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I am going to buy a child seat for the first time. Where can I do this and what must I take into consideration?

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?

02/09/2016

Are you a first-time mum? Are you about to buy a child restraint system for the first time? The truth is that deciding on a child seat can be a little challenging if you don't know exactly what to look for... The "Children's Road Safety" section of the Accident Prevention and Road Safety department of Fundación Mapfre offers some guidelines to help you choose a safe and efficient child restraint system (CRS).

GET INFORMATION IN ADVANCE

Identify which type of child restraint system is most suitable for your child. Make a note of their height and weight.

There are currently two official standards on the market: the ECE R44, which classifies child seats in to groups and will gradually be superseded by the new standard. For this reason, we recommend you opt directly for a child seat with i-Size certification, which are much safer and let you choose a CRS according to your child's height.

  • Once you know what sort of CRS you want, you need to look at what kind of car you have with an emphasis on its anchoring systems. Note the car model and year of manufacture for when you go to a specialist store. Check in person whether it has Isofix fittings in the back seats. These are two anchoring points. You can find out more about them here. If your car does not have them, the child seat will need to be affixed to the seat belt fittings.

We recommend you read the article entitled "Here are the different anchorages and fasteners you will find in child restraint systems".

Also, the technical specifications of the vehicle will show whether the car has been designed for i-Size child seats. If it is, the back seats are generally wider and the floor of the vehicle is designed to accommodate the support leg of a child seat. This standard went into effect in 2013 so we are talking about relatively new cars.

VISIT A SPECIALIST STORE

  • There is nothing better than a visit to a specialist store to answer any queries you may have. Take everything you've noted down previously with you to ensure you have all the information to hand.

If you've followed the previous steps, you will be visiting the store with a certain amount of knowledge already under your belt which will help you to choose between one seat and another.

  • Ask the salesperson to let you try out the CRS in your car. This is the best way of checking that it is indeed compatible and adapts perfectly to your child and the vehicle. If this is not an option, check whether it is possible to return the product. This is a very important point, as you might be convinced you have made the right choice initially only to find, in practice, that it doesn't support your child properly or he/she is uncomfortable.
  • Ask the salespeople to show you how to install the CRS. Bear in mind that if it is child seat with Isofix (the vehicle needs to be equipped with this system), then installing it will be easier. Request assistance when installing it, even if it's just for the first time.

Remember that you can refer to our ‘Ask the Expert’ section with any queries you might have. You will also find material (diagrams and videos) with information on the correct installation of child seat or how to travel with children on different forms of transport.

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