safe and sound:
our guide to ISOFIX car seats

With so many baby car seat laws and regulations to get your head around, it might feel like there's no room left in your brain for terms like ISOFIX. Put simply, ISOFIX is one of the easiest ways to keep your little one safe and secure during car journeys. We've put together this little guide to help you understand exactly why it's such a big deal.

what is an ISOFIX car seat?

It's a bit scary, but investigations have shown that upwards of 70% of car seats aren't fitted properly. ISOFIX is an international standard that makes safely fitting your car seat a piece of cake. Instead of being strapped in with a seat belt, the ISOFIX connectors on the car seat lock into the ISOFIX anchor points built into the car. Most cars made after 2004 have the ISOFIX system built into them, although the first model to have ISOFIX connectors was the 1997 Volkswagen Golf IV. The system has metal bars hidden underneath the seat, which connect directly to your car's chassis. If you push the seat back a bit you should be able to see the anchor points, which are metal and usually have an ISOFIX logo next to them. Clicking your seat directly onto the car creates a seriously strong link with your baby's seat, so you know they'll be sturdy and secure on all your journeys.

how do i know if my car has ISOFIX?

There are a few ways to check if your car has ISOFIX points:

  • look for ISOFIX labels between the base and back of your car's backseat
  • have a flick through your car's handbook
  • check your car manufacturer's website
  • pop into mothercare and get one of our car seat advisors to have a look for you

Even if you find the ISOFIX points yourself, it's still a good idea to come in for a chat with our car seat advisors anyway. Not all ISOFIX seats are suitable for every car, so our staff can give you a bit more in-depth advice based on your make and model. You might also be able to try a few seats out for size.

there are a few different types of ISOFIX car seat: which one should i get?

The three different types of ISOFIX car seats are:

  • universal: these have three anchor points and are usually forward facing. Cars made in 2011 and after usually have universal anchor points in them
  • semi-universal: this is the only option for rear-facing ISOFIX car seats. They have two anchor points and either a supportive leg prop or a top tether to keep baby's seat in place in case you need to stop suddenly
  • car specific: these ones have only been tested in a few cars, so they're only safe to use in vehicles named by the manufacturer

why is travelling backwards safer?

Under the old regulations children could switch to a forward-facing car seat at nine months, but it's actually safer to keep them in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible. Babies are built differently to adults, and their little bones are really fragile. They've also got bigger heads than grown-ups. No, we're not talking about ego – their proportions are different when they're small. If they're facing forward and you need to brake hard, the force of being thrust forward could do significant damage to their neck and spine.

can i use an i-size car seat with an ISOFIX base?

If you're wondering 'wait, what's i-Size?', you're not alone. i-Size car seats are fairly new on the market. The main thing to remember is that an i-Size car seat is based on your child's height instead of their weight. There's a little more to it than that, of course, and if you want to know a bit more, take a peek at our special i-size buying guide. All i-Size car seats have to be ISOFIX to meet the new i-Size standard. Come into a mothercare store to check whether your i-Size car seat fits into your car.


browse our range of i-size car seats here>

browse our range of ISOFIX car seat bases here>

what sort of features should i look out for?

Rear-facing ISOFIX car seats have a supportive leg prop which reaches all the way down to the floor of the car. This braces your baby's seat and stops it from tipping if you brake suddenly. Others have a top tether, a strap which can be connected to a mount behind the back seat. You don't just tie it on any old where though, there will be a special, crash-tested place dedicated to the job. In line with car seat regulations, all cars built since November 2012 have to have one of these top-tether anchor points. You might find some older cars have them too. Light/sound indicators are also great for telling you when your car seat is fitted correctly.

Sound good to you?


browse our range of ISOFIX car seats here>