The expert guide to buying a Group 1 car seat with Isofix
There are two ways to fix a Group 1 car seat into the car:
With an Isofix base:
If the seat is available with the manufacturer’s Isofix base, it is always safer to use it with the base every time you put it in the car. Using the Isofix system means it’s much easier to ensure a safe journey every time. All you need do is click the car seat into the base.
With a seat belt:
Many Group 1 car seats can be placed, facing the front, in the back seat of the car using a three-point seat belt. Some cars have shorter belts than others – check to make sure your chosen seat will fit your car. Ask your retailer for advice and try before you buy.
Be sure to correctly fit it every time you make a journey, as many car seats are incorrectly fitted which could be fatal to your baby in a crash. Some come with a QR code you can scan with your smart phone, which downloads a fitting video – alternatively, keep your instruction booklet in the car.
Important safety information
Never put a seat in a seat where there’s an airbag – even if the airbag can be disabled by the car’s manufacturer, it may not be 100% safe. It is always safest to have baby in the back seat.
When to move on
Always go by the baby’s weight, not by the suggested age (which is only stated as a guide). As soon as your baby reaches the upper weight limit, buy a new car seat. You may also want to buy a bigger seat if your baby is especially broad or long but again, discuss with your retailer and follow the weight guidelines.
Foot prop or top tether
In some seats that have Isofix, there is an additional safety feature; a strap at the top which attaches to fixing points on the car seat’s head rest uprights or to the chassis. Others have a foot prop that comes from the seat’s base down to rest firmly on the car floor. Both help prevent the forward and sideward movement of the seat in a crash.
Here are some of the key features to look for when buying a Group 1 car seat:
- Comfy, padded seat and solid outer shell to protect in an accident with good side impact protection.
- Five point harness with single-pull tightening; easily adjustable as baby grows and accessible from the front.
- Smooth underside to sit firmly on the car’s seat without damaging it.
- Several recline positions for naps.
- Well padded chest and crotch pads.
- Height adjustable head cushion and adjustable sides.
- Removable, machine washable covers.
- Easy belt or base fitting with indicators to tell you you’ve got it right plus additional safety features like top-tether strap.
- Drink and snack holders.
Britax SAFEFIX Plus
One of the best-padded and safest car seats around, this has soft side wings for extra impact protection, plus chest pads that absorb impact. The seat can be installed either with ISOFIX or the vehicle’s three-point seat belt, and the foot prop provides extra stability.
Suitable from 9 to 18 kg (around nine months to four years), it has an easily adjustable harness and headrest so it grows as your baby does and can be easily height adjusted from the front. When baby’s tired, there are four recline positions.
The harness can be clipped back out of the way by retainers to help you get your child in or out and it helps keep the buckle facing the front. The jolly Cowmooflage seat cover can be removed without you having to remove the harness and can be machine washed. www.britax.co.uk - 01264 386034