These seats fit your child from when they grow out of their first stage seat at 13kg / 67cm until they are around four years old or 18kg maximum weight.
by Sally J. Hall
Some seats are a 0+ and 1, meaning you can use them from birth right up to around four years. These seats give you great value for money but need to be left in the car, as they are too heavy to be carried around.
Choose one that has an easy to adjust harness and head hugger, Some will adjust at the same time using just one lever. These seats ‘grow’ with your child, so make sure you keep an eye on your child and adjust the harness when necessary. The head hugger’s lower edge should be in line with the top of your child’s shoulder.
These first stage seats can be fitted in one of three ways:
A Universal system that has been introduced to all cars manufactured since xxxx, this is a fitting system that allows you to fasten your seat directly to the car’s chassis. This makes for a much safer way to travel, as it is very rigid and it is also usually easier to fit. Prongs on the seat click into loops that project from between the car seat’s back and seat sections. The infant seat usually has indicators to help you know that you have done this right. If the seat has a footprop, make sure it sits on the floor of that car, not an underfloor storage area.
Warning: Make sure you have clicked the seat into the Isofix fittings every single time you put the infant seat into the car.
The infant seat has guides in its back and lap section, through which the car’s seat belt is threaded. Once the belt is through the guides, you must pull it tight and click it into its holder. Before buying, check that your car’s belts are long enough for your chosen infant seat – many retailers will help you with this but be sure you can return the seat if you’re not able to check it before buying.
Warning: Make sure that each time you put the infant seat in, you pull the car’s seat belt tight. Don’t let familiarity make you sloppy about checking this.
With a base
This is a good way to ensure that your seat is always correctly fitted. The base is fixed into the car first, using either the car’s seat belt or the Isofix fittings. Then the infant seat is clicked onto the base. Most seats of this kind will have indicators to let you know that it is correctly fitted – and warnings if it isn’t. If the base has a footprop, make sure it sits on the floor of that car, not an underfloor storage area.
Warning: Check the base regularly to make sure it has not slipped and that it is still fixed in firmly.
Think you have all the information you need to make a choice? Head to our Car Seat Reviews to choose one that’s perfect for you.