There are a host of reasons why some car seats are not compatible with certain cars and this is why you need to know how to pick the correct car seat for your vehicle.
If you attempt to install a car seat in a vehicle in which it does not fit properly, it will not be able to function as it should do. It may compromise some of the safety features that are designed to keep your child safe.
Some cars do not have the correct fittings for your chosen car seat. For example, you may have an Isofix car seat, but your car does not provide Isofix anchor points. There may be another way to attach the car seat, but you will not be able to take advantage of the high standard of safety that Isofix brings.
The shape of the seats can play a part too. If the back seats of your vehicle slope significantly, then a non-reclining car seat will mean that your child will always be bolt upright. This isn’t ideal if you want them to sleep in the car. In this instance, a reclining car seat would be a better choice.
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It could be that the seat belts are not long enough to secure the car seat. This can often be an issue with rear facing car seats in particular. If your car has shorter seat belts, you should look for a car seat that offers an alternative belt route to deal with such an issue.
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Another problem when picking the correct car seat for your vehicle is the length or position of the seat belt buckles. They should not touch the frame of the car seat, as this inhibits your ability to pull the belt tight. If it does come into contact with the seat itself, you could try installing the seat in a different position or buying a car seat that features a different shape. You should also check the anchorage points for the adults’ seatbelts. If these are too far forward, it makes it difficult to secure the car seat as well as is recommended.
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How to Ensure Car Seat Compatibility
To pick the correct car seat for your vehicle, it is not as simple as looking for a model that is designated as ‘universal’ or ‘semi universal’. Unfortunately, this is not always accurate, which is why you need to do a little more research before you buy.
Many manufacturers provide a tool to help with this. For example, Joie offers a vehicle fitting guide on their website that allows you to enter the details of your vehicle to check that the car seat you intend to buy is suitable.
Alternatively, you could ask at the shop if you can try fitting a car seat in your car before you decide which to buy. This also means that you can ask an expert to check you have fit it correctly, as well as to answer any questions you may have about picking the correct car seat for your vehicle.
The shop should be able to recommend a suitable car seat for your car and, if none of them seem to fit, you should contact the car manufacturer to find out which seats they recommend for their vehicles.