When buying a car seat, it's best to try a few in your car before making a decision. Try to find a retailer who is willing to help you with this. Ask whether staff have been trained in fitting car seats.
Check whether your car has Isofix connectors built into it. These are designed to make fitting baby and child car seats simpler. Most modern family cars have them. They may be hidden in the cracks between the padding of your car seats.
Always choose a baby or child car seat that's right for your child's current height and weight – see What size car seat? for more.
Do not buy a secondhand car seat. It could have been damaged in an accident, and may not have all its parts, including the instructions. It may also not be the safest and most user-friendly model, plus it may not fit your car properly.
Only accept a car seat from friends or family if you know its history, it's not too old and it comes with instructions.
All car seats in the UK should be EU approved. Look for the "E" mark label on the seat.
It is dangerous and illegal to carry a baby in a rear-facing baby seat in a front passenger seat that has an active airbag. Forward-facing seats in the same position, while not illegal, are not ideal. It's always safer for children to travel in the back of the car.
Make sure the seat is fitted properly in the car, following the manufacturer's instructions.
Make sure you always put your baby into their car seat from the pavement side of the car.
Make sure your baby is securely strapped in according to the manufacturer's instructions. When you buy your car seat, ask the retail staff to demonstrate how to strap your baby into it.
Use a rear-facing car seat for as long as your baby fits into it, as these offer better protection in the event of a car accident.