There’s nothing like packing up the car and heading off for a day of adventure with the family; drives to the coast, weekends in Wales or trips further afield to Europe all offer chances for much needed family fun.
Making sure your little ones are safe while travelling is any parents priority, so at CDG we’ve compiled a handy guide to children’s car safety- giving you essential information about car seats along with a couple of other helpful gadgets to keep your kids safe while in the car.
The law requires all children travelling in the front or rear seat of any car, van or goods vehicle must use the correct child car seat until they are either 135 cm in height or 12 years old (which ever they reach first). After this they must use an adult seat belt. There are very few exceptions.
Choosing the right car seat is really important – not only are you required by law to make sure that your child is fully restrained at all times when travelling in a car, but keeping your little one safe is no doubt your highest priority.
Some important points to consider:
-Whatever the look of the car seat, buying a second hand one is always a gamble. It’s impossible to tell just by looking at it if it has been involved in an accident or has integral wear and tear; often second hand seats don’t come with full instructions making them difficult to install correctly.
-Check your car manual and the website of your chosen car sear to make sure the seat is compatible with your car, as not all are.
-Choose one that’s easy to fit, and make sure you get some practise. Most accidents happen on short journeys so if your seat is hard to fit you may end up not bothering for a short hop which could prove disastrous.
-Try before you buy; make sure you get full instructions before you hand over cash, and that you can return the seat should there be any problems. Although it may be tempting to buy online, nothing beats being shown in person how to use a seat, so make sure you know what you are doing before you hit the buy button.
-Never use a car seat when an air bag has been fitted.
-A child can legally travel in the front of the car but it’s always safest for them to travel in the back if possible.
-If anyone else plans to drive your child around, make sure they know how to install the car seat properly.
Check out our handy table for information on car seat sizes and weights:
|Type of Child Restraint||Weight Range||Age Range|
|Rear facing baby seat||Group 0
0 – 10kg (22 lbs)
|Birth to 6-9 months|
0 – 13kg (29 lbs)
|Birth to 12-15 months|
|Combination seat – Rear and Forward-facing||Group 0+ and 1
0-18 kg (40 lbs)
|Birth to 4 years|
|Group 0+, 1 & 2
Birth to 25 kg (55 lbs)
|Birth to 6 years|
|Forward-facing child seat||Group 1
9-18 kg (20 – 40 lbs)
|9 months to 4 years|
|Group 1, 2 and 3
9 – 36 kg (20 – 79 lbs)
|1 to 11 years|
We’ve rounded up some of the best options for each group:
Maxi Cosi Pebble £165
Group 0+ – 1
Britax King II LS £170.00
Keeping your child in a group 1 seat for as long as they comfortably fit will offer them greater protection, but once your baby is all grown up and their eye line is above the back of the car seat, they can progress to the next stage; more often than not a booster seat.
Once your child hits 12, or 135cm; whichever comes first, they can legally use an adult seat belt. If your child has reached the magic marker of 135cm but the adult seat belt lies on their tummy and neck instead of the hips, chest and shoulder, they will be better off remaining in a booster seat that is designed for their weight, until the seat belt fits properly.
For more advice check out Mothercare’s guide to buying the right car seat
Kid’s car accessories
Keep your precious cargo cool and out of the sun by fixing a sun shade to the window on the side they are travelling.
Britax Sunshade £4.99
Most modern cars (check in your handbook) offer use of the isofix system to install a car seat. This comprises of a fixed base that locks into your car, and you simply click the car seat in to go, and un-click when you want to remove it, taking all the stress out of getting your kids in and out of the car.
Child view mirror
When your child is rear facing during their early years, it can be disconcerting not to be able to see them and make sure they are ok. A quick fix for this is a child view mirror which you attach to a rear headrest so you can see the little one at all times!
Easy Rear View Mirror £9.99
Hard toys could cause injury in the event of an accident or some sharp braking, so make sure your kids have something soft to play with if they need a distraction.
Lamaze Captain Calamari £7.00