How do I choose a Car Seat? Understanding the Jargon | Mum in the Mad House

Choosing a car seat for your child can be a hard and confusing thing, especially with all the variables. There are so many different car seats on the market, add that to all the different cars around (you may want one car seat that fits into more than one car) and then there is the child weight to factor in, never mind the cost and safety aspects. I know that all I wanted was to protect my precious baby, so how do you cut through the jargon and choose a car seat that works best for you and your family?

The law requires all children travelling in the front or rear seat of any car, van or goods vehicle must use the correct child car seat until they are either 135 cm in height or 12 years old (whichever they reach first).

Car seat technology has improved so much over recent years, so it helps to keep up to date on developments. Did you know that Maxi-Cosi has introduced a car seat with built-in airbags called AxissFix Air? This innovative car seat can be both rear-facing seat and forward-facing seat, therefore, it suits children aged between 4 months and 4 years, 61–105 cm tall, and with a weight up to 19 kg.

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The AxissFix Air has airbags that inflate at shoulder height using cold gas to reduce the risk of inflicting burns and they start deflating in a second after the activation. Overall, due to using this technology, the chance of head and neck injuries of a child is reduced by as much as 55%.

Children and babies are not just tiny adults, they are growing and developing and it is key that their neck and head get greater support and this is where car seats come in as they protect your child’s fragile neck.

Rear-facing baby seats reduce the risk of death or injury in a crash by 90 per cent compared with being unrestrained according to data from

The AxissFix Air offers optimal head, neck and body protection while enabling up to 87 cm (approx. 2 years) of rear-facing travel before switching to forward-facing to 105cm (Approx age 4).

Tips for buying a baby car seat

  • Do not buy a car seat second-hand – you don’t know if it has been in an accident.
  • Only accept a preloved car seat from friends or family if you know the history including its age and have the instructions. Plus check with the manufacturer that it fits in your car or cars (if you have more than one).
  • Check whether your car has Isofix connectors built into it – these can be hidden, so check where they are in the car’s manual.
  • Check that the seat you are buying meets ECE R44.04 (or R44.03) or the new i-size standard (R129). Look for the E mark.
  • If your car has an active front passenger airbag, you must not use a rearward-facing seat in the front. So make sure, the seat will fit in the rear of your car or that you can turn off the airbags.
  • Is the car seat easy to fit? Check out the video instructions and online reviews.

What does i-Size mean?

  • i-Size is an European safety standard for baby and child car seats.
  • i-size seats are based on the child’s height rather than weight.
  • i-size rearward-facing restraints are for babies up to 15 months old.
  • i-size child car seats fit in cars that have Isofix fitting points.

How Do I know what Car Seat Fits my Car?

Firstly a lot of car seat companies have a link you can click on that will take you to an online guide showing which cars their seats will fit in. You can also try before you buy as many retailers will demonstrate car seat installation into your car to ensure you purchase the right car seat.

Which Car Seat for Each Age?

TypeHeight of ChildApprox. age of child
Baby40-87cmBirth up to 18 months
Baby to Toddler 40-105cmBirth up to 4 years
Baby to Child40-150cmBirth to 12 years
Toddler to Child76-150cm15 months up to 12 years
Child100-150cm4 up to 12 years
The above is the i-size height measurements if you’re considering an i-size car seat. Some car seat manufacturers and retailers choose to name seats differently and the height limits for different seats can also vary between brands. The most important factor to consider is always your child’s height.

We hope this helps you in choosing the best car seat for your family.

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