As mums, our first and most important job is to protect our little ones. This job starts when we choose a safe car seat for our kids since birth. But still, why are car seats so important? How to choose the best car seat for my child? And what are the mistakes I should avoid when buying a car seat? Well, this is your ultimate guide to buying a car seat from A to Z.
Why do I need a car seat?
While it is very obvious for some mums, others wonder: “why do I need a car seat?”. This comes to mind a lot, especially if some of our parents did not use one as we were babies. However, in the past 30 years, many studies proved that placing babies from birth till the age of 8 years old in a car seat protects them from car crash injuries by a 70% chance. And if we are talking numbers and statistics, here are some from the past 10 years:
1| Around 26% of fatal injuries caused by car accidents happened to babies who were not placed in a car seat.
2| 50% of fatalities around 2010 – 2015 were caused because youngsters were not wearing a seatbelt.
3| A car seat reduces fatal injuries for babies by 71%, and it reduces those injuries by a 54% rate for older children. It also reduces severe injuries by 69% percent.
Are car seats all the same?
No, they are not. And this is important to know when buying a car seat. Car seats are grouped based on babies age, weight, and safety guidelines.
– Car seats from newborