Buying a car seat for your newborn can seem confusing. What exactly does Isofix mean anyway, and why can’t manufacturers just say the rough age your baby can use their first car seat instead of just weight…? The list of questions could probably go on.
We’ve tried to demystify some of the complexities for you, and show you some of our favourite car seats on the market.
What are Isofix car seats?
Isofix was designed to make car seats more secure by using anchor points in your car to secure the base that the car seat is put on, rather than depending on the car’s seat belts, which can become twisted, and which can sometimes not be put correctly around the car seat itself.
This extra security is a great idea, but you’ll need to check that your car has the Isofix fittings in it before buying this type of car seat – and it’s not just old bangers that don’t have them, so if you’re splashing out on a new car you’ll have to request that the car is made Isofix compatible.
Find out more about Isofix
Our favourite car seats
Mamas and Papas (www.mamasandpapas.co.uk) Cybex car seat – EDITOR’S FAVOURITE
Why we love it: This has got to be one of, if not ‘the’, lightest car seats on the market, weighing in at just 3.5kg. You can literally lift it with a couple of fingers when it’s empty, which means it’s very comfortable to hold when transporting a baby in. It also works as a travel system when used with select pushchairs from the Mamas and Papas range (visit the site for more details, http://www.mamasandpapas.co.uk/product-aton-chilli/119316700/type-i/).
The design is futuristic, which is a welcome change from the traditional-style car seats.
Britax (www.britax.co.uk) Baby-Safe Plus
Why we love it
Although a slightly heavy, we love the obvious though that has gone into making the child as secure as possible when travelling on the road. Not only is it Isofix-compatible, but when you’re buying a Britax car seat, you can actually go on a dedicated site to check that it is compatible with your car using Britax’s Fit-Finder service (http://www.britax.co.uk/car-seats/fit-finder/). Now that’s peace of mind for you.
We love the fact that by pressing one button, you can remove the entire car seat, avoiding all the bending and fiddling you can get with some car seats.
Silver Cross (www.silvercross.co.uk) Ventura Plus
Why we love it
This car seat can be used on its own, or as part of a travel system. Used on its own, it is very easy to fix. A lot of thought has obviously gone into the child’s comfort here, as not only do you get a snug insert for newborns that actually works, but the car seat comes with its own apron – so no panics when you forget the blanket then!
Mamas and Papas (www.mamasandpapas.co.uk) Primo Viaggio IP
Why we love it: This Isofix compatible car seat looks more traditional than the Cybex, but again Mamas and Papas has made sure it still stands out from the crowd with it fun and funky colourful design. What we especially love is the deep side support for the child’s head – which is a welcome change from some of the flimbsy head inserts you can get with some car seats.
An added bonus is the Isofix compatability, and the fact that you can still get a base to fix the car seat on if your car does not have the necessary Isofix fittings.
Sunshine Kids (www.skjp.com) Monterey booster seat
Why we love it
A lot of thought has obviously gone into this booster seat – from the colours it’s available in (four to be precise), to the Isofix fittings, which parents who will have been used to giving their child’s car seats that extra security may be grateful for when their child progresses to the booster seat. We especially like the fact that you can adjust the weight and the height of the seat – the assumption by some manufacturers that all kids have the same waistline can be an inconvenience when your child needs a booster seat like this but can’t fit in it!
Chicco (www.chicco.com) Proxima
Why we love it
One of the frustrating things about child car seats is having to hange them so frequently with your child’s age – and that’s what we love most about this Chicco car seat, the fact that it can grow with your child from birth to about three years of age, even having the capability to let new babies lie flat in it! This does mean that the car seat is not compatible with a pushchair, but that wouldn’t deter us because of the positives.