Monthly Parenting Magazine

Car seat buying tips – dos and donts

Car seat buying tips – dos and donts

car seat buying tips

There are some basic things to bear in mind before you choose the best car seat for your baby or toddler

Words Holly Kirkwood and Miriam Carey

Car seat buying for babies and toddlers: top tips

** You get what you pay for, although the most expensive seats aren’t always the best ones

** Never buy second hand car seats

** For a newborn, make sure the car seat is fitted prior to putting the baby in for the first time . There are lots of online tutorials you can watch to make sure you’re getting it right!

** Most manufacturers’ websites have info around compatability with cars

What is iSize?

i-Size is the European-wide standard for car seats which is being phased in slowly, but will eventually be the UK-wide standard. With an i-Size car seat little ones stay rear facing up to 15 months.  Sizes are based on the child’s height rather than their weight, which makes it easier to figure out which seat you need for your child.

What is Isofix?

Isofix are fixed points within your vehicle’s seats that can be used to attach your child’s car seat. The benefit of Isofix is that it’s easier for parents to be confident they have the correct fit, than when they use a three point seat belt to secure a car seat. All cars produced after 2011 are equipped with Isofix points.

Choosing a baby car seat

You first need to decide what sort of car seat you need: do you want an infant carrier that can be used as part of a travel system on a pushchair, or not?  You also need to decide whether to install an Isofix connector, or use the seatbelt or a base.

It’s generally safer to leave a baby rear-facing until they are at least 13kg or 15 months old.  Previously, many parents were too fast to turn their children forward-facing. Now experts maintain all children should face backwards for as long as possible – children’s necks are particularly at risk when they are very small.

Choosing a toddler car seat

Extended rear-facing car seats are becoming more common . You’ll have to decide between a Group 1/2 seat and a group 1/2/3 or 2/3 seat. Most parents opt for the car seat which best suits their vehicle, taking into account how many other children need to be accommodated: seats in some groups are considerably larger than others.

Top four car seats recommended by Absolutely Mama


Maxi Cosi Pebble Plus £199

A lightweight rear-facing infant carrier that’s i-size approved and provides plenty of support. Easily installed with isofix or the seat belt, use until the age of one.

Group 1

Cybex Juno £180

A forward facing car seat for children around 9-18kg, the Juno is a light seat that is easy to install, using an adult seatbelt or isofix. The seat is roomy, with comfortable padding.

Group 2/3 Britax Romer Kidfix XP Sict  £185

A forward-facing car seat for children between 15-36kg. Attached with adult seat belts or isofix mounts, it suits larger vehicles and provides a comfortable ride.


Joie Every Stage FX Group £250

This every group child seat from 9-36kg starts rearward facing then converts to a forward facing seat. It has isofix-only installation and is a great all-rounder.

** Read more about car seat safety and choosing a car seat for your child 

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