Would you like to give someone a child restraint system this Christmas, but don't know where to begin? Before buying a child seat for the car, it's very important to get all the information and bear in mind a series of factors, as not all child seats are suitable and not every CRS meets the requirements or conditions of each specific case.
There is absolutely no question that safety is the very best gift of all. If there's a baby on the way or you know that the seat already being used needs replacing, giving a child restraint system is more than just a simple gift. However, there are a series of factors that you should bear in mind, which are listed below:
- Get accurate information on the height, weight and age of the child so you know which group they fall into or which seat will be most suitable for them. Naturally the best option is a CRS that covers a broad spectrum. This means it can be used for as long as possible. The pointers for calculating the group are given below.
If you go for an i-Size child seat, you need to consider the height (size) of the child. Here you will find all the information about the i-Size standard. We also recommend you read our article "Does the i-Size standard divide child seats into categories?"
- You need to establish whether the car has an Isofix anchoring system or if the seat will have to be secured using the seat belts. Shown below are the different anchors and fastening points found in child restraint systems.
- It is always safer for the child to be rear-facing. Indeed, Fundación MAPFRE always recommends that children face backwards until at least the age of four and for as long as possible afterwards, provided that their physical conditions (height and weight) allow this and they can be properly secured by the seat belt. This is why it's a good choice to give someone this kind of child seat. In our infographic you'll find all the reasons why children should use rear-facing seats.
- In the case of seats for babies, remember that it's very important that they are protected from the very first moment they leave the maternity ward. Here you'll find all the information about traveling with new-born babies. We also recommend you read the infographic "Rear-facing child seats for babies - how to choose the right one" and "Premature or low-weight babies - how should they travel in cars?"
- Don't forget that the child seat must have official certification. The standards currently valid in Spain are the ECE R44/4 and the ECE R129. Here you'll find all the information you need on labeling.
- Choose a CRS that has achieved good results in safety tests carried out by international bodies or one which has the Plus Test mark.
- When choosing a child seat, it's best not to go for a second-hand one, as you don't know how it has been used, whether it has been involved in an accident, whether it has any internal defects, etc. You should also bear in mind that the average CRS has a useful life of approximately six years. We recommend you read the article "Can I use a second-hand Child Restraint System?" If you do decide to buy a second-hand seat, make sure it is thoroughly checked for defects.
- Whatever the case, the best option is to go to a specialist store where you can get expert advice and they will offer a series of models to suit different requirements. We recommend you read the article: "I'm going to buy a child seat for the first time: where can I get one and what do I need to bear in mind?"
Finally, if you have any doubts, we suggest you read the guide "Keeping babies and children safe in cars. Child seats for vehicles" (Spanish).