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in car safety

in car safety advice on keeping your baby safe on the move

Most parents understand how important car safety is, but many people have trouble fitting and using car seats. Recent surveys have revealed that more than half of baby and child car seats are fitted incorrectly. That's why it's so important to read the instructions that come with your car seat.

This advisory card is full of useful information on how to make sure your baby or child travels safely at all times, no matter how short the journey.

buying the right seat

Talk to our expert advisers instore. For a new baby you will need an infant carrier (or combination seat). Our store advisers can check that the seat you wish to buy is suitable for your car, and they can help you fit the seat.

important car seat advice for parents

  • whether they're born in hospital or at home, newborn babies need a rearward facing car seat from their very first journey.
  • rearward facing car seats offer the best protection for young babies, who have very little control over their head and neck muscles. Your baby should be positioned rearward facing for as long as possible.
  • car seats are tested by the weight they can carry, not the age of your baby or child.
  • mothercare recommend that children travel in the rear of the vehicle. However, if it is necessary for them to sit in the front seat when in a rearward facing seat the airbag must be de-activated. If the child is in a forward facing seat the vehicle seat should be slid back all the way and you should refer to the vehicle hand book; this will advise whether the air bag should be de-activated or not. In all cases, refe to the car seat manufacturers' instructions to check suitability for your child's seat in a particular seating position or vehicle.
  • since 2006 all new ECE-approved cars come equipped with Isofix anchorage points built in. Isofix-compatible car seats can easily and simply be plugged in, with much less opportunity for incorrect fitting. Check your car manual to see if your car is Isofix compatible.
  • never buy a secondhand seat ??it may have accident damage that you can't see, making it a danger for your baby to use.
  • the law requires all children travelling in cars to use the correct child restraint from birth until they are either 135 cm (4' 5") in height or the age of 12 (whichever they reach first). After this they must use an adult seat belt.

fitting your baby's seat

  • practise fitting the seat before your baby arrives ??read through the instructions and keep them in your car until you're absolutely sure you know how it works.
  • make sure the harness around your baby or child is firm but not restrictive.
  • the seat belt should be as tight as possible, to minimise forward or sideways movement of the seat.
  • make sure the seat belt passes correctly through all the correct guides on the child seat ??some seats have an alternative routing if the seat belt is too short to use the normal route.
  • the seat belt buckle should be straight when locked and should never rest on the child's car seat frame as it may snap open.
  • for forward facing seats, push your weight into the child seat as you tighten the seat belt to make sure the child seat is securely held. As usual, there should be no slack in the seat belt.

weight birth-13kg (29lbs) birth-18kg (40lb) 9-18kg (20-40lbs) 9-36kg (20-79lbs) 15-36kg (33-79lbs) 15-36kg (33-79lbs)
group 0+ 0+ and 1 1 1-2-3 2-3 2-3
approx age. birth - 12-15 mths birth - 4 yrs 9 mths - 4 yrs 9 mths - 11 yrs 4 - 11 yrs 4 - 11 yrs
car type seat infant combination forward-facing high back booster with harness high back booster without harness booster seat
  in car safety advice on keeping your baby safe on the move in car safety advice on keeping your baby safe on the move in car safety advice on keeping your baby safe on the move in car safety advice on keeping your baby safe on the move in car safety advice on keeping your baby safe on the move in car safety advice on keeping your baby safe on the move
  • rearward facing
  • lightweight and portable
  • with carry handle
  • many moddles compatible with ISOFIX bases
  • use rearward facing from birth-9kg/20lbs
  • use forward facing from 9-18kg/20-40lbs
  • seat has integral harness
  • secured with an adult seat belt
  • forward-facing
  • adjustable recline positions
  • many models compatible with ISOFIX or ISOFIX BASE
  • forward-facing
  • use with integral harness from 9-15kg (20-33lbs)
  • use with vehicle belt from 15- 36kg (33-79 lbs)
  • integrated harness
  • secured with an adult seat belt only
  • many models come with ISOFIX attachments
  • forward-facing
  • secured by an adult seat belt
  • a useful back- up option e.g. grandparents' car or for unexpected situations