When to change car seat groups for Children?

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Car Seat Group reminder

The groups of seats according to R44

Regulation  R44 / 04  provides for 5 groups according to the weight of the child.

​0 for babies from 0 to 10 kg (approx. 6/9 months)

  • 0+ for babies 0 to 13 kg (approx. 12/15 months
  • but can go up to 18/20 months depending on the child)
  • 1 for children from 9 to 18 kg (approx. 4 years)
  • 2 for adults from 15 to 25kg (approx. 6 years)
  • 3 for adults from 22 to 36kg (approx. 10 years)

The R129 regulation  divides its groups according to size. But the seats keep a maximum weight of use.

​For babies from 45cm to 75 / 85cm depending on the seats

For children from 63 / 67cm to 105cm

For tall from 105cm (the maximum size is not yet defined)

The seating groups according to R129

The right time to change

It is not uncommon to hear parents say that their child is starting to get too big for their seat because their legs are starting to stick out! It is neither dangerous nor a criterion 🙂

In fact, the only criteria that allow you to know if a seat becomes too small for your child are:

 1 – The level of his head: 

For infant shells (group 0+), the limit as soon as the baby’s head comes close to the upper edge of the shell. (Do not play with the limits and leave yourself 2cm from the edge)

For seats in group 1, 2 and 3, switch to the next category seat when their eyes are level with the upper edge of the seat.

2 – The maximum weight provided for the seat.

Never exceed the maximum weight allowed for a seat.

Exceptionally, however, there are booster seats for large sizes that go beyond 36kg. (Ex: Recaro Monza Nova 2; list in production)

 3 – The height of the harnesses: 

For a rearward facing seat: it must be positioned at shoulder height or just  below

For a forward-facing seat: it must be positioned at shoulder height or just above.

If you have already adjusted the harnesses higher than this is no longer suitable. It’s time to change.

For safety reasons, it is necessary not to move to the seat of the next group too prematurely . Do not rush into the minimum weight criterion.

 For example, do not put your child in group 1 as soon as he weighs 9kg! Use the seat of the previous group to the fullest!

For the transition to groups 2/3 the minimum authorized is 15kg, but I recommend that you wait for the maximum of the previous group.

Better not to anticipate too much a passage to the seat belt. A minimum of 4 years is strongly recommended!

Of course it also depends on the size of your child, if their ears are bigger than their group 1 then it is time to change.

How many seats should I buy?

Before buying any type of car seat, you must read reviews about it. On average, a child will go through 2 or 3 different seats during his growth. If your seats are in good condition and have never been in an accident, they can be reused for several of your children or be sold second-hand.

The possible combinations are very varied but there may be (in order of preference):

A shell (0+) -> A rear-facing seat (grp 1 or 1/2 or 0/1) -> A booster seat (grp 2/3)

A rear-facing seat (0/1) -> A booster seat (grp 2/3)

A shell (0+) -> A road facing seat (grp 1) -> A booster seat (grp 2/3)

A shell (0+) -> A road facing seat (grp 1/2/3) which transforms into a booster seat

​Make the combination that suits you best, but if possible:

Do not do without a group 0+ (shell) at birth  > Find out more about “shell” seats

Avoid front-facing seats 2 years > Find out more about extended rear- facing

Prefer a group 1 or 0/1 then 2/3, rather than a 1/2/3 and really avoid 0123.

> Find out more about upgradeable seats.

Is your child old enough to only use the seat belt?

Article R412-2 says that all children under the age of ten must travel with a restraint system adapted to their morphology and their weight (shell, bucket seat, booster seat, etc.). However, the use of a child restraint system is not compulsory for children whose morphology is suitable for wearing a seat belt.

A child’s pelvis is perfectly ossified around the age of 12. The seat belt will then be able to pass over the pelvis without any problem. Before this age, during a collision, there is a risk that the belt will rise in the stomach area and thus cause internal injuries!

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