UPDATED. Confused about car seats? Your questions answered

(81 Posts)
LauraEMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 09-Apr-19 12:31:43

Car seats and car seat safety can be a bit of a minefield, but when it comes to buying and fitting a seat for your little one, it's vital that parents get it right.

So what exactly is ISOfix? Can you buy a second-hand car seat? And what's the difference between R44 and i-Size?

In the next couple of weeks, we'll be filming an FAQ-style video with car seat expert Jan James, Chief Executive of Good Egg Safety, who will be answering your questions on all things car seats.

If you have something you would like to ask Jan, just pop your question on the thread below and we'll do our best to answer as many as possible.

Happy posting!

OP’s posts: |
PatricksRum Tue 09-Apr-19 14:29:36

What age would you say we should rear face too?
At what age/ weight should we transition from group 0/ 0+?

Chocolateisfab Tue 09-Apr-19 16:22:57

Can never grasp where a dc's legs would go long term rf??!

teaandbiscuitsforme Tue 09-Apr-19 17:42:14

Chocolate They either rest their feet on the back of the seat or they cross their legs. My DC both RF (4 and 2) so they've never tried forward facing but I've read that children can find it more uncomfortable after rear facing because their legs are just dangling with no support. It's definitely not a reason not to rear face long term IMO.

moreismore Tue 09-Apr-19 18:35:49

Is there an ERF seat that maximises front seat legroom for driver and passenger? My 6’2’’ DH is struggling to fit in family car which is an auris touring.

OhioOhioOhio Tue 09-Apr-19 18:37:34

My 3 and 4 yeas old both weigh the same. Can they both be in a booster seat?

EnglishBreakfastTea Tue 09-Apr-19 18:40:07

I'd be interested to know that too Ohio. My DS is almost 3 but 4lbs heavier than my 4 year old DD!

lil26 Tue 09-Apr-19 18:47:30

I don't understand the law on forward facing, when can they go legally forward facing? We have a forward facing seat which has been passed down from immediate family, and can't afford another car seat, hence the question!

AK91CH Tue 09-Apr-19 19:24:04

@lil26 the forward or rear facing law really took me by surprise too as I bought my son a forward facing seat when he was over 9kg like I did when my daughter now 8 was a baby. I was then upset by a busy body parent up the school who was slating me to my friend for putting my son in this as he should be rear facing till he is at least 15 months. As I was unaware of the new laws I was totally devastated and ordered a brand new Cosatto all in all car seat so I could rear face him which cost over £200 to see that when it arrived it stated on it group 0 up to 15kg then group 1 9 to 23kg I believe? So in this car seat I paid over £200 for I could forward face him from 9kg. I don't think a big brand such as Cosatto would sell car seats against the law. I believe after checking the gov.uk website that the new law is in relation to isize seats which are height based not weight based? I may be wrong. I don't really understand it

HJWT Tue 09-Apr-19 20:11:43

@AK91CH the new law is stupid but the guidelines to go along with it is that it is SAFEST to rear face till at least 15 months which if you think most children reach the minimum weight to FF at 9 months it is a good law.

WhyNotAlready Wed 10-Apr-19 07:16:37

Air bags: should it be turned off if a child in a booster is in the frint passenger seat? Or only for rear facing baby seats? Or any child / up to what size/age?

WhenZogateSuperworm Wed 10-Apr-19 07:19:48

My 3 and 4 yeas old both weigh the same. Can they both be in a booster seat?

I believe they say under 4 should be in a harnessed rear facing seat because although they may weigh the same as a 4 year old their bone structures aren’t as well formed. They are also not mature enough to sit properly in a booster seat where children shouldn’t slouch or fall asleep in anything other than an upright position.

WhenZogateSuperworm Wed 10-Apr-19 07:22:03


You have to remember that legal doesn’t mean safe. Smoking is legal, but certainly not recommended as safe!

Forward facing before 15 months is really unsafe, and before 4 isn’t recommended. Seats are available, there are some dreadful Nania ones on the market but whilst they meet legal requirements they certainly aren’t recommended.

AK91CH Wed 10-Apr-19 08:16:53

@WhenZogateSuperworm I have bought the Cosatto all in all now which he does rear face in but it also states on that he can forward face from 9kg. I was totally unaware of new laws/recommendations when I bought the first car seat and it wasn't mentioned when I purchased it... things have changed so much since I had my daughter 8 years ago not just in relation to carseats

Elizabeth2019 Wed 10-Apr-19 09:56:57

I’d be interested in what car seats are recommended for the front seat, and exactly what is legal / safe if it’s chosen to put a child there.

