Car Seats


I am a great believer in having the children strapped in the car securely. When my children were young a friend had a nasty experience when her son managed to undo the buckle of his seat and startle her by tapping her on the shoulder while stopped at traffic lights.car_seat1

These days car seats are rigorously tested and have many safety features, so little fingers should not be able to undo the buckle. The type of car seat you can use depends on the child’s weight, see the ROSPA guide for using car seats in the UK here

This is the one child care item that I would recommend to buy rather than try to borrow or get secondhand.

The most important thing, regardless of the style or manufacture, is that it is fitted correctly.  We have found that fitting varies between cars of the same make and model if the cars have different  specifications – it can be very confusing.

If you purchase your seat from John Lewis, Mothercare or Halfords, their trained staff will fit it for you, and if you keep your receipt they will help you to fit it on further occasions if you want to get it checked.

Features to look out for:

* Isofix versus straps.  Many cars now contain Isofix points which you can fix a car seat directly onto but tend to take up more room.  Alternatively you can strap all car seats in simply using the normal seat strap. Check how easy you find removing the seat.  This is particularly important for grandparents as you might be taking the car seat in and out regularly depending on when you need it.

  • Buckle.  The style of the buckle may vary and you might find that some challenge your dexterity better than others.
  • Recline.  Your requirement here will depend on how often you use the seat and how long the journeys will be.
  • Swivel.  At the moment we only know of one seat that swivels, the Maxi Cosi Axiss.  This feature can be really helpful if you have a bad back (our daughter loved hers!) but be aware that it is pricey, and it is not compatible with all cars.

* Some car seats can be converted as the child grows by removing the strap/buckles and using the car’s seat belt to hold larger children in place.  Normally a parent would only have to do this once, but as grandparents with children of different ages visiting us we found that we had to convert our car seat back from one suitable for a 4+ child to a toddler.  This was quite difficult and time consuming so we now use a booster seat with our oldest grandchild.  In hindsight we probably could have just bought a car seat for the early years.



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