Why fitting a child car seat correctly matters

It is the law that if you have a child either under the age of 12 or shorter than 135cm in height, that they must be in a child seat when travelling in the car. It is, in fact, the responsibility of the driver that anyone under the age of 14 years old is correctly restrained with a seat belt in accordance with the law.

After the age of 12 or hitting that 135cm mark, those children must wear adult seatbelts from that moment onwards.

How to fit that child car seat correctly

There are two types of child car seat available. This allows you to choose between a seat based on either your child’s height or weight.

Height based seats are known as i-Size seats and must remain rear facing for the first 15-months of your child’s life. When they are over that age, they can sit in forward facing child seats. All height-based car seats must be EU-approved to be used in the UK and will have a capital E in a circle and R129 printed on the label.

The weight-based seats again must be EU-approved by having the capital E in the circle and ECE R44 printed on the label. There are multiple seats to choose from depending on the weight of your child.

  • 0kg-10kg: Lie-flat/Lateral baby carrier or rear-facing baby carrier with a harness
  • 0kg-13kg: Rear-facing baby carrier with a harness
  • 9kg-18kg: Rear- or forward-facing baby seat using a harness and safety shield
  • 15kg-36kg: Rear- or Forward-facing child seat set with a high backed booster seat using seat belt, harness and safety shield

Fitting the child car seat

If you have Isofix car seats, you have to find the Isofix slots in your car. They are usually hidden behind the car’s rear seats in a joint between the seat cushion and back of the seat. You should be able to easily find them with help from your handbook.

Once you have found the slots, follow these instructions:

  • Locate the Isofix connectors on your child’s seat or base (two prongs sticking out of the back.
  • Push the connectors into the slots and you should hear a click or see a visible indicator turn from red to green. This shows that the seat is securely fixed in place.
  • If your child car seat requires top tether fixing points, connect the straps to the top tether point in the car only. Do not attach it to anything else like the head rest or luggage hooks.
  • Some car seats come with a supporting leg. Make sure the supporting leg is correctly adjusted to the floor, to give the seat extra support.

Fitting i-Size seats

Whilst i-Size seats do fit into your Isofix slot (therefore follow the above instructions), make sure your seat is suitable for your car. Because i-Size seats are based on height, they have to be checked that they are suitable with that manufacturer. This is easy to check. Most manufacturers of both cars and car seats have lists on their websites for brands that are suitable for either.

Final checks

Before you set off, make sure the car seat is firmly set in place and use properly. The best way to do this is by following the manufacturer’s instruction guide (I know, but it is worth it for the safety of your child).

If the seat is safely in place and your child is sat comfortably, you can drive away.