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recommendations for car seat for 1 and 3 years old

(24 Posts)
emali Thu 04-Feb-10 09:18:26

hi, there
we moved here and found out that our car seats from overseas don't have the UK approval.
my dd1 is 3 years old and about 15kgs, my dd2 is 1 year old and about 9kgs. i am a bit at loss with the new brand name and even different groups of car seats.
looks like dd2 should be fine going to a group 1 car seat, but for DD1, should we get her a group 1 (9kg to 18kg, 9mon to 4 years) or group 2 (15kg to 22kg, 3 o 6 yrs).
which car seats is "best"?, from safety and comfort point of view? what do your children like?

nicm Thu 04-Feb-10 10:07:36


i would get a group 1 rear facing seat for your dd2. they are 5 times safer. we have the britax two way elite and ds 21 months loves it.

for your dd1 you could also get a two way elite as they are suitable up to 25kgs. this can be used either forward or rear facing.

you can look on for more information. we bought our seat from

Tangle Thu 04-Feb-10 10:07:50

From a safety point of view you're recommended to leave children in their existing seat as long as possible, as they will experience bigger injuries when they're at the lower end of the weight limit.

So for you, I'd definitely get your DD2 in a Grp1 seat for now - have you considered keeping her rearfacing?

You might want to consider doing the same thing for DD1, depending on her size and your budget - the Britax 2 Way Elite is tested to 25kg so would last her a good long time and would give you the option to have her RF if you wanted to. It also gives you a 5-point harness, which most dedicated Grp 2 car seats don't have. Britax in general also have a good name.

From personal experience, our DD is just coming up to 3 and is a reasonable size for her age (not huge, but definitely not at the petite end of the scale!). She's in a BeSafe IziKid and has been very happy to now. At the end of the day, though, the you need to make sure whatever seat you buy fits your car well and that you know how to fit it. The ladies at the Essex In-Car safety team are very knowledgeable and extremely helpful, both over the phone or in person - its well worth giving them a call to discuss what they'd recommend you look at given your circumstances and car.

Good luck

EldonAve Thu 04-Feb-10 10:24:21

Where are your old seats from?
We are currently using a non EU approved seat from the USA

TruthSweet Thu 04-Feb-10 10:27:18

TBH I'd get 2 Britax Two Way Elites. They work rear or forward facing & harnessed 9-25kg. Rear facing is 5 times safer than forward facing and I can't even begin to imagine how much safer than a high back booster (group 2-3)!

My DD1 is in a TWE and is going to be 4 in March, she's about 106cm and 16/17kg, she rides rfing and loves her 'big girl' seat, DD2 is in a Britax Nordic Secura which also rear faces 9-25kg. It has the ability to be reclined without unistalling it but has a shorter back than the TWE so wouldn't last as long unless you have short chubby children wink.

You can get them here or have a look on this site for car seat fitters in your area.

See here for advice on rearfacing safety.

TruthSweet Thu 04-Feb-10 10:28:22

Nicm & Tangle - multi x-posts grin

Tangle Thu 04-Feb-10 12:16:27

Nicm & TS - LOL Great minds!

emali - EldonAve brings up a valid point. I know it would be illegal for anyone to sell you seats that don't have current EU approval (the UK has no additional requirements), but to the best of my knowledge you are not breaking the law by using seats that don't have current approval. I'm just an interested parent, though, so please don't take my word for it - the ladies in Essex would be very well placed to give you advice on this. If you are happy with your current seats you may not need to change them at all...

emali Thu 04-Feb-10 16:46:24

thanks for everyone's input and advice!

we moved from canada where the car seats *have to* be approved by canadian goverment. we need new seat for DD2 as she is just about to outgrown her current one and DD1 likes her britax, i will need to check again about whether it's legal to use overseas car seats here.

otherwise i think 2 way elite it is

emali Mon 22-Feb-10 00:30:56

just want to follow up, i did call the Essex safety but didn't get to talk to a lady but a man.. he was only reading me information from somewhere..
so i did a little more research

Q: Can I use a seat from another country in the UK?

A: Any child used in the UK must conform to the standard ECE R44.03 or R44.04, which is usually denoted with the letter E in a circle and a number (the number indicates the country in which the seat was tested and approved - the UK is 11).

The standard applies Europe-wide and therefore European manufactured seats will be an 'appropriate' restraint within the meaning of our laws and can be sold and used in the UK. Always check that they fit your vehicle and child.

It is unlikely that seats from the States or Australasia will meet ECE R44.03 or R44.04, and the method of fixing seats into vehicles can differ between countries. Child restraints that do not meet these standards cannat be used in the UK.

Tangle Mon 22-Feb-10 12:34:13

I wonder who that was - I've only got through to the ladies when I've called.

I've come across the childcarseats site before and, my personal opinion, is that it isn't entirely accurate or up to date and also isn't internally consistent (for example on this page they state that:
"Although new child restraints must conform to R44.03 or later version of the standard, people who have child restraints that conform to a British Standard or to an earlier version of R44, may continue to use them."
which contradicts the answer in the FAQ you posted above).

If you've got any enthusiasm left, I'd give the Essex team another call and ask, explicitly, for Cathy - I've talked to her a few times with some pretty specific and (I think) less common questions and she's always known the answer and the background to the answer.

emali Mon 22-Feb-10 16:36:29

thanks, Tangle. i used the number ntOid=20285

0845 6037631 and they can't transfer me to Cathy without knowing the surname.. so this time is a lady read me the regulations (same as last time, which says nothing about EU approval etc..)

the content you found above did say all car seats need to conform to British standard, no matter whether it's new or outdated.

i will try to contact childcarseats site and see what answers i got from them..

nicm Mon 22-Feb-10 21:00:36

01268 297593 is the number i have called in the past and have spoken to either vicky or cathy. both are very good.

or you can call simon on 028 9074 2052. he is at the in car safey centre and really knows his stuff too. they sell the twe seats too, so if you can't use your old seats here then he will be the person to ask about the seats and if they will do you a deal for buying two! wink

emali Mon 22-Feb-10 22:36:57

thanks, nicm,will try tomorrow.

