When you're preparing for the arrival of your baby, the question is the choice of car seat baby is not long in coming, and with good reason: it's vital. Compulsory as soon as you leave the maternity hospitalChoosing a baby car seat isn't easy. The most important thing to consider when buying a car seat is, first and foremost your child's weight and age. For the protection systems in each car seat to be as effective as possible, they must be perfectly adapted to the child's needs. adapt to your baby's morphology at every stage of its growth. The use of a car seat considerably reduces risk of serious injury in the event of an accident. This is our buying guide to help you find the best baby car seat.
The Different Baby Car Seat Groups
What is the purpose of car seat certification?
French, and above all European, regulations ensure that a car seat guarantees a sufficient level of protection to the child in the event of an accident. In France, a child under the age of 10 must be maintained by an approved restraint system specific to age, weight and body shape. Certification is compulsory for all car seats sold in the European Union. It is indicated a specific orange label on each car seatThis site contains all the essential information on the two regulations currently in force in Europe: R129 (i-Size) and ECE R44.
Two European regulations currently apply jointly to baby car seats :
- The R129 (i-Size) regulationwhich classifies car seats according to the child's size and,
- ECE R44/04 regulationswhich defines groups of seats according to the child's weight.
The different European R129 regulations (i-Size) and R44
R129 Regulations (i-Size) classification of baby car seats according to the size of the child
The R129 or i-Size regulation is a new European standard that has come into force 9th July 2013. It aims to further strengthen safety requirements children in the car. The aim of these new European regulations is to generalise the use of of the ISOFIXextend the compulsory period rear-facing installation for children up to the age of 15 months and provide better protection in the event of a collision frontal or lateral. La i-Size regulation also modifies classification criteria for car seats which will now be based on the size of the child rather than its weight.
ECE R44 Regulations: classification of baby car seats according to the child's weight
The ECE R44/04 regulation classifies car seats in five groupsaccording to the child's weight they can accommodate :
- Group 0 (from birth to 10 kg)
- Group 0+ (from birth to 13 kg)
- Group 1 (from 9 to 18 kg)
- Group 2 (from 15 to 25 kg)
- Group 3 (from 22 to 36 kg)
Many car seats say "evolving can also cover several weight ranges in order to adapt to its evolution:
- Group 0+/1 (from birth to 18 kg)
- Group 1/2/3 (from 9 to 36 kg)
- Group 2/3 (from 15 to 36 kg)
The main differences between the R44/04 and R129 (i-Size) regulations
|By weight of the child
|By size of the child
|Back to the road
|Up to 9kg
|Up to 15 months
|Collision front (50 km/h)
Impact rear (30 km/h)
No side impact
Use of older generation mannequins (P-Dummies)
|Collision front (50 km/h)
Impact rear (30 km/h)
Shock lateral (24 km/h)
Use of new-generation mannequins (Q-Dummies)
|Belt or ISOFIX
|Date of implementation
|Gradual disappearance from 2021
|In force since July 2013
Must You Choose an i-Size Car Seat?
Although i-Size approved car seats bring a higher level of safety than R44/04-approved models, the regulations do not require that consumers the purchase or replacement of their current car seat by an i-Size approved model. As the two sets of legislation will coexist for several years to come, parents can continue to choose an approved baby car seat. i-Size (R129) or a model R44/04 approved.
How to choose the right baby car seat?
To find the best car seat for your children, several criteria must be taken into account for guide you in your choice.
Children's weight and height
It is the first criterion to take into account when making your choice. Above all, a baby car seat must be perfectly adapted to your child's morphology to be fully effective. Depending on the height and weight of each childWhen it comes to baby car seats, manufacturers offer different models designed to meet the needs of children at different stages of their development. When choosing a car seat approved under the R129 regulation (i-Size)you'll have to rely on the size of your child to determine which type of car seat is right for him or her. Conversely, when choosing a model approved under the regulation R44/04is its weight which will determine the appropriate group.
Car Seat Crash Test Results
Child safety by car is, in our view the most important criterion when choosing a baby car seat. Despite european approvalsNot all car seats are created equal. Before deciding on one seat rather than another, it is essential to consult the crash-test results for car seats carried out each year. Carried out by internationally renowned organisations (ADAC, TCS, ÖAMTC, Stiftung Warentest or Que-Choisir)These crash tests aim to assess safety of each car seat. The different models are tested during of head-on and side-on collisionswith mannequins of different sizes and in all possible configurations. The tests also take into account ease of use, ergonomics and comfort as well as the content of harmful substances. By assessing the various parameters, we can establish an overall score. Each year, the crash test results are published directly on the websites of the various European bodies that carry out these tests.
- ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club) is the federation of automobile clubs in Germany. It is the largest in Europe, and the second largest in the world after the American Automobile Association.
- The TCS (Touring Club Switzerland) is an automobile association with 1.5 million members, which publishes crash tests in French.
- VTI (Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute) is an independent Swedish organisation that has introduced the More TestAn even stricter test, which only includes the best rear-facing car seats.
The comfort of a baby car seat
There's no doubt about it, whether you're going on holiday, to school or to visit your grandparents, your child will spend many hours in his car seat without being able to get out, so you may as well make it as pleasant as possible for him, but also for you. So that baby is comfortable and make the most of their car journeys, some car seats can adopt several tilt positionsThese seats can be adjusted to suit whether the child is asleep or awake, to prevent their head from tilting forward. These seats are more comfortable for children, and ideal for parents who do a lot of driving. Pay attention to other small details too, such as the headrest adjustmentthe seat padding or the presence of a reducer for newborns which allows very small babies to be placed in a comfortable position by supporting their head, neck and back. Finally, between crumbs and stains of all kinds, it is also highly recommended to opt for a fully removable covers so that it can be cleaned regularly.
Your Car Model
Whether you opt for a car seat that can be installed using the safety belt or ISOFIX anchorage points, take the time to check the compatibility of the baby car seat with your car model. In fact, only compulsory on new vehicles since 2011not all car models are equipped with the system ISOFIX attachment. Also watch out for car models with floor boxes the rear, which could prevent the correct installation of the load strut. You can find the list (not exhaustive) compatible cars with the different car seat models directly on the manufacturer's website.
- The Fit Finder from Britax Römer
- The Fit Guide to Joy
- Bébé Confort
- At CybexCompatibility is indicated on the page for each model.
Although safety is priceless, not everyone can afford to buy a baby car seat at over 500 euros. Fortunately, there are a number of quality models available that meet the most demanding requirements. safety and comfort requirementsat reasonable prices, especially when you consider that, from from birth to age 10a child will need two or three different seats. However, you should be aware that, depending on the brand and options (accessories, fastening systems and safety features), prices can quickly climb. For each type of car seat, prices range from 50 to 250 euros for a baby cosy for newborns, from 250 to 600 euros for a car seat up to the age of 4 or 120 to 250 euros for booster seats. There are also some excellent models of cheap car seats.
The main features of baby car seats
The position of the car seat: facing or facing away from the road?
A baby's head is heavy and the muscles in the back of her neck are not strong enough to hold her in the event of an accident. The rear-facing position (or rear facing) is the mode of transport that must be privileged for as long as possible. The various crash tests carried out by independent bodies show that the pressure exerted on a child's cervical region during a collision is five times less when the car seat is installed with its back to the road. Making your children travel in this position is therefore five times safer!
For a R129 (i-Size) approved car seatlegislation requires the child to remain back to the road until the age of 15 months minimum and up to 9 kg in the case of a ECE R44/04 approved seat. However, it is strongly We recommend that you keep your back to the road as long as possible. Today, many baby car seats allow you to keep your child in rear-facing position up to the age of 4 (approx. 105 cm).
REAR-FACING CAR SEAT
Fastening systems for baby car seats
This is a fundamental question, because a car seat only really protects the child if it is correctly attached to the car. Two fixing systems toinstalling a car seat in the car :
The Safety Belt
This is the traditional solution for installing a baby car seat to the vehicle bench. This universal fixing system has the huge advantage of being compatible with all cars fitted with seatbelts. It also makes it possible to install the baby cosy on the front passenger seat, which has no ISOFIX attachment. On the other hand, the main drawback of the safety belt is that it increases the risk of poor installation which can lead to serious injury in the event of an accident. Car seats using this attachment system are generally less expensive than their equivalents equipped with an ISOFIX attachment system, which often require an additional attachment base.
The ISOFIX® Fixing System
Imposed by the entry into force of European regulation R129 (i-Size)The ISOFIX attachment system has been compulsory for all cars leaving the factory in France since 2011. Unlike the safety belt, ISOFIX® fixing system considerably reduces the risk of incorrect installation. This fixing system semi-universalThis takes the form of two metal rings located between the backrest and the seat of the rear bench. The car seat is fitted with two metal clips, which are clipped directly to the two anchor points on the bench seat. Installing a baby car seat is much quicker and easier than using a seatbelt.
