Choosing a baby seat for your car can be a difficult and expensive decision.
These seats are not negotiable as a parent, and it’s illegal to travel in a car with a child under three years of age, if they’re not strapped into an approved child safety seat. While you might find something that you like, it may not fit well into your car. Before you can make any decision based on the below tips, you will need to test each seat to ensure that it is fit for your car’s make and size, and your child. Since every seat has its own strict safety regulations, they also come in different styles and price ranges.
Here are a few considerations when looking for the best baby seat for your car:
Features to consider for car safety
The type of car seat you buy needs to be chosen according to your child’s weight, height and age. Whichever seat you choose needs to be installed properly, without any ability to move forward or sideways. This also means that it needs to be on a secure angle to avoid the baby’s head from moving forward. The location of the car seat can also play a major role in the safety of your child. Many people suggest that the middle back seat is the safest area for your baby’s car seat.
Here are some of the safety features to look out for when choosing a seat:
- An A 5-point harness: This is related to what your budget allows for. If possible, opt for an A-5 point harness seat over an A-3 point harness because this has two shoulder straps, two waist straps and one strap between the legs. This just means that if something were to happen, these straps will hold the baby in place for further protection.
- Easy harness adjustment: When the harness is flexible and can be adjusted to suit your child’s body size, then it is much safer for your child. This just adds more safety to their car seat.
Understanding the different car seats by age
- Newborn baby seat: Usually, the first car seat you will get for your baby is the infant seat which is designed for tiny, newborn babies. These seats are portable and can easily be strapped onto your baby stroller once you leave your car. The safest car position is rear-facing, which is how this seat is designed, and it is mainly for babies over the age of 10 to 14 months.
- A convertible car seat: Depending on the weight and size of your baby, once they reach one and a half years of age, you can switch over to a convertible car seat. It’s quite a heavy seat, so it won’t fit into your stroller. It’s simply an additional add-on to your baby equipment range.
- A booster car seat: When your baby grows into their toddler phase, you will need to purchase a booster car seat to fit their growing body. It’s bigger than a convertible car seat but too small to use with an adult-sized seat belt. This type of seat will hold a toddler of 10 to 15 kgs.
Before you choose something, make sure it fits into your car
Being a parent requires you to constantly think about road safety and safety regulations for your baby seat and vehicle. The vehicle model you have will determine the size and style of the baby chair you purchase. It might be tricky buying one before you decide on the different pre-owned cars you’re interested in buying because not all cars fit the same chairs. Do your research before purchasing anything.
Other accessories and features to consider
Although they’re small, not all newborn car seats fit your stroller. Before you buy a baby seat, make sure you test it on your stroller to ensure that your investment is worthwhile. As mentioned, baby equipment is expensive, so the seat you choose needs to be adaptable to other areas of your life. An idea would be to purchase a chair from the same brand as your stroller. These are guaranteed to fit together.
- Be careful of the weight
Consider that the older your baby gets, the heavier and bigger the seat gets. For the newborn and convertible seats, try to purchase something that is easy for you to carry. It’s great driving around with your child strapped in, but the minute you get out, you’re going to have to carry him or her around. A heavy chair can have negative effects on your back, and it’s impractical.
- Pick something that offers a canopy
Whenever you take your baby seat out of the car and cruise around with the stroller for the day, make sure it has a canopy so that you can easily protect your baby from the sun. Some options provide cute little windows and additional shade coverage, but again, it all depends on your budget. Make sure that the chair you do purchase has a canopy that is strong enough to withstand your baby’s constant tugging.