Almost two-thirds of children are not as safe as they should be when traveling by car. Incorrectly installed seats, insufficiently tightened harnesses, unsuitable seats, all risk factors that can be avoided thanks to a car seat adapted to the size and weight of the child. But between the different types of fasteners, seats, and regulations, it can be difficult to find the right seat for your child. So which infant car seat to choose?
Best infant car seats
Why should you buy a good infant car seat?
Car seats save lives, as do seat belts. But for babies and young children, it is better to use a car seat. And this for many reasons :
Children have a different body than an adult
Until around 12 years of age and until they are 135 cm tall, children are too small and too fragile to wear a seat belt properly. It is therefore better to install them in a car seat corresponding to their weight and size to secure them.
Seat belts can be dangerous
The seat belts are designed to fit adults. They keep you in your seat during a car accident, prevent you from hitting the dashboard, the steering wheel, etc. On children who are not yet the right size, seat belts can cause injuries which can be serious:
- Rib or back injuries.
- Shoulder injuries.
- Head or neck injuries.
Taking it in your lap doesn’t protect it
Even if you have a belt, your child could be ripped from your arms by the force of a collision. And if you can get the seat belt around your two bodies, your weight could actually crush your child and put them at risk of serious injury.
Children should remain in a booster seat until they are large enough for a seat belt to be properly adjusted and secure. Use height and weight, not age, to determine when your child is ready to wear a seat belt.
How to choose an infant car seat?
Here are some key criteria you should consider before making a purchase for a baby and child car seat:
Ease of installation
Infant car seats can be installed via a locking system or simply using their regular seat belt, so make sure the seat you are installing has one of these features.
The safest child seats offer side impact protection and are made with impact foam pads that can absorb energy on both sides of the booster seat. Most booster seats also include an additional headrest and chest protection with additional padding.
Size and shape
The infant car seat is available in different sizes and shapes and some can fit into a smaller car than a larger car, so look for a car seat that would fit your car perfectly.
Ease of cleaning
You should be able to clean up any spills on the plastic parts of the seat with mild soap and cool water. Look for a baby and child seat that includes a removable, machine washable cover for your convenience and thorough cleaning.
The age of the seat
Your child is constantly growing. Consider purchasing a 2-in-1 child booster seat that they can grow with. Take one that includes an adjustable harness to use when your child is smaller and a removable backrest to adjust to their size as they grow. Before purchasing, consider the size, weight, and age limits for each booster seat to choose the one that fits your child’s growth.
The different types of car seats for babies and children
Car seats are designed to make your child’s transportation in a car safer while providing maximum comfort. In addition to the size, age of your baby as well as the longevity of the seat, you should also take into consideration the safety and comfort of your baby at the time of purchase. These last two elements depend in part on the seat attachment: Isofix or seat belt.
The Isofix system is a system for fixing the baby and child seat which has become compulsory in cars since 2011 thanks to European i-Size regulations. The seat attachment mechanism consists of two “crocodile-shaped” clips that connect the car seat to two lower U-shaped metal anchors that are mounted between the back of the rear seat and the seat. They are connected to the car body. All car seats with Isofix are fitted with retaining hooks which you can easily snap into place on these mounting points.
Who is it for?
This type of fixing is especially suitable for people who have a car manufactured after 2006.
Fastening with a seat belt
To fix a car seat in a car not equipped with Isofix, simply secure the seat with the car seat belt and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The belt must often be “threaded” through part of the backrest. The seat itself usually has a separate belt that you can use to fasten your child.
Who is it for?
This type of mounting is especially suitable for people whose car is not equipped with the Isofix mounting system.
Which car seat for what age or weight?
This type of seat is suitable for babies 0 to 2 or 3 years old, weighing up to around 10 kg depending on the model. These seats should always face the back of the car.
They can function both as rear-facing seats for babies and toddlers and as forward-facing seats for older children. This kind of seat is suitable as soon as the child reaches 10 kg. Note, however, that the seat should not be turned forward before the baby is 4 years old: the age at which he will be able to maintain his neck and head if you have to brake suddenly. They are suitable for children from 10 to 25 kg.
Once your child has outgrown the convertible seat, you can use a belt-positioning booster seat. They are suitable for children weighing between 22 and 36 kg.
We know there is a lot of information on car seats. That’s why we’ve put together this list of frequently asked questions to make it easier for you.
Q. In which car seat should my child be?
A. It will depend on the age and size of your child. While some car seats are specially designed for infants, some are designed to follow your child as he grows up. Look for the minimum and maximum weight limits when looking for car seats. Some weight limits for car seats can range from 2 to over 35 kg.
Q. How long should a child stay in a car seat?
A. In France, children are required to stay in a road safety seat for up to 10 years, or when they reach adequate age to use a seat belt (approximately 1.35m).
Q. Do car seats face the rear window?
A. It is recommended to install the rear-facing child car seat until they weigh at least 18 kg. There is more support and protection for your child’s head and body when facing the rear window.
Q. Is it safe to use a used child seat?
A. The best advice is not to use a used child seat. He may have been involved in an accident and the damage may not be visible. Very often the instructions are missing on the used seats, making it more difficult to make sure that you install and use them correctly. Second-hand seats are also likely to be older than they look, to have been worn more, and to be designed to less than current safety standards.
Q. Can my child travel safely in the front seat?
A. It is safer for your child to travel in the rear seats. Therefore, if you have a choice, place your child in a rear passenger seat.
Q. Can a child use an inflatable seat belt?
A. A child can be normally attached in the vehicle using an inflatable seat belt if they are more than 135 cm tall. You cannot use an inflatable seat belt to secure the car seat itself in the vehicle.