Advice and insights to help you make the right choice
By Mamas & Papas
We all want to keep our babies safe – so it's best to invest in a good quality car seat that’s right for them. With so much information around, it’s hard to know what’s best. Here we explain some of the terminology and offer useful tips to help you find the right car seat.
We have a set of safety standards we always stick to, doing everything we can to ensure every journey is as safe as possible. With in-store car seat experts and online advice, we’re ready to help before and after baby arrives. From that first seat to upgrading for a toddler, we’re with you for the whole journey.
With us you get:
We will Price Match against the rest of the high street, so you never pay more for the best car seats on the market.
Our selection is carefully edited to bring you the very best car seats from the most trusted brands out there.
We have an Institution of Occupational Safety and Health-accredited expert in every store. Even if you shop online, you can bring your car seat in and we’ll help you fit it.
We've pulled together a list of the the terms it's helpful to know. They're also features and regulations we believe in because they ensure you and your child can enjoy a safer journey.
i-Size is the European Safety Standard for car seats. The regulations aim to ensure all car seats keep your child rear-facing for longer, are easier to fit correctly and include Side Impact Protection.
ISOFIX systems create a stronger connection between the car seat or base and your car. It reduces the risk of fitting the seat incorrectly and offers improved protection for your little one.
Car seats that provide SIP are safer than booster seats as they offer all-round protection for baby from side-on-collisions.
As newborns can’t spend more than 90 minutes in their car seat at one time, some of our seats adapt into lie-flat carriers outside the car, so you can use them for longer on the pushchair.
A belted system is a car seat that is secured to the car via the seat belts. It is still a safe way to secure a car seat however there is a greater margin of error on belted seats than ISOFIX, so make sure you double check the seat before each use.
A travel system is a pushchair that allows you to attach your car seat to the pushchair frame, so you can move your child from the car to the pushchair without waking them. Some pushchairs are already compatible, others use additional adaptors to secure a car seat.
If you have any more terms you're unsure of, just ask. Pop in to your local Mamas & Papas store and we'll be more than happy to help with any queries you have.
By law, children’s car seats have been subjected to accident simulation testing, regulations ECE R44 and ECE R129.
The law requires children to use the correct car seat until they reach either 135cm or 12 years old, whichever comes first. It’s important to ensure your child travels in the appropriate car seat.
Car seats must…
1. Follow ECE regulation 44.04 or i-Size regulation R129
2. Be suitable for your child’s weight and height
3. Be fitted to the manufacturers’ guidelines
R.44 is a testing process for car seats; amongst other requirements car seats undergo front-on collision testing and rear-impact collision testing.
Features of R.44 include:
- Forward-facing possible from 9kg (approx. 9 months)
- Car seats can be installed using ISOFIX, seat belts or a combination
R.44 car seats are split into 5 different groups that indicate when is best to use them. The table explains which age and weight ranges apply to which groups.
R.129 is also known as i-Size and applies to car seats that are ISOFIX compatible. It was introduced in July 2013 to ensure car seats:
- Are easier to fit
- Provide better side impact protection
- Keep children rear-facing for longer
The main changes i-Size introduced are:
- Choosing a car seat based on your child’s height rather than weight
- Providing rear-facing restraints suitable for babies up to 15 months
- Including a side-impact test to ensure all seats provide better protection from side-on collisions
R.129 and R.44 run side-by-side, so parents can choose whether to buy an i-Size approved car seat, or one that complies with R44.04.
Here is a list of questions to consider when choosing your car seat , they should help you narrow in on a make and model that's right for you.
Where possible, it’s important to know your baby’s weight as it will dictate which car seat they need. It’s best to keep them in the lowest group possible, though some car seats cross over between stages.
Car seats that meet i-Size regulations have height limits. Your child will have outgrown their car seat if their head is level with the top of the seat.
With i-Size seats it is mandatory to keep baby rear-facing until they are 15 months old.
Not all car seats fit in all cars, so it’s important to select a seat that fits in the car you use. If you plan to use your seat in multiple vehicle then you must ensure it will be compatible with those too.
If you plan to buy an ISOFIX base, you should check your car has the corresponding ISOFIX anchor points. It’s important to confirm via a manufacturer fit list that the seat will fit the make and model of the car it is to be used in.
If your car has under-floor storage then you won’t be able to use a car seat or base that has an additional support leg.
If your car does have under-floor storage, then a top tether connector is a good alternative. Not all cars have top tether though, so it’s best to check first.
The i-Size regulations make it mandatory for baby to face rearward until they are at least 15 months old, in a bid to help stop parents from turning their babies forward too soon.
Hopefully these questions should help you narrow in on your choice of car seat, however we also recommend having a car seat consultation. It’s crucial you learn how to install your car seat correctly, so when buying your car seat make sure to get a member of staff to give you a demonstration first. Then try it yourself! Simply pop in store to book an appointment.
Hopefully that gives you enough information to get started but don’t forget that we also offer free Personal Shopping appointments to help you get to grips with our range of car seats, and even offer bespoke advice to suit you, your child and your car.
With Road Safety Week upon us, we wanted to make it easier to keep your little ones safe, so we have some exclusive offers on a range of car seats.