Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Changes to NZ carseat laws are coming... are you ready?

For many it's been a long time coming - and for others it will take them completely by surprise to hear that from 1 November 2013 the mandatory use of child restraints in vehicles will be extended by two years, with all children required to be correctly secured in an approved restraint until their seventh birthday.   

Under current law children aged 5-7 years old are not legally required to use a car seat or booster seat, but must use one “where a seat is available”(NZTA, 2013).There will still be many parents out there that don't understand why there is a need to extend the minimum age of car seats - as they 'never had a seat and they were just fine' but the facts are simple - car seats save lives and protect against serious injury -vehicle seats are not designed with children in mind and seat belts are designed  to protect an average sized adult.   This law change for NZ simply starts bringing us in line with other countries that have superior laws around safety and child.

So in anticipation of the November law change - what can you do to ensure you are ready? Well if your 5-7 year old is currently in a booster seat that is appropriately fitted then  you can 'keep calm & carry on'. If your 5-7 year old is currently NOT in a restraint, then you'll need to ensure you find a restraint for your child - and don't wait till November 1 - do it now, because your child is so much safer in a restraint than not.  If your child is younger and you are purchasing a seat - you'll now need to consider the life span of the seat being of compulsory use to at least age 7.

AND... to everyone out there - no matter how old your child is and what you are currently doing...make sure you use the right seat, for your child and your vehicle, and that most importantly, make sure it is installed correctly.  for help and advise on this, check in with a certified installer.  And finally - just because we are now fortunate enough to have the law stating compulsory use to age 7 - doesn't mean you should remove your child on their 7th birthday - use the restraint up to it's weight limit or the size limitations. 

For more information on car seat laws, tips, and advise on how to navigate the world of restraints - go to www.safercarseats.org or check out our information stations at babycity nationally.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

So many options....it can get confusing!

I remember looking for a capsule nearly 13 years ago when my daughter was born.It was pretty basic back then, a simple no frills capsule in your choice of blue tartan, teddy bears, or something that looked a little like hideous bus seat fabric. 

These days there seems to be an enormous amount of choice on the market - not just in colour or fabric but all the technical choices you get to make. Although I think in this case, choice is a wonderful thing, it does mean it can be a crazy & confusing world, thinking about your very first car seat purchase. There are so many factors to consider and often it really feels like you need to learn another language in order to understand exactly what it is that you and your child needs. Once you've learnt the language, you then get spoilt for choice and have to then deduce what type of seat you want. 

There are now 3 common type of installation options available on the NZ market.  

1. The straight seat belt secure method
2. Base+capsule using the vehicles seat belt 
3. Base+capsule using isofix or 'latch'(US term). 

       phil&teds quest capsule              Milano capsule                  Mountain Buggy peppy

Base capsules have been growing in popularity over the last 10 years - they offer ease of daily installation and also offer consistency of installation - isofix has been growing in popularity in NZ as we see more vehicles being imported that have isofix fixtures.  

Having worked in retail and also having installed my fair share of seats - I've been asked on many occasions: 

Which seat is the safest?
Which standard is the best?
Which brand is the best? 
Which seat is the best?

With so many types of installation available my answer is always that what may be 'best' for one person may not necessarily the 'best' for someone else - and I suppose this is why we are so lucky to have so much choice these days. Parents find some seats can be harder than others to install - it's not always related to just the capsule as we find many different qualities in vehicle seats that contribute to and can complicate installation. Things like length of seat belt, slope of seat, vehicle upholstery, size of vehicle. Installing capsules using a base will often remove some of these variables.

Finding a seat that suits you and your lifestyle is important - but finding a seat that suits your child and your vehicle and making sure it's installed correctly are the key factors - ensuring you can install it correctly one hundred percent of the time is the key to having the 'best and safest seat you can.

  For more information on car seat jargon, types of seats and other advise to help you unlock       the world of car seats check out our website