Before you take your baby out on a road trip or just a quick drive to the grocery store, you will need to use a car seat to keep your little one as safe and as comfortable as possible. Car seats have many different types and features and most new parents would be wondering how they can choose the one that is right for their family.
Choosing a car seat for your child is one of the biggest decisions you would have to make as parents. Getting the correct car seat can play a vital role in their safety and comfort as well as to your convenience. And buying the most expensive or the latest car seat may not always the best choice. You need to spend some time to really think about the key considerations when looking to purchase one for your child.
With tons of car seat options in the market today, shopping for one can be an overwhelming task for parents. A car seat can be one of the most expensive purchase you have to make, so it is just practical to do get it right the first time.
In this article, we have listed down some of the things you need to consider when choosing a car seat for your growing family.
1. Choose a car seat that will fit your vehicle
Not all car seats fit in all cars. Some car seats are designed to be wider and bigger than others. So when choosing a car seat, you need to make sure that your vehicle will have enough space to fit in properly. If you have a second car or other vehicles you plan to use the car seat in, you have to check if it fits well there too. When you are shopping for one in a physical store, ask if you can take it in your car for a test fit. You can also do online research as to which car seats are compatible with your vehicle before heading out.
If you have more than one child who also needs to be in a car seat, you need to consider if you have enough room in your car for another one. It is recommended to check if both car seats fit alongside each other. If you don’t have your existing car seat with you when you go out to shop, mention it to the salesperson so they can scope out the available space in your car.
Take note of this: If you are test fitting a car seat, position the driver or front seat to your usual setting. Do not move it forward to make way for the car seat. If your car is driven by more than one person, adjust the seat position to the tallest driver’s configuration.
2. Will the car seat fit your child?
There are different car seat types that can fit certain age groups. It is important not to rely just on your child’s age but also their weight and height to identify which age group your child belongs to. If your child does not meet the minimum age, weight and/or height requirements of the car seat you are planning to buy, then you might need to reconsider. The best and the safest car seat for your child is the one that fits them perfectly.
Here is a quick guide on the different car seat types you can choose from:
● Infant car seats: These car seats are designed for your child from birth up to around 13kg. These are usually attached to a base in a rear-facing position only and can be removed from your car without the need to take your baby out of the seat. Infant car seats are portable and can double as a baby carrier or can be attached to a stroller.
● Convertible car seats: These car seats can be used for newborns (with the right infant inserts) up to their toddler years. It can be installed in a rear-facing position until they reach the maximum weight and height then transition into a forward-facing car seat as your child grows.
● 3-in1 car seats: This is similar to a convertible car seat but can be transformed into a booster seat when your child exceeds the maximum weight and height limits of a front-facing car seat.
● Booster seats: This car seat is recommended for older children once they are ready for a seat belt.
Car seats may have different weight capacities depending on the brand or model. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s website or ask an authorised salesperson in the store for more information.
3. Get a car seat that fits your lifestyle
Aside from making sure that the car seat is perfect for your child and your vehicle, it should also offer you convenience. Choosing a car seat that matches how your activities go with your child in tow on a daily basis is another major consideration you need to think about. Aside from checking car seat specs, you can also ask other parents who may have similar activities and lifestyle.
If you need to constantly install and uninstall the car seat to transfer it to another vehicle, then you should look for one that is easy to install. If you have to walk frequently, then you need one that is compatible with a stroller. If you are constantly on the go or if you live a few storeys up, a lightweight car seat will work best for you.
4. Choose a quality car seat within your budget
Baby car seats are not exactly cheap. While there are affordable options, do not be too quick on buying the one with the smallest price tag. More often than not, the saying “buy nice or buy twice” can be true when you settle for a cheaper price over the seat quality. If you fail to right purchase, you may end up buying another one which will cost you even more.
One way to maximise your money’s worth is to consider a car seat that grows with your child. By doing this, you will not be required to buy a new one when they are ready for the next stage up. Work out your budget and list down the car seats that fall within this range. Weigh the pros and cons carefully before making your decision. You can also keep yourself updated on upcoming baby fairs or promotions to get the best deal for your car seat purchase.
5. Car seat safety standards and features
We all know that your child’s safety is your top priority as parents. That’s why all car seats are tested and approved to meet certain safety standards. And although this is the case, some newer car seat models are designed with the latest technology to offer better protection.
When choosing a car seat, consider their safety certifications and features like side-impact protection for an extra layer of safety and shoulder straps height adjustments to fit your growing child. You would also need to constantly check for any recalls and keep track of your car seat expiration date to make sure that your child is always protected.
6. Choose a car seat that is easy to clean
All parents would like to keep everything their kid touches to be clean, whether inside their homes or when they go outside. We know for a fact that kids can leave all types of mess anywhere and the car seat is no exemption. Food and drink spills will be common during your trips, and it will be great if you can easily wipe them clean.
A car seat with easy to remove and machine-washable fabrics is one thing to consider when looking to buy one. Check the car seat manual to get more information on cleaning and care instructions for other fabric types and seat parts.
Car seats are long term investments and it is just right that you are covered in case of damages or defects that are not a result of a crash. Warranties for car seats are different per manufacturer. When choosing a car seat, know the warranty information on the period of coverage, how you can replace defective parts and what voids the warranty.
We hope that this guide has helped you in choosing the best car seat for your family. And remember, your car seat will only be able to keep your child protected if you use it properly and if you avoid any common car seat safety mistakes.
Here at SuperMom, we do our best to help you navigate your way through the exciting and sometimes overwhelming journey of pregnancy and parenting. We have rounded up 10 of the best baby car seats in Singapore today to help you to find the best baby car seat in Singapore for you and your baby.
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