All the way from birth until your child reaches 25kg, they’ll need to be strapped into a baby seat or a booster seat. Here’s what to look for when you buy one.
When a child enters your life, a strange thing happens in your head: all of a sudden, cars go from being stylish modes of transport to being scary monsters that want to hurt your baby. Fortunately, the government has legislated that kids up to 25kg must be kept safe in car seats. Now your job as the parent is to choose the right one.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT SIZE
Like children, car seats come in a range of weights and sizes. Newborns either sit in rear-facing infant seats, or in seats which can be converted from rear-facing to front-facing when the child grows a bit bigger. An infant seat is pretty clever, in that it has a removable carrier that connects securely to a base that’s installed in the car.
A convertible seat will obviously save you money in the long term… but most convertibles can’t be taken out of the car easily, like an infant chair can. If you buy an infant seat, it’ll take just one easy removal of the cot with a sleeping baby snuggled up inside for you to know you’ve made the right decision.
Child car seats are classed in weight categories, so as your child grows you’ll have to replace your chair. With every one you buy, try to get one that has a five-point harness.
These systems have two shoulder straps, two waist straps and one strap between the legs that meet in the middle. Failing that, a three- or four-point harness (with shoulder straps, and a strap that clips safely in the middle) will do the business.
DO I NEED A BOOSTER
After that, you get into the world of booster seats, which face forward and use the car’s existing seat belt. Backless versions are portable and easy to install, but a high-backed model is best, as it offers extra side impact protection.
Make sure that the straps can be adjusted. You’ll be amazed how quickly kids outgrow things.
Finally, don’t wait until your baby is born before you buy a car seat. Most maternity hospitals won’t discharge you unless you have a child chair safely fitted in your car.
BUY FOR BABY!
The RCS Network has over 21 000 retail partners, including shops and specialist outlets that sell baby products. Do some browsing, and then swipe your RCS Card to get the equipment that’ll keep your child safe.