Car seat information

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Car Seat Laws

By law, your child must use the child car seat for every single journey, no matter how short. Only approved child seats can be used in the UK. These seats must display the safety standards UN R129 or UN R44.04 or UNR44.03.

Although, UN R44.03 seats are no longer allowed to be sold but can still be used, they aren’t recommended due to the age of the seat.

Which Car Seat?

It’s important to choose the right seat for your child and your car. Children need to use a seat that is designed for their weight and height and their stage of development. As your child grows, their bones and muscles will strengthen and this means they will require a different type of seat to help protect them in a potential collision.

All children under15 months and 76cm must stay rear facing in UN R129 child seats, as these offer the greatest protection.

Do not be tempted to turn your child forward facing or move your child to the next seat to soon. Keep them safe by using their existing seat until they reach the maximum height and weight specified on it.

Car Seat Safety

  • Make sure the car seat is fitted securely, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Always travel with your baby in the back seat if you can.
  • NEVER put a rearward-facing baby seat in the front if there is an active passenger airbag. It is illegal and dangerous to do so. If the airbag goes off it will damage the child seat and the child will be seriously injured.
  • Children must use a car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever they reach first.
  • All High backed booster seats and booster cushions are designed to fit a child to at least 150cm, so they can continue to use it to give them additional protection. Always check the maximum height displayed on the seat.
  • Child seats are approved based on height ( for UN R129 seats) and weight ( for UN R44.04 seats) so you should always use the seat based on the appropriate size and not the age of the child.

Seats with an integral harness

The harness should be fitted correctly on every journey, do not allow thick clothing or coats underneath a harness, as the harness needs to be as close as possible to the child’s bone structure to ensure the they stay secure at all times. If you can pinch the harness webbing between your fingers, it is too loose and needs tightening.

Rear Facing – the harness should be level with or just below the child’s shoulder.

Forward Facing – the harness should be level with or just above the child’s shoulder.

Most new-born car seats come with an insert for more support and padding. Do not buy separate inserts that do not come with the car seat, as these may not meet safety regulations.

Blankets & towels should not be placed under the baby to support them.

Do not make any adaptions or alterations to the seat, including adding rolled up cushions or accessories. These are not crash tested on the child seat and it could affect its effectiveness in a collision.

What should my baby wear?

Babies that get too hot are at a greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome.  Always remove any hats and outdoor clothing such as snowsuits and thick coats once your baby is in the car and placing a blanket over them and where needed dressed in a thin cardigan or jacket.

The best way to check your baby is getting too hot is to feel their tummy or back of their neck. If their skin feels clammy or sweaty, they are too hot, so remove a layer of clothing, as young babies cannot regulate their temperature.

How long can they stay in the car seat for?

Child car seats aren’t intended to be a place for babies to sleep, feed or travel in when you’re not travelling in a vehicle. It is recommended to remove them from their car seat as soon as you can.

There is no published evidence which sets out how long babies should be kept in a car seat when travelling.

Taking regular breaks will allow you to check on your baby, take them out of the car seat and let them stretch and move around. If your baby changes their position and slumps forward, then you should immediately stop, take them out of the car seat and reposition them before continuing your journey.

Ideally, a second adult should travel in the back of the car with your baby, or if travelling alone use a mirror to keep an eye on your baby.

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