Does Your Child Have To Use A Car Seat?
Your child has to use a specially fitted car seat up to the age of 12, or when they reach 135cm in height, whichever comes first. You can choose your child’s car seat either using their height or weight.
Height Based Seats
Height based seats must be fitted rear-facing until your child is 15 months old. The seats, which are known as ‘i-Size’ seats must have a label showing the letter ‘E’ in a circle, alongside ‘R129’. These are EU-approved car seats and are the only type which can be used in the UK. The laws on child seats were changed recently so it’s best to double check your seat matches the new standards.
Weight Based Seats
Weight based seats are split into groups from 0 to 3, check out our guide below for weight category. The weight of your child will determine the type of car seat from lie-flat or ‘lateral’ baby carriers for children weighing up to 10kg to high-backed booster seats for those weighing 22-36kg. It’s important to make sure your child is in the correct seat for their weight, if not it could make the seat unsafe in the event of an accident.
Group 0 – For children weighing up to 10kg - Lie flat baby carrier, or rear-facing baby seat using a harness
Group 0+ - For children up to 13kg – Rear-facing baby carrier using a harness
Group 1 – For children weighing 9kg to 18kg – Rear or forward facing baby seat, using a safety shield or harness
Group 2 – For children weighing 15 kg to 25kg – High backed booster seat or booster cushion. This can be used with a seat belt, safety shield or harness
Group 3 – For children weight 22kg to 36kg – High backed booster seat or booster cushion using a safety shield, harness or seat belt
How To Fit A Car Seat
Your child’s car seat will either be fitted using the seatbelt (with diagonal strap only) or using the ISOFIX anchor points. Many new cars are now fitted with ISOFIX points as standard. Some seats are designed to be used with a lap belt, but double check this when you’re buying the seat. If you’re placing your child’s car seat in the front passenger seat it’s important to deactivate the airbag.
Contact your nearest Richard Hardie Centre today to find out more about the range of vehicles we have to ensure you make the correct decision when buying your car, based on your child seat requirements and preferences.