Useful information on things to look for when buying a rear facing, first stage infant car seat plus the opportunity to purchase a range of car seats.
This is a first stage car seat which faces towards the back of the car and is usually fitted with a carrying handle. These are designed to provide maximum protection and support for your new baby. These car seats are portable and can be removed from the car whist your baby is still sleeping, thus having the advantage of letting you carry the car seat or attach it to a compatible travel system.
There are two categories available:
- 0 = birth to 6-9 months (up to approx 10kg / 22lbs)
- 0+ = birth to 12-15 months (up to approx 13kg / 29lbs)
It is important to choose a suitable car seat for your infant on the basis of weight rather than age. Additionally, you should nor move your infant to a forward facing car seat until they weigh at least 9kg / 20lbs and can comfortable sit up unaided. This is because rear facing seats provide more protection for your baby's developing head, neck and spine.
Rearward facing car seats include an integral harness designed to strap baby directly into the seatand are fixed into position by a lap and diagonal belt fitted over the seat and slotted into clips provided.
Rearward facing car seats can be fitted in the front or back passenger seats. However a baby seat must NEVER be fitted on the front seat of a car with a passenger airbag. It is safest to always fit the car seat in the rear of the car if possible.
Before you buy
- Look for either the British Standards Kitemark or European Regulations Mark (EUR 44.03)
- Be guided by your child's weight not their age.
- Choose a car seat you find easy to carry (you may find you are using it frequently as a car chair for your baby).
- Choose a car seat that fits securely into your car - ask to try the car seat in your car before you buy, not all seatbelts are long enough for all designs of car seat, see which one suits you best
- Always check the fit of the car seat's integral harness on your baby. You should be able to slide two fingers between it and your baby's chest.
- If anyone else drives your car they should be able to fit the car seat and monitor it's use.
Head support/Head huggers/Seat reducers - Necessary for all younger babies, in the first few months your baby's head is wobbly and will need support. It provides extra support in the form of a padded cushioned that surrounds the baby's head. These are included with most car seats, but some companies will charge extra.
Level indicator - Useful to ensure you have positioned the car seat at the right angle, not all infant carriers include a level indicator.
Carry handle - Ensure the handle is easy to lift up and down and the seat is easy to carry.
Rocking facility - Many infant carriers double up as rocking chair, these can help to soothe your baby.
Washable cover - Check the cover is removable for washing or at the very least spongeable.
Extras - Useful additions include a sun canopy, rain cover and footmuff, which will usually cost extra.