Are you expecting a little bundle of joy in the next little while? There’s heaps to prepare for. You’re not going to know what hit you, if we’re brutally honest. Not to say that it isn’t the most magical thing in the world, but it’s a lot of hard work. And so is getting around with a baby. It’s now 2018 and you can’t get away with popping bubba in a wicker basket in the backseat of the car these days. You’re going to need a sturdy, solid, safe and dependable car seat. But there’s so many on the market it can be hard to make a choice. Let’s check out a guide to baby car seats and figure out how to make this important decision.
Not All Car Seats are Equal
It can be tempting to save a buck and get any old baby car seats for any old price. Yet some car seats are simply safer than others, and sometimes the safer ones are a bit more expensive than other options. Safety comes first with anything to do with children, especially when they’re small and fragile. A great car seat can mean the difference between life and death, or serious injury, when it comes to a car collision. Obviously you’ll only be able to afford what you can, but if you can spend that little bit extra to get a safer model it’s definitely worth it.
What is the Safest?
What is the safest option, you ask? There are loads of safe car seats on the market at the moment, but luckily for you there’s an independant website that can help you pick the best one for you. Head over here and have a look. You can filter by different types of seats and ages to help pick the best one.
A rear facing child seat is required by law in Australia until your child is over six months old. However best practice indicates that you should keep your child rear facing for as long as possible. As a rule of thumb this is usually until they’re 2 or 2 and a half years old at which point they become very curious about the world around them and will often demand to face forward so they can see what’s going on.
It’s best to buy new, as you never know if a second hand child car seat has been involved in an accident – which can render them useless for safety or flat out dangerous. If you must buy one second hand make sure it’s less than five year old, has a sticker with the certification information on it, comes with the manual, doesn’t have frayed straps or stuck buckles and has no cracks in the plastic shell.
Capsule and Compatibility
If you’re considering buying a capsule check if you can get one that’s compatible with a pram or stroller. This makes life a lot easier with a newborn as you can just pop the capsule out of the holder in the car and latch it onto the pram or stroller and go about your day, without having to unbuckle and get your baby in and out of the car or the pram.
What About Installation?
While you can install a car seat yourself, it is best to get an authorised and qualified seat fitter to do this for you. Many baby stores will have seat fitting services available for a small fee. If you watch closely and ask questions while the person is fitting the seat you can learn how to do it yourself – this may come in handy if you need to remove the seat on occasion to transport goods or when your child needs to travel in a different car.
Colour and Appearance
This is probably the least important tip of them all, but you may have a preference for colour and appearance of your child’s car seat. Please do pick based on safety and suitability though – you’d rather have a safe seat than one that doesn’t match your car.
To sum it up, not all car seats are equal, especially when it comes to safety. We’ve provided a handy website above to help you pick a safe seat. Make sure to keep it rear facing for at least the first six months, and if you must buy second hand follow the aforementioned advice. See if you can get a capsule that’s compatible with a pram or stroller, and get your seat professionally installed until you learn how to do it yourself. Finally, try to pick based on safety rather than aesthetics. Happy driving.