Carseats are essential for the safety of your child or children!!! Having said that not everyone can afford the most expensive or sophisticated carseat on the market that complies with every international standard….so we have decided to share a few tips when choosing your carseat along with a brief explanation of the stages you need to go through.
Group 0+ carseats are suitable from birth until 13 kgs. Usually the Group 0 carseat can attach onto your pram if they are compatible. This configuration is usually referred to as a travel sytem. The group 0 carseats are always used rear-facing ie baby faces the back windscreen
Group 1 carseats are generally from 9kg upto 18kgs. These carseats are available in both rear- & forward facing options. It is found to be safer to have your child rear-facing for as far as 4 years of age. However there are conflicting views coming out of various countries. In the EU the recommendation for rear-facing is upto 4 years & in the US 2 years. If possible we recommend extended rear facing for as long as possible.
Group 2 carseats vary from 15kg upto 36 kgs – approximately 12 years old. These are almost always forward facing. By law South African children need only be in a carseat until they are 3 years old. With our motor vehicle accident statistics we recommend keeping your child in a carseat for as long as possible.
Group 3 carseats vary from 22kgs – 36 kgs and are also used forward facing.
Many child seats cover more than one group and are adjusted as the child grows. They may be called combination seats, extended seats or multi-group seats.
- Group 0+ and 1 seats start off rearward-facing until the baby is at least 13 kg and are then turned forward-facing – some stay rearward facing until the child has reached 18 kg.
- Group 0+, 1 and 2 seats start rearward-facing up to 18kg and are then turned forward-facing
- Group 1, 2 and 3 seats are forward-facing. The child uses the seat’s integral harness, or an impact cushion, until they are 15 kg and then uses the car’s seat belt, which secures the child and the seat.
- Group 2 and 3 seats are high-backed booster seats, although they can also be booster cushions without a back. On some of the high-backed seats, the back can be removed once the child reaches 22 kg, but it is far better to keep the back on the seat.
It is very important to ensure that your child travels in an appropriate child restraint, which:
- Conforms to the United Nations standard, ECE Regulation 44.04 (or R 44.03) or to the new i-size regulation, R129. Look for the ‘E’ mark label on the seat.
- Is suitable for your child’s weight and size
- Is correctly fitted according to the manufacturer’s instructions
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