Child Seats – Group 1
9 to 18kg (approx 9 months - 4 years)
Seats in this weight range commonly consist of a seat shell attached to a frame. The child is held into the seat by an integral five-point harness and the frame is usually attached to the car by using the adult seatbelts or the ISOFIX system.
Some booster seats, traditionally aimed at groups 2 and 3 only are now supplied with a removable harness so it's possible to buy a single seat covering the range from 9 months or so up to 11 years – look for seats marked 'Group 1,2 and 3'.
Before buying check whether your car is fitted with ISOFIX anchorage points. Besides providing a more secure means of attaching the seat to the car these dedicated attachment points can also make it quicker and easier to fit a child seat correctly.
- Look for a seat that's easy to adjust
You'll be letting-out or tightening the harness every time you add or remove clothes from your child. Simply try to adjust the size on the display sample but bear in mind that it'll be harder with a child in the seat.
- Many child seats have a built-in reclining facility
This might cost more but can be useful, particularly for younger children who may sleep more often.
- Consider ISOFIX but check the vehicle handbook carefully first.
This will ensure that you buy an ISOFIX 'category' and 'size class' compatible with your vehicle.
Fitting the adult belts correctly around the frame and making adjustments so that the installation is tight takes time and effort. Compared to booster seats, this type of seat can be more difficult to transfer between cars.
- Compatibility can be a problem
Despite the fact that seats are generally approved for universal use, few if any can actually be fitted correctly in all seating positions in all cars. Check the manufacturer's application list and ask the retailer to demonstrate correct installation in your car. See our advice on compatibility.
- Incorrect fitting is still a common problem with child seats
This is another good reason why you should ask the retailer to demonstrate how to fit the seat correctly. You should also read the fitting instructions carefully and keep them in a convenient place – preferably with the seat.
Make sure that the adult belt passes through all of the correct belt-guides and that the buckle isn't bent or lying on the seat frame. Some seats offer an 'alternative belt route' to help you avoid contact between the buckle and frame.
- Child seats must be fitted tightly and securely
To ensure you give maximum protection to your child, place the seat in the car and kneel into it to compress the car seat cushion whilst pulling the adult seat belt as tight as possible. You should be able to get it so tight that if you try to rock the child seat from front-to-back the car too will move slightly on its suspension.
Check the seat before every journey and retighten it if necessary.
- Harnesses should lie flat on the child
There should be no twists in the webbing and they should be comfortably tight. Place your hand flat on your child's chest and pull the harness up tight against it for the ideal adjustment.
Useful points to remember if you are thinking of buying second-hand.