As a parent, you’re legally and morally responsible for your child’s safety. This is a big deal, but fortunately the great majority of parents take ownership of this and provide for their kids and do everything in their power to ensure that they stay safe and free from harm. And one place where a kid can be most at risk it when they’re in the car. Gone are the days of popping bubba in the back in a wicker basket while you drive the family motor for a trip to the hills. There are a range of different baby car seats, with many brands offering safety and security for your child. In fact, there are so many on the market that it can be difficult to choose. So let’s show some restraint and check out a practical guide to choosing a seat for your kid.
By law, your child must be rear facing for at least the first six months of their life. While many parents chose to turn their car seats around after this time, research shows that rear facing until the age of two or three is in fact safer for your child in case of accident. So err on the side of caution and keep your child rear facing as long as possible. Once they get a bit older they may express a wish to face forward so they can see what’s going on in front of them. It’s up to you if you allow this or keep them rear facing for a while longer.
Which Brand to Pick?
The Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) is an independent body that tests capsules, car seats and boosters for safety, measuring them against a variety of criteria. When you’re searching for your car seat, it’s worth heading to their website, which has a handy tool that allows you to filter search for the safest car seat.
It pays to have your child car seat fitted by a qualified professional. This way you have peace of mind knowing that if, God forbid, you are involved in a collision, that your child should be safe. You can get this service performed at a variety of locations – your local baby store is probably one of them. There is a small fee involved but it’s not that expensive. If you are going to be removing the car seat often – for example if you use your car to carry large items and need the space, it’s worth watching closely and learning how to fit the seat properly. Most fitters are happy to explain how it’s done.
For the first six months to a year a capsule may be the best bet. The main reason for this is that you can get a capsule that’s compatible with a pram. It makes life a hell of a lot easier being able to transfer your baby from the car to the pram without having to unbuckle them and lift them out of the seat – allowing them to remain sleeping and undisturbed. Trust us, you’ll appreciate this as waking a sleeping baby is not a fun experience.
Safe and Snug – A Conclusion
Consider keeping your child in an extended rear facing seat for longer than is required by law – this is the safer option. Use the independant safety rating when choosing your brand and model. Consider getting your car seat fitted by a professional, and if you anticipate that you will be taking it in and out of your car learn how to fit it properly yourself. If you chose a capsule for the first little while, check if it’s compatible with a pram – you’ll save yourself a great deal of drama this way.