Lotster Mon 22-Feb-10 22:49:04

I had Maxi Cosi all the way through, first the Cabrio for baby and then the Priori's - they reclined more than the others on display and with long car journeys I found this important so the kids could sleep.

Very pleased with them.

Dubbs Tue 23-Feb-10 12:03:45

Trying to decide what's best to do. My dd has been in a maxi-cosi priori for the since she was 12 months, but now appears to be outgrowing it. My son is 10 months, so we could put him in the maxi-cosi seats and buy her the next ones up. However the web site suggests she should be 3.5yrs as they use the car seat belts.

Anyone any views or suggestions?

nicm Tue 23-Feb-10 14:46:48

dubbs i wouldn't put the 10 month old ff yet. it's best to keep him in the carrier as long as possible.

what age/weight is your dd? staying in a 5 point harness is safer too for as long as they are withing the weight. ie.up to 18kgs in a priori.

emali Wed 24-Feb-10 21:02:39

i called and left a message and today Cathy called me back. She confirmed that for all residents the car seats should conform to the EU standard, which means USA/Canada car seats are not legal to use here for long term. for traveller or initial periods when migrants first move here, it's ok to use the non-EU seats.
thanks for all for the great input. and i will keep her number, thanks again ncim.

Tangle Thu 25-Feb-10 12:09:52

I'm glad you found the number and tracked Cathy down - even if the answer does leave you back at square one. Good luck with the seat shopping

emali Thu 25-Feb-10 21:23:11

Thanks, Tangle, it's good to find out for sure. yes, first need to buy a car and get the courage to drive it

Tangle Fri 26-Feb-10 20:54:47


Just a random thing DH and I found out recently when looking at "family" cars - an awful lot of them have underfloor storage. If you want to use a car seat with a support leg (which a fair few RF Grp1 seats have), then you need to make sure the leg either misses the storage cover entirely, fits firmly on the base of the storage compartment with the cover removed or use an infill block (only available for a small number of cars). Scarily, one car salesman told us that "if the seat is isofix you don't need to use the support leg", which is apparently true for one particular car seat but is totally incorrect (and potentially dangerous) for the vast majority of them.
Sorry, I'm not trying to complicate things for you even more - promise. We were just amazed how many cars on our initial list were knocked out of contention by this issue.

emali Thu 04-Mar-10 02:26:14

Thanks, Tangle! all great information. i never know there is underfloor storage nor car seat with a support leg, will check them out!
speaking of car shopping, how do you find out the history of a used car here? or simply you can't? as there are so many different insurance companies? coming from vancouver where there is only 1 insurance company you can get the detailed claim history of a car, which i think is very important for safety reasons.

Tangle Thu 04-Mar-10 21:03:19

It depends how much history you want - the AA and RAC both offer car data checks and/or vehicle inspections and are both pretty reputable. There are other online companies offering data checks but I don't know anything about them (google turned this up - a fraction of the price but I've never heard of them before). They'll check whether a vehicle has been written off, tell you number of owners, etc, but I can't see anywhere that will give you a full report on all insurance claims.

IIRC, Ford and VW were the two makes that do fillers while Citroen, Renault, Peugeot and Toyota were unaware of it as a problem when we talked to them - although its not an insurmountable problem as there are options on most types of car seats that don't require a support leg (do Canadian seats use tether straps more? - they're only just coming into play in the UK...) But if you do set your heart on one with a support let it would be worth checking...

(as a complete aside we visited friends on Vancouver Island last summer - its a beautiful part of the world )

emali Fri 05-Mar-10 22:05:29

Thanks so much for your reply, Tangle. Yes, our old Britax uses tether strap, this is what you mean by support leg? i actually never really put it in or out of the car, but DH said it's really easy to do, apparently much easier than the baby seat.
i think as long as there is no major accidents or haven't been changed owners too often, probably would be ok.. as i don't plan to stay here for the long term, we didnt budget too much for the car.
summer in vancouver/vancouver island is beautiful, did you go to vancouver at all? the ferry ride is very nice and i will miss it for sure.. we visited the island just before we came over. but am looking forward to summer here as well, hopefully can go viist a few places once we get a car

Tangle Fri 05-Mar-10 22:42:51

Err... I've never actually met a tether strap in person, but my understanding is that they go over the rear of the rear seat and attach to the car so that the child's car seat cannot rotate forward in a crash. A support leg does the same job but by pushing the bottom of the seat up (rather than pulling the back) - there's an example here from Britax (they call it a foot prop...). I think you're unlikely to get a 2nd hand car in the UK with tether points, but then you're also unlikely to find a child seat to buy that requires them...

We didn't get a chance to see Vancouver, other than the drive from airport to ferry and back. And I'm figuring that's not really representative of the city. The airport was very attractive, though - although most are when compared to LHR and LGW blush. We did enjoy the ferry ride, although we didn't manage to spot any whales (I've never seen any wild whales or dolphins so I think I might have to persuade DH a whale spotting trip is necessary if we go back ). I hope you do get a chance to get out and about in the UK - hopefully we'll have a decent summer to make up for this winter!

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