(Worry about baby needing something on a longer drive and stuck in traffic unable to do anything)

NotMyUsualTopBilling Wed 10-Apr-19 11:39:42

I-size regs run alongside the current R44 laws but I believe it will replace at some point in the future.

I-size limits are based on height rather than weight so you should be able to safely use them until they are outgrown at an average of 15 months rather than R44 limits which means that some seats (group 0) will be outgrown at 9kg which is roughly 9 months but may be earlier.

Both are legal, both are safe but I-size promotes rear facing for longer which is safer.

My youngest is 6 and rear faced until she was 4 in a £130 seat which allowed rear facing from birth until 18kg (Joie Steadi) so it can be done relatively cheaply. Incidentally she sat with her legs crossed or stretched out on the back seat and now in a high back booster she pulls her legs up to crossed because she finds out uncomfortable when they're dangling unsupported.

NotMyUsualTopBilling Wed 10-Apr-19 11:49:30

Oh I also have a question, I'm aware that some companies (both budget and premium brands) meet the minimum crash requirements set allowing them to offer seats at low prices.

Nania, in particular, seem to be subject to constant safety recalls along with what I assume are also re-brands of the same seats. Are you aware of any way or plans to tackle this and stop these shoddy goods being produced/sold and raise the standards?

As these products are often aimed at those with tight budgets it seems that parents have little choice but to use poor quality equipment which could be tasked with saving their childs life and will most likely fail to do so.

bonzo77 Wed 10-Apr-19 12:53:13

Can you recommend a seat that is:
5 point harness
Easy to transfer between cars
Suitable for a child over 18kg.

My youngest is 3.5 and 17.2 kg. In my car he’s in a britax 2 way elite rear facing. It’s an older model so could be used forward facing to 25kg too.

I’d like a spare to use in other cars. I could get the newer model and keep it rear facing only (as above 18kg it’s only been reared and approved for rear facing) and use the old one as the spare to go forward facing in other cars as it’s easier to install forward facing. But really I want a super easy one, like a bigger version of the Britax Prince but harness tested to 25kg

RiddleyW Wed 10-Apr-19 13:53:10

I have a small light four year old who is currently rear facing in a five point harness. What’s the rule for going to a booster? How heavy should he be?

ItsHardToExplain Wed 10-Apr-19 21:05:42

Are all car seats the same safety wise for example if I was to buy a new one for my 5 year old then why would I buy a £300 one when I could just buy a £30 one?
Do they all pass the same safety tests?

sighrollseyes Wed 10-Apr-19 22:24:52

Seats with a 5 point harness over 18kg are not really in existence largely because a 5 point harness isn't deemed safe in a crash over 18kg (they can pop open). At this point most children would go into a high back booster which is fitted with the car seatbelt as the seatbelt is safer at higher weights.

SusieSusieSoo Thu 11-Apr-19 07:17:58

Interested to hear views on safety of children in car seats sitting in the front. Dc is 6 and sometimes sits in high back booster in front passenger seat with airbags on which is what the car seat & car manufacturers say is ok. Seat is as far back as it can go without compromising seatbelt. Seatbelt looks well positioned in this car. Seat has isofix for when he's in the back but obv just on seatbelt in front.

Is there a difference in how safe he is? (Ignoring the impact on me as the driver being more or less distracted by him being closer or further away from me which I can assess myself).

No longer applies to me but it's fine to say dc's should rear face til 4 but if you have a tall dc you may take a different view of them sitting with their knees around their ears for journeys of anything more than a few minutes. (I had one of the first extended rear facing seats - cost me £350 in 2013 - and was the biggest and safest I could find at the time).

DippyAvocado Thu 11-Apr-19 07:50:48

I have older DC but both are in high backed boosters still. I believe the law says booster seats until at least 1m35 but recommended until 1m50, is that right? Is there a height/weight limit for the high backed boosters? DD1 is the only one of her friends who still uses them but I think they're safer.

RHTawneyonabus Thu 11-Apr-19 07:57:54

The five year limit. Seems to apply to group 0 car seats but not the others? My youngest is in a recaro sport that belonged to his older brother that must be coming up to five years old but says suitable from 9 months to 12 years! I have to buy FOUR car seats (me, DH, nanny and MIL) so have to budget where I can!

millymally Thu 11-Apr-19 08:43:56

Can I use a car seat in a transit style van? (I.e. Three seats across the front) - thanks!

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