Which car seat is right for your baby or child at each stage of development can be confusing. There are four stages ( 1-4) that correspond to four groups (0-3). Your child will move through these stages (or groups) as they grow. Each is designed to suit a specific weight for child and position in the car. Many of these convert to work within several groups, so you don’t necessarily have to buy a new seat every time your child out grows a stage. When possible car seats should be always used in the rear where they are safest. NEVER place a child in a car seat in a front seat where there is an airbag.
group 0 and 0+
Group 0 seats are suitable for infants up to 10 Kg (22 lbs) which is typically around age 6 – 9 months.
Group 0+ is the same as group 0 but is suitable for a bit more weight so may last few month longer. The age and weight recommendations for this group are 13Kg (29 lbs) which is typically to the age of 12 – 15 months.
Both groups are suitable from birth.
These are rear facing seats. It is advised that they be used in a rear seat whenever possible. While it maybe hard to hear your baby cry and not be able to reach over to them in the front, the safest placement really is in the back.
An infant should only be moved to a group 1 seat when they have either exceeded the weight limit or the top of their head is above the back of the seat.
Group 1 seats are suitable for children 9 – 18 Kg (20-40lbs) which is typically between the ages of 9 months up to 4 years old. So, choose wisely, this seat could be with you for a while.
These are forward facing seats. It is, however, still recommended that they be used in the rear seat whenever possible and NEVER in the front seat if there is an airbag.
Harnesses should always be checked and adjusted with growth to insure that the child can not slip out of the seat either through the legs or arms.
As with the group 0 and 0+ seats, a child should only be moved to the next stage when they have either exceeded the weight limit or the top of their head is above the back of the seat.
Stage 3 and 4:
group 2 and 3
These are grouped together because adjustments can be made to a group 2 seat to make it suitable for stage 4.
Group 2 seats are designed for children between 15 – 25 Kg (33 – 55 lbs) or approximately 4 to 6 years.
Group 3 seat are designed for children from 22 – 36 Kg (48 – 79 lbs) or approximately 6 to 11 years.
These seats are boosters seats. They are grouped together because group 2 seats can be converted to use when a group 3 seat is necessary. In many cases the back can be removed from the booster seat moving it from a group 2 to a group 3.
Boosters seats do not have a harness system. Instead they are designed for use with adult seat belts. When properly fitting the diagonal part of the seat belt should be across the chest and NOT across the neck.
Once again, as with all stages of car seats, a child should only be moved to the next stage when they have either exceeded the weight limit or the top of their head is above the back of the seat and it is always recommended that any car seat be used in the rear seat whenever possible and NEVER in the front seat if there is an airbag.