Safety First: Car seats for your little one

When it comes to our kids we might well be a little overprotective but that doesn’t detract from the fact that they do need looking after and – from the minute you leave the hospital – there are ways to make sure they are as safe as possible.

When it comes to car seats, some budding yummy mummies might be surprised to hear that a hospital won’t let you leave unless you have a suitable car seat in your vehicle (even if it’s your mum’s, or friend’s – you must make sure they are secure).

But what is a ‘suitable’ car seat? They come in different sizes, for different ages and can face in different directions – and they must fit into the car you plan to use them in! Here’s a quick guide to picking a car seat for your little one and making sure they are snoozing safely in the car.

Newborns (Group 0: Suitable from birth – up to 10kgs)

As mentioned before – you cannot leave the hospital in a car if you do not have a valid car seat. Because newborns are so tiny, you need to make sure you have one that is designed for newborns and isn’t too big so that they are thrown about with the car’s movement.

Any baby weighing less than 13kg (29lb) must have a rear facing car seat – this provides additional support for baby’s head and neck and most have ‘head huggers’ which stop your baby’s head rolling about – important in the first few months until they can hold up their head on their own.

Newborn car seats also tend to have a carry handle, so they are easily removed and carried and baby can continue to sleep wherever they go!

Top Pick: Mamas & Papas Primo Viaggio

12+ months (Group 1. From around 12 months – up to 4 years)

Once your little one isn’t so small anymore it is well worth investing in a new car seat – the newborn one may now be too snug and you want something that they can grow into and last for a few years to come. Many newborn car seats are only designed to last for a few months, so you may even need to replace yours before the one year mark.

Once your baby weighs between 10kg (and anywhere up to 18kg) you can opt for a carseat in Group 1. Some are still rear facing (which may provide more protecting in the case of an accident)  – although many will be front facing.

Top Pick: Chicco Key 1X Plus

Booster Seats (Groups 2 and 3)

A booster seat is required for your child, until they are safe to use an adult seatbelt.

Group 2 car seats are suitable for toddlers and young children, weighing between 15kg and 25kg (approx 4-6 years) whilst Group 3 seats tend to be ‘booster’ seats for children. Group 3 seats accommodate children weighing between 15kg and 36kg and can be used up until 12 years of age. Remember that is a legal requirement to use a booster seat until your child reaches 135cm, or 12 years of age (whichever comes first!)

Top Pick, Group 2: Graco Logico L X Comfort

Top Pick, Group 3: Toy Story 3 Booster or Hello Kitty Booster

7th January 2011
Written by Very_Lauren