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Precious cargo: how to choose the right baby car seat

Becoming a parent is a huge learning curve. And before you even welcome your new arrival, it's important to choose the right baby car seat.

Understanding what the law says

Children need to use a car seat until they're 12 years old or 135cm tall (4'4") – whichever comes first. You'll also need to look out for the EU stamp of approval: ER129 on i-Size (height-based) car seats and ECER44 on weight-based ones. Height-based seats must be rear-facing until your child is over 15 months old.

Knowing the car seat group you need

There are five different car seat groups. Groups 0 and 0+ can be used from birth, while Group 1 is for when the child weighs between 9 and 18kg. Group 2 is for older children weighing 15 to 25kg. Group 3 car seats are for the oldest group of children and include high-backed booster seats.

Looking out for ISOFIX

Most new cars (and some older ones) have ISOFIX anchor points, which are built into the chassis. ISOFIX car seats snap right into these and are generally easier to install than regular car seats. You can find ISOFIX connectors on all car seat groups. Research by Which? and car seat safety organisations shows that many parents make mistakes when fitting car seats. ISOFIX can help you get it right.

Fitting the car seat

Unless you've chosen ISOFIX or a car seat designed specifically for lap belts, you can only fit a car seat where you have a diagonal seatbelt. You need to deactivate the front airbags if you put a rear-facing baby car seat in the front of the car. It's also important not to fit your baby car seat in side-facing seats.

Driving safely is your number one priority when you've got precious cargo. At O2 Drive, we not only welcome safe drivers, we help them improve. Our free app monitors your driving and provides journey scores, tips and rewards for careful driving.