One of the most frequently asked questions is: "At what time should my child change to the next largest seat?" – A legitimate and extremely important question! The different norms with a focus on weight, height or age can be very confusing. That is why we have put together an overview of when the earliest and latest times are to switch to the child seat.
In order to ensure that your child’s car seat always fits your child and can protect it as intended, the decision when to switch to the child seat at the right time is a particularly important one.
At BeSafe we divide child car seats into three different levels:
1) infant carriers
2) Infant seats
3) booster seats
BeSafe Group 1 – baby car seats
Your child will use a baby seat from birth to around 12 months – plus or minus a few months, depending on the weight and size of your child. Baby car seats are always installed facing backwards. They can either be fastened with the car belt or a base station. Both versions offer the same level of security if the baby seat is installed correctly.
When should you switch from the baby seat to the toddler seat at the earliest??
We at BeSafe recommend that you use your baby seat for as long as possible because it offers you more flexibility in everyday life and side impact protection optimized for babies. Sometimes, however, some babies start to feel uncomfortable in the baby seat, even if the seat itself could still be used, so you may be considering changing your child to an infant seat. In these cases, we recommend that you only use a toddler seat when your child can sit independently, since toddler seats are usually more upright than baby seats and offer a little less lateral support.
Depending on which toddler seat you choose, you should of course also make sure that your child has met the minimum requirements for this seat. Depending on the approval of the seat, this can be either a minimum weight or a minimum size.
When should you switch from the baby seat to the toddler seat at the latest??
Step 1: Check the weight / size limit of your baby seat
If you use an ECE R44-04 approved baby seat, it has a maximum weight, which you can find on the approval sticker. This maximum weight must not be exceeded. However, it is not inevitable that you can use the baby seat until the maximum weight is reached – in many cases, the children have outgrown the seat beforehand. See step 2!
If your baby seat is approved according to UN R129, then it has a maximum size, which you can find on the approval sticker. This maximum size must not be exceeded. In most cases, the maximum size also represents the true end of the useful life, but also check step 2!
Step 2: Check the shoulder straps and the distance from the head to the end of the shell
When the highest point on your baby’s head is only about 2 finger widths from the top of the baby seat, you should switch to the next seat. Ideally, however, you should look around for a subsequent seat beforehand. This margin of two finger widths is recommended in order to have a buffer for the upward movement of the child in the event of an accident, which occurs with belts that are not tightened perfectly. We know that, of course, parents always do their best to pull the straps properly – however, in a hurry or if the baby moves a lot, the straps may not be tightened as tightly as recommended.
You should also check the belt course of the shoulder straps and the information in the manual of your baby seat. Most manufacturers state that the shoulder straps are straight on the child’s shoulders and should not come "from below". So if it is the case that your child’s shoulders no longer fit under the straps in the highest belt setting, then it is also time to switch to the next seat.
BeSafe Group 2 – toddler seats
When your child has grown out of its baby seat, it changes to a child car seat. These can be used from approx. 6 months to approx. 4 years, depending on the size and weight of your child and depending on the approval of the child car seat (ECE R 44 or i-Size). According to UN Regulation R129 (i-Size), children up to the age of 15 months must ride backwards. However, we at BeSafe recommend that your child travel backwards at least up to the age of four, if possible even longer. Some seats in this group can be used both forward and backward.
What should be considered when choosing a toddler seat?
What infant seats does BeSafe have in the assortment?
How do BeSafe toddler seats perform in crash tests?
When can you switch from a toddler seat to a booster seat at the earliest??
At BeSafe we recommend that you let your child ride backwards in the toddler seat for as long as possible, but at least up to the age of 4. We therefore recommend that you switch to a fixed-back booster at the earliest if all three of these conditions are met:
Your child should be at least 4 years old. This is (le >no longer be used at the latest?
Step 1: Check the weight / size limit of your seat
If your toddler seat is approved according to UN R129, you are no longer allowed to use it according to the approval if the maximum size of the seat has been reached. In addition, UN R129 seats installed with ISOfix have a weight limit that must not be exceeded either – you will find both details on the approval sticker and / or in the manual. As soon as one of the two upper limits is reached, it is necessary to switch to the next seat.
If your toddler seat is approved according to ECE R44-04, the seat has a maximum weight, which you can find on the approval sticker. If your child has reached the maximum weight, you have to switch to the next seat. However, it is not inevitable that You the Being able to use the seat until the maximum weight is reached – in many cases, the children have outgrown the seat beforehand. See step 2!
Step 2: Check the shoulder straps and the distance from your ears too end of headrest
When the top of the ears has reached the top of the headrest in the highest setting, it is high time to switch to the next seat.
You should also check the belt course of the shoulder straps and the information in the manual of your seat. Most manufacturers state that the shoulder straps lie straight on the child’s shoulders and should not come "from below". So if it is the case that the belts come “from below” in the highest belt setting, then it is also time to switch to the next seat.
Group 3 – child seats / booster seats
Your child will use this seat the longest. Car seats with backrests offer additional protection in the event of a side impact over the entire service life compared to pure booster seats. We recommend that you use a seat with a fixed backrest for as long as possible, even if your child no longer has to sit in one seat according to legal regulations.
What should be considered when choosing a booster seat??
BeSafe offers which booster seats with a fixed backrest?
When can you stop using a booster seat??
Step 1: Check the weight / size limit of your seat
If your seat is approved according to ECE R44-04, it can no longer be used as soon as the approved maximum weight is reached. You can find this on the approval sticker of the seat.
If your seat is approved in accordance with UN R129, it may no longer be used as soon as the approved maximum size of the seat has been reached. You can find this on the approval sticker of the seat.
Step 2: Observe the national legal regulations
In addition to the Europe-wide regulations for child car seats, each country also has its own laws that state when a child can only travel in the car without a child seat. In Germany, this limit is 150 cm or 12 years, whichever is reached first. In Austria the end of the child seat requirement is 135 cm or 14 years, whichever is reached first.
Step 3: Check how your child sits in the car without a child seat
Even if your child is allowed to drive without a child seat in accordance with the statutory provisions, we recommend that you additionally carry out the "5-point check" to check whether your child could actually be sitting safely in the car without a child seat. If one of these 5 points is not fulfilled, then it should continue to sit in a child car seat.
- Can the child sit with his back flat on the back of the vehicle seat?
- If the child’s knees reach far enough about the Seat so that it can bend the knees?
- The lap belt runs over the pelvic bones instead of over the child’s abdomen?
- Is the shoulder strap properly on the child’s shoulder so that it neither fits snugly around the neck or cuts nor slips off the shoulder?
- Understands and manages the child to sit properly on the vehicle seat without leaning out of the belt or bagging?
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