For those of us who know the classic Gerry Anderson series Captain Scarlet, you’ll remember that he always drove his car sitting backwards, looking at a screen of the road ahead. What Captain Scarlet knew, is that this is by far the safest way to travel!
I-SIZE – THE NEW LEGISLATION
Car accidents are the leading cause of child deaths. In Europe, 109 children are killed and 1,150 injured every week. Getting the right seat for your baby is confusing and until now, we have followed the ‘Group’ system, where the seat is suitable for a child between certain weights: Group 0+ from birth to 13 kilos, Group 1 between nine and 18 kilos. The system is difficult to understand, as we don’t weigh our kids all the time and has led to some parents putting their child in the next seat up before they are ready, others leaving baby in a seat that they have outgrown.
Experts have noted how much safer rearward-facing seats are in a crash. In Scandinavia, children are carried rearward-facing up to four years and deaths and serious injuries have been greatly reduced. New legislation, called i-Size, is coming into effect across Europe, and means you will carry your child rearward – facing for four years, though it will run hand-in-hand with the previous system. So you have not one, but two lots of regulations to choose from!
That’s good in some ways, as you may have already bought a seat hat will fit your child up to four or even 12 years and you won’t be forced to buy a new one yet. However, it does mean that there is more room for confusion than before.
I-SIZE AND ISOFIX
You may already be using Isofix. This is a secure fixing system on your car’s chassis, into which a child car seat fixes. It makes each journey safer, as the seat is attached to the car and is not relying on a seat belt to hold it in. i-Size car seats have to use Isofix, so they are already safer than alternative belt fitted seats.
WHAT TO BUY?
You can buy seats suitable from birth to 67cm, then 67cm to 105cm, or one from birth to 105cm – that’s about four years. See our choices (right). Move your child to the next seat based on height, not weight.
Here a some of the best buys we recommend: