This question is quite common and many parents tend to have it. To be honest, when I first bought my car seat this question wasn’t an issue.
However, after years of experience, you will notice not all car seats fit the same car and it’s important to know if your car will suit the car seat to make your baby comfortable.
In this article, I will only go over things to help you make the right decision when it comes to the car seat size you are buying.
This is mostly for infants and convertible car seats which are for newborns up to 4 years.
Table of Contents
How do I Know if My Car Seat is Compatible with My Car?
Most of these tips I will be giving you are practical and you can yourself make some investigations to find out. Some can also apply to buying car seats for 5-year-olds up to 12 years.
You can find the right size and compatibility by:
Seatbelt Buckles and Availability.
Some cars are a bit tiny and don’t have enough seat belts and these are even short. If you have a big infant car seat that’s not compatible with a base then you might run into a problem.
It won’t suit your car. Even with a base that can be problematic because bases are usually attached with seatbelts. So make sure to buy a car seat that’s a bit tiny and not that wide.
Buying convertible car seats can be a problem as well because most of these are big. So measure the car seat and your seats and belts to see if it matches.
The position of the belts can also make it impossible to attach a car seat depending on the car you have.
Front Seat Passengers.
The height of your both front seats are important as well. As you know all infant car seats should be rear-facing. Well, those that are for newborns up to at least 15 months.
Your seat should be high enough to support the car seat and tighten it from the back. That way the car seat is more secured. This is more applicable if it’s a big and high car seat.
It’s a way of covering your child as well.
Isofix and Tether Availability.
Some car seats are only compatible with bases and the way to attach bases most of the time is with a tether so if that’s not in your car you won’t be able to use the car seat.
Every car seat differs so before you buy check that out by contacting the manufacturers and see what they have to say.
The same goes with the Isofix. The international lock system keeps the car seat secured onto the vehicle. Also called LATCH here in the UK.
How Your Seats are Shaped.
The fourth tip is how your seats are shaped. Some seats a short and a bit thin and others not. If you want fit two car seats in one vehicle then maybe this won’t be possible.
Is there a big gap between where you put your bottom and legs? In some cars, this can be a bit short and not that wide. Again, the size of the car.
You need to make sure your baby and toddler’s legs are free when they are seated. This is mostly for rear-facing car seats but can also be for forward-facing.
Although this combines the front seat availability to be adjusted.
Do You Have Other Children?
If you have kids that are younger than 12 years then you also have other car seats in the same vehicle. You will need to make sure if adding a new car seat will be possible.
Are there enough seatbelts, tethers, etc? Even though you don’t have other children with car seats it’s important to know the size.
Bigger car seats tend to take up more space, obviously. If you fit the car seat is there any space for other children?
Different brands have different sizes of car seats and this is even if they are meant for the same age group.
That’s the reason why when looking for a car seat one should look beyond looks. ( I’m not stating that is not important, but some other factors are more important).
If you do find a car seat with an amazing design, size and good price then that’s a bonus.
The Number of Doors in the Car.
According to an online site car doors matter as well. It might be difficult to attach a car seat depending on the doors. 2 or 3 doors cars can be hard to fit your car seat in.
Check if your car seat can fit in your car and will not allow you to attach it. It also goes back to the size of your car. 5 doors cars are of course the most common ones and better.
That’s 4 front and back doors and then the boot door.
Ask Family and Friends.
This answer is probably more common. Asking a friend who has a similar car or a family member is also a good way to save time, to be honest.
If both you and your friend have the same car and you plan on buying a similar car seat as them then ask how well it did etc.
It might help you buy a more suitable car seat if they have any regrets concerning their car seat.
Manufacturers Know Best.
The last thing is about the manufacturers. The people who designed these car seats often give out information on what type of cars their car seats fit.
This information is most of the time on YouTube, their websites or you can contact them to know. For example, Cybex might state the Ford Fiesta is suitable for their Aton car seat series but not Cloud car seats.
Which they know by testing and such. You, therefore, don’t need to trouble yourself buying these types of models.
For all noted points above if you can contact the manufacturers for guidance then you should do that as well.
Not all are available for Immediately answers so it can take time.
How About Car Seat Installation?
How to install your car seat in the best way also helps many.
After figuring out if the car seat you intend to buy is compatible with your car, then how to place it in the best way can also be a concern.
There are many car seat brands out there and many videos which show you how to do it. This website will give you detailed information on many of these car seat brands and how to install them in your car.
As you can see some of these methods or tips are obvious and others not that much. It’s very important to find out if your car seat is compatible with your car.
It’s against the law to not have a car seat, so you need to buy a good one before your baby comes or gets big. It saves you money in the long run.