Thursday, 19 July 2012

How do I choose the right carseat for my child?

So many carseats so little time!

Car capsules, car seats, child restraints - whatever you want to call them are fast becoming, an important item on a first time parents list of endless things to get! These plastic baby carriers are the vital tool that ensures parents can escape their home, and bring baby with them safely.

Obviously as a new parent safety is your main concern when choosing a carseat, but when you're operating on little sleep simply getting to the supermarket with as little hassle as possible becomes your main priority.
Believe me the last thing you want is to be unprepared-  you don't want to be fiddling with the seatbelt, with a bad back,whilst bubs is screaming blue murder and your bottom is hanging out the car door.

You need a carseat that is not only safe but simple! I for one, can't abide over complicated instructions ,so for me simply picking a car seat that did it's job, whilst being fool proof  was the way to go.
When people ask 'What sort of carseat do I need?' The answer should always be:
  • The one that fits your child.
  • The one that fits your vehicle.
  • The one that you use correctly every time.
A lot of parents want a certain type of model to match their stroller, or one that fits a certain travel system but if this particular car seat doesn't suit your needs- forget about it!

I've installed a few car seats in my time and what I've learned is that you have to try before you buy! You can't just pick one online or borrow your cousins old one. Your car may not accommodate the capsule! the seat belt could be too short, the shape of carseats may cause the capsule not to sit right , I could go on....

Get the person in store to help you install a few and see which one works for you and your specific needs. Don't worry about taking up their time, believe me you're better off in the long run. I would even have them install the one you buy before you drive away...which may sound cheeky but when you look at how many people have their infants car seat installed wrong ,it just makes sense!

So before you enter a store, remember these four important steps when selecting:

  • Selection- make sure the right child restraint fits the child,fits the vehicle and is used on every trip.
  • Direction-make sure that the child restraint faces the correct direction (rear or forward facing) for the type of restraint and the child's age,weight and height.
  • Location-the rear seat is the safest position for all children under 13yrs of age or until they can sit correctly in an adult seat.
  • Installation- make sure the child restraint you are using has been installed correctly.

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