Over the winter period we all tend to do a lot of travelling and not always in our own cars! Trips with friends and family can prove tricky if you have a young child who, by law, needs a car seat; and travelling abroad in a hire car can be a headache if you are taking a holiday this Christmas. We asked Parentwheels to give us some tips on choosing a travel seat that is easy to move between vehicles, helping to reduce the stress of travelling with a car seat in tow.
Car seats are classified according to group 0, 1, 2 and 3.
A good infant carrier (a Group 0 or 0+ car seat) for babies from newborn to about 9 months will normally be quite easy to transfer between vehicles because they are ordinarily fastened using the car's own seat belt. If you are looking for an infant carrier that is easy to travel with, choose a really light one such as the Kiddy Nest which is only 2.7kg â this will give some welcome relief to your arms!
For toddlers and pre-schoolers in a Group 1 car seat, choosing a versatile and light weight car seat is imperative if you intend to use your child's seat in more than one different vehicle.
Many Group 1 car seats can be bulky, heavy and quite complex to install in your car, not what you want if you plan to regularly move the seat between vehicles, or if you plan to take it with you abroad. A combined Group 1,2,3 car seat will often be lighter than a Group 1 only seat and can see your child through until they no longer need a car seat; however a Group 1,2,3 seat will often be expensive. Alternatively you can choose a Group 1 car seat that uses impact shield technology instead of a 5-point harness as these are often significantly lighter and makes light work of transferring them between cars. The Kiddy Phoenixfix Pro (available from Mothercare) and the Cybex Juno-Fix (available from Mamas & Papas) are both great examples of lightweight impact-shield Group 1 car seats.
If you are worried about being able to quickly and correctly fit your child's car seat in other people's cars when you travel this winter you should consider an ISOFIX car seat as ISOFIX connectors reduce the possibility of error when installing your child's seat. The new Britax Versafix Group 1 car seat is extremely versatile in that you can use it in cars without ISOFIX mountings, or those cars with ISOFIX and even, if you are lucky enough to have it in your car, the ISOFIX TopTether for additional stability when driving.
Parentwheels is a motoring blog for UK parents where you can read children's car seat reviews from infants to toddlers written by mums and dads who have tried them with their own children.