We’re on the (cot­ton) ball when it comes to

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

HE world of kids’ car seats is pretty un­fath­omable. There are so many types, de­signs and styles, it’s hard to know where to start. Then there was all that con­fu­sion over new rul­ings last year, which didn’t ac­tu­ally change any­thing for par­ents, but we all thought we’d never be al­lowed to use a booster again.

With the eclec­tic ar­ray now on the mar­ket, we can choose car seats that can be used from birth to teen, or opt for a dif­fer­ent seat per age stage (baby, tod­dler and child).

If you’re still con­fused, here’s some ex­pert ad­vice... “BY LAW, chil­dren must be in a car seat un­til they are 135cm tall or 12 years old – which­ever comes first.

From 22kg (around the age of four), chil­dren can be moved to a booster seat used with an adult seat belt,” says Bri­tax Romer’s car seat safety ex­pert, Mark Ben­nett.

“It is vi­tal that par­ents ad­here to these rules no mat­ter how short the car jour­ney, as it’s the only way to en­sure chil­dren are safe in the

event of a col­li­sion.”

While booster cush­ions have not been banned com­pletely, most com­pa­nies who sell car seats urge par­ents to use a high-back booster seat in­stead, which of­fers much more pro­tec­tion from the side wings and head sup­port.

Amiad Ra­viv, from Sim­ple Par­ent­ing, the brand be­hind the Doona car seat, adds: “All car seats used in the UK must meet the rel­e­vant Euro­pean reg­u­la­tion – ECE R44 or R129, in ad­di­tion to meet­ing lo­cal reg­u­la­tions, such as en­hanced fire-re­tar­dant re­quire­ments. New­born ba­bies must travel in rear-fac­ing car seats, while older chil­dren can travel in

front-fac­ing va­ri­eties.” WHEN you first buy a car seat, the weight is im­por­tant, be­cause par­ents spend a lot of time car­ry­ing new­borns to and from the car – and some are re­ally heavy.

How­ever, there are lots of other as­pects to think about, too.

“It’s not just your child’s age that you have to con­sider when choos­ing a car seat; you should think about their weight and height, as well as the best fit for your car,” notes Hal­fords’ child car seat ex­pert, Emily Moul­der.

“Also think about whether your child will be mak­ing long or short jour­neys, and if you’ll need to trans­fer the seat from one car to an­other. Com­fort is a fac­tor too, so bring your child with you when choos­ing, to try the car seat out in store.”

“Some­thing which is cru­cially im­por­tant but of­ten over­looked, is the car seat be­ing prop­erly in­stalled,” says Amiad. “Re­search shows that around 80% of par­ents do not in­stall car seats prop­erly, and even the best seats on the mar­ket are much less ef­fec­tive when not in­stalled cor­rectly.”

It’s a good idea to go into a shop to get savvy on in­stal­la­tion. You can also check videos on the brands’ web­sites and YouTube.

Amiad also ad­vises opt­ing for seats with ad­di­tional safety de­signs, such as anti-re­bound pro­tec­tion, en­hanced side-im­pact pro­tec­tion and a five-point har­ness (vs three-point). IN THE­ORY, you can now buy one car seat that will take you all the way from leav­ing the hos­pi­tal with a new­born, to age 12 (though do check the man­u­fac­turer’s guide­lines, as some should be re­placed af­ter six or seven years).

Fi­nan­cially, it makes a lot of sense to make a seat last for as long as pos­si­ble, be­cause they aren’t es­pe­cially cheap.

How­ever, when you think about this prac­ti­cally, and en­vis­age how many times a baby might be sick in a car seat, how much mud a tod­dler might in­grain into the fabric, how many times the vel­cro from tiny shoes will get caught on the base, and the num­ber of sticky-fin­ger swipes it’s go­ing to face, you might feel hap­pier getting rid of an older model to re­place it with a lovely, new, clean one

when you need to.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.