The ISOFIX proposes by default two anchor points plus a third anchorage point. The ISOFIX attachments are then combined with an additional restraint system, the top tether or the load strutwhich adds an extra point of stability in the event of a collision to prevent the seat from tipping forward (anti-rotation device).
- The strut is a height-adjustable support leg that rests on the floor of the car to stabilise the seat. It can be used, for example, to transfer part of the impact to the ground in the event of an accident. Please note struts are not compatible with cars that have floor storage compartments in the rear seats.
- Top tether is an alternative to the strut. It is a retaining strap which attaches to a hook located in the boot of the vehicle. Depending on the car, the hook may be located on the rear parcel shelf, on the back of the bench seat or on the boot floor. Unlike the strut, which holds the seat in place from below, the top tether holds it in place from above. This system can be found on rear-facing car seats than facing the road.
For the rear-facing baby car seatsThere are two other possible attachment systems, both of which are designed to prevent the seat from tipping forward in the event of an accident.
- The anti-kickback bar takes the form of a protective metal hoop that fits snugly against the seat back on which it is installed. Mainly available on car seats positioned dos à la routThis prevents the seat from tilting in the event of a collision.
- Tether straps are an alternative solution to top tether and anti-rebound bar for rear-facing car seats (rear-facing). These straps are generally attached to the front seat of the vehicle when the seat is installed on the rear bench. They can be found on Plus Test certified car seats and can only be used rear-facing, such as the Britax Max Way Plus or the Axkid Minikid.
The Restraint System: Harness or Shield?
Today there are two main restraint systems for children: the 5-point harness and the impact shield.
- The impact shield takes the form of a cushion, made from materials with an excellent energy absorption capacity, positioned on the child's chest. It offers excellent protection in the event of an impact, and helps to reduce forces in the event of a collision, with the child's body wrapped around the shield. Although it is approved for use facing the road from 9 kg, it is recommended not to anticipate its use too much and to prefer the back to the road as long as possible. When switching to the shield, make sure that the child is neither too small nor too tall to avoid the shield being incorrectly positioned. There are a number of models with a shield in the Cybex car seats.
- 5-point harness is designed to hold the child firmly in the seat by the rigid parts of the body around the crotch, shoulders and pelvis. To avoid any risk of incorrect installationThe harness must be sufficiently tight and not twisted to protect the child effectively. Unlike a shield, a harness is suitable for from birth. Its height can be easily adjusted to suit all body sizes and to keep pace with the latest trends. baby's growth. The harness is the restraint system used on the majority of rear-facing car seatsWe recommend its use, which is found in the majority of Britax Römer car seats or Bébé Confort.
The different types of baby car seats
A carrycot, a baby cosy, a car seat or a booster seat - there are plenty of choices when it comes to baby equipment. baby car seat. Each type of seat is designed for a particular stage in a child's development. Ideally, a child will need three car seats to keep pace with changes in body shape and provide effective protection. Here's a quick overview of the different types of seat to help you understand their specific features.
Baby Car Seats (from birth to around 12 months)
Le carrycot bed and/or the baby cosy will be the first baby car seats which you'll certainly be using as soon as you leave the maternity ward. Although they can be used from birth and during baby's first months, each of these solutions has its own specific features.
La Nacelle (from birth to around 6 months)
The baby carrier is a kind of bassinet that allows baby to travel comfortably in the car from birth to around 6 months(up to approx. 70 cm or max. 10 kg). By car, the carrycot is very cumbersome as it sits parallel to the rear bench of the vehicle, taking up 2 seats. It's a real extra bed which allows baby to be carried in a lying position without waking him up, either in the car or in a pushchair. The majority of carrycots can be attached to pushchair frames to allow baby to be carried around by means of the duo / trio pack or Travel System. Unlike a baby cosyThe nacelle can also be used occasionally as a cot for the first few weeks, or for baby to sleep in at a friend's house or on holiday. However, although they offer undeniable comfort for your baby, carrycots are of very limited use over time. They don't offer sufficient support and safety for long car journeys, as a carrycot can. baby cosy. With the exception of the brand new Bébé Confort Jadethe first i-Size approved carrycot, which has obtained excellent crash-test resultsvery few models guarantee a level of safety equivalent to a cosy.
Le Cosy Bébé (from birth to around 15 months)
Le baby cosyalso known as hullis a genuine car seat adapted for babies from birth to around 12 months (up to approx. 87 cm or max. 13 kg). In contrast to the carrycot, the child is seated in semi-recumbent position. This is why it can never be used as a bed. The baby cosy is designed to keep the child securely fastened using a 3 or 5-point harness. The cosy is always positioned back to the road and can be installed on the rear seats of the vehicle or on the front passenger seat, taking care to deactivate the airbag. The baby cosy is then secured to the seat using the safety belt or an ISOFIX base. As with the carrycot, the cosy can also be attached to a pushchair frame so you can easily carry baby out of the car without waking him up. Finally, the baby cosy is the mode of transport that ensures maximum safety and comfort for your car journeys with baby.
Child Car Seats (from 6 months to 4 years approx.)
Second-age car seats are designed for children from 6 months to 4 years (up to approx. 105 cm or max. 18 kg). These seats are designed for be positioned with their backs to the road and facing the road when the child is old enough. The child is then held in place by a 5-point harness and/or a impact shield. The seat can be fixed to the vehicle with or without a base thanks to with the ISOFIX or to the safety belt.
Booster seats (ages 3 to approx. 12)
Before At the age of 10/12 (from 100 cm to 150 cm or max. 36 kg), your child cannot yet be properly restrained. by the vehicle's seat belt without being exposed to serious injury in the event of an accident. Visit booster seat to raise the child to ensure that the vehicle's 3-point belt is correctly positioned at the height of the child's head. its shoulder and its basin. Since 2017, i-Size approved booster seats (R129)for children taller than 100 cm must be be equipped with a backrest to provide better protection for the child's head and neck in the event of a collision. However, backless booster seats can still be used by children over 125 cm and 22 kg.
Evolving Car Seats
The convertible car seats adapt to your baby's growth. They allow you to keep and use your baby car seat for longer, as they transform to follow your child's growth. This type of car seat is mainly found in groups 0+/1 (from birth to 105 cm or 18 kg), group 1/2/3 (from 75 cm to 150 cm or from 9 to 36 kg), group 2/3 (from 100 cm to 150 cm or from 15 to 36 kg) and now even for the groups 0+/1/2/3 (from birth to 150 cm or 36 kg). Despite their undeniable advantage in terms of cost, they are less well suited to each age group than specific models. It would be preferable, for example, to invest in a baby cosywhich will be much better suited to a baby's morphology for the first few months.
Swivel Car Seats
The best swivel car seats provide greater comfort when putting baby in his car seat, as they can be swivelled. up to 360. It's easy to put baby in the car seat with the seat facing you and then turn it to position him or her in the correct position. back to the road or facing the road as is the case with many versions of the Cybex Sirona. The swivelling car seats are relatively few in number, since they only concern groups 0+/1 (from birth to 18 kg), and the Group 1 (from 9 to 18 kg).
SWIVELLING CAR SEATS
How many car seats do you need?
To ensure maximum safety and comfort to your child, the ideal would be to use at least two or three car seats up to At the age of 10/12. There are many different seat combinations. However, to protect your child as effectively as possible and support him as he grows, we particularly recommend two combinationsAlways make sure you are facing away from the road.
- A baby cosy (Group 0/0+, from birth to 85 cm, i.e. up to around 15 months)
- A child car seat (Group 0+/1 or Group 1, from 60 to 105 cm, i.e. from 6 months to 4 years approx.)
- A booster seat with backrest (Group 2/3, from 100 to 150 cm, i.e. from 3 to 12 years approx.)
- A child car seat (Group 0+/1, from birth to 105 cm, i.e. up to around 4 years)
- A booster seat with backrest (Group 2/3, from 100 to 150 cm, i.e. from 3 to 12 years approx.)
The Essential Points When Choosing a Baby Car Seat
To sum up, here is our advice to help you choose the best baby car seat for your child:
- Le your child's weight and height are the first criteria to be taken into account.
- Find out more about crash test results.
- Choose a comfortable model with reclining and removable seats.
- Check seat compatibility with your car.
- The most expensive seats are not necessarily the best. Read the various tests and opinions carefully to find the model best suited to your situation.
In all cases, the purchase of a car seat is not to be taken lightly. Good information is essential when choosing a seat best suited to the child, à your budget and your car. Whether you choose one model over another, always use the rear-facing position as long as possible. The slightest accident can have serious consequences for your baby, so don't do anything that could harm him or her. no compromise on safety.