Infant carriers for babies from birth to 13kg (0+) or 10kg (0) (approx. 15 months or 6-9 months)
- A newborn baby won’t be able to support his or her head until about six weeks, and won’t be able sit up until much later.
- This is why child seats for the youngest children are all rear-facing, designed to support the head, neck and back evenly.
- Remember not to use a rear-facing child seat on a passenger seat, where there is an active passenger airbag fitted. The close proximity of the child’s head, to the airbag could result in severe injury or death. If the bag is triggered in an accident.
- It is better to keep children in rear-facing restraints for as long as possible.
- The smaller ‘Group 0’ seats are mostly used for children up to 10kg. A weight most babies will reach by around 6-9 months.
- Group 0+ seats are a better choice because, they are suitable for children up to 13kg (around 15 months). This allows you to keep your child in a safer, rear-facing seat for longer.
- Many infant carriers/baby seats, are fitted using the adult lap-and-diagonal seat belt, while the child is restrained in the seat by an integral harness. This means that these seats can be easily moved from one car to another – assuming the adult belts are long enough.
You can also buy infant carriers that are fitted using the Isofix system. Typically these combine a ‘base’ attached to the car and a seat that clips easily into and out-of the base. The base will have a front support leg, which helps prevent forward rotation in an accident. Check the vehicle handbook first, to make sure you buy the right Isofix category and ‘size class’ to suit the vehicle.
Seats that can be used rear-facing for the first 9 months, and then forward-facing, for up to three or four years may seem to be a good idea if money is tight, but they are a compromise.
They are bigger, and heavier than an infant carrier, so you lose all the convenience of being able to carry the child in and out of the house in the child seat.
Fitting instructions can be complicated, as well which means that two-way seats are often installed incorrectly.
- Carrying handles are important. A sleeping child can be carried to and from the car with one hand which makes unlocking doors easier.
- Infant carriers, that are part of a travel system allows you to transfer the child from the car to a buggy/pushchair without disturbing them.
- It is a good idea, to make sure the infant carrier can be installed correctly in the car. It must sit securely at a comfortable angle, for the child and the adult belts must be long enough, to go around the child seat as shown in the instructions.
- Think about the child’s comfort. Harness adjusters located high on the straps can cause discomfort to a baby, who falls asleep lying against them.
- Is the harness easy to adjust? You will have to adjust it regularly, as the thickness of clothes changes and the child grows so it’s best to find a design you get on with.
- How easy is it to remove and replace the covers? You will probably have to remove it for cleaning at some point.