Buying Guide - Baby Car Seats

Buying Tips

Cosatto car seat
Watch out for the label: safety standards
Car seats must adhere to the R44-03 or R44-04 standards. The label must have the letter E in a circle which guaranties that the car seat bought by you adheres to the European standards. The label must also mention the weight range for which the car seat is approved. For example, 19 lb to 39 lb (9kg to 18kg) for a group I seat.

Baby in place: the harness
Group 0 to II car seats are fitted with a harness. There are 3-point or 5-point harnesses. 5-point harnesses are more reliable and effective than the other models. T-shaped, they resemble the harnesses used by road racers. The strap that passes between your child’s legs prevents him from slipping from the seat.

Isofix or not? The fitting system
Most of the car seats can be fixed with seat belts. Some of them are fitted with the Isofix system which allows you to fix the seat directly on the body of your car and not on the seat belt anchorages. It offers the advantage of being easy to install and not having to drive with a badly fitted car seat.

The semi-universal Isofix seats are fitted on the backrest with two special clips and a knee brace which prevents the seat from toppling over.

The universal Isofix car seats have a Top Tether strap fastened to the boot which replaces the knee brace. From 2011 on, all new cars are fitted with the Isofix system.

Keep in mind: lateral protection
Seats fitted with head supports are more secure in case of lateral shocks. Hence it is not advisable to remove the headrest from the group II and III car seats.

From babies to big fellows: adaptability
Convertible seats are those that can be modified to suit your baby’s growth. Though economically more viable, certain studies indicate that they are less practical, in terms of security as well as usability.

Comfort and hygiene: seat cover
For your child’s safety and hygiene it is recommended that you purchase a model fitted with a removable and washable seat cover.

Group I

Group I seats is for children weighing 19 lb to 39 lb (9 kg to 18 kg) and are forward-facing. They are fitted with a 3-point seat belt in your car or with the Isofix system. There are two types of group I seats, seats with overhead shields and bucket seats.

Seats with overhead shields fitted with protective tables are difficult to find in a few European countries even today. However, their advantage is that they are comfortable for your child and can be fixed on the belt at two points in the middle of the bench seat at the back.

The bucket seats are fitted with a 3-point or 5-point adjustable harness which can be adjusted to suit the height of the child to keep it stable.

Group II and III

Booster seat
Group II seats are for children weighing 33 lb to 55 lb and group III for children weighing 48 lb to 79 lb.

The car seats in these two groups enable the use of seat belts. Hence your baby is not held by a harness any more, as is the case in the previous groups. There are booster seats which keep your child seated at the right height to fasten the seat belt: it must go over the shoulders and not the neck.

There are two types of car booster seats: those that are fitted with a backrest offering better stability and simple boosters which can be used till your baby has outgrown them.

Combination and Multi-group Seats

Combination and multi-group seats can be adapted according to the weight and height of the child and are approved for several groups. There are seats that include groups 0, 0+ and I, which can be placed front-facing or rear-facing.

Convertible seats, corresponding to groups I, II and III are placed rear-facing and offer an adjustable harness which can be adjusted according to the child’s growth. They generally have a detachable headrest which enables you to retain only the booster when your child grows up.

Groups 0 and 0+

Group 0 is intended for children weighing 0 to 22 lb (0 to 10kg). There are two types of systems in this group: carrycots and shell seats.

The carrycots are placed parallel to the rear bench seat. They are fitted with a harness and an anti-ejection belt that prevent the baby from falling in case of a collision or sudden brakes. However, as they occupy two seats in the rear of the car, they are not advisable for big families. They are ideal for long trips.

You will also find hooded shell car seats, in which the infant is placed in a semi-reclining position. They are placed rear-facing in the back seat of the car. Fixing a car seat in the front of the car is not advisable and if you are left with no other choice make sure you inactivate the air bag, as it could prove fatal for the baby in the car seat if the air bag gets activated.

The 0+ car seats are meant for children weighing 0 lb to 28 lb. Like the seats in group 0, these are also placed rear-facing.