Car safety seats for children - hints and tips

Here is some general information about how to use car child seats correctly and safely.


When travelling in a car, children should wear a suitable restraint for their size and age.

In an accident an unrestrained child in the back seat of a car can catapult between the driver and front seat passenger, and be thrown through the windscreen. They could also injure other passengers.

Never use a rear-facing child seat in the front passenger seat if your car has a passenger airbag.

Always use the restraints and, as your child grows older, make sure that the first thing they do when they get in the car is to put on their restraint.

If the car is involved in an accident, replace the seat immediately.

Buying a car seat

Child restraints are expensive and you should choose with care. Never rush into a decision about buying the seat.

Never buy a second hand car seat:

  • the seat could have been involved in a accident
  • important safety components may be missing
  • the seat may not fit correctly in your car
  • the manufacturers fitting instructions may be missing.

Fitting the car seat

Make sure you fit the seat correctly, wrongly fitted car seats are of little use in an accident.

Try to buy your seat from a supplier who will fit it correctly.

Ideally try the seat in you car before you buy or ensure that the seat can be returned if it does not fit correctly.

Remember to adjust the straps of the seat every time you put your child in the car. Summer clothing is much thinner than a thick winter coat.

Always use the crotch strap as a child may 'submarine' on impact, without the crotch strap fastened they may be hanged on the cross straps.

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