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Choosing a Child Car Seat

Safety, price and usability will all have some bearing on the choice you make when buying a child restraint.

Safety

Is the seat suitable for your child and compatible with your car?

Price

Aim to buy the best seat you can afford taking account of independent test results and reviews where available.

Usability

Are the instructions clear, can you fit and adjust the seat easily, is your child comfortable in the seat and can the covers be removed/refitted easily after cleaning?Weight CategoriesRestraints are tested and approved by weight rather than by size or age. But all seats will come with some indication of the likely age range covered.

Child restraints belong to one or more of the following size/weight categories:

  • Infant carrier (Group 0 and 0+) – up to 10kg (birth to 6-9 months) or up to 13kg (birth to 12-15 months)
  • Child seats (Group 1) – 9 to 18kg (approx. 9 months to 4 years)
  • Booster seats (Group 2 and 3) – 15-25kg (approx. 4-6 years)
  • Booster cushions (Group 3) – 22-36kg (approx. 6-11 years) Points to remember

Points to remember

  • Check your child's weight in kilograms
  • Find out your child's weight before you shop for a restraint.
  • Check the child seat manufacturer's instructions carefully.  It's important to ensure that the seat is suitable for your child and compatible with your car.
  • Weigh your child regularly as she or he grows.  This way you can tell when you should buy the next seat. In practice, the child will probably grow too big for the seat before exceeding its weight limit.
  • Don't be too eager to move children up into the next, larger restraint generally, a big child in a small restraint will be safer than a small child in a large restraint.
  • Don't rely on the upper age limit printed on the packaging.  Some children may outgrow a seat faster than you think.

AA Ireland Limited trading as AA Insurance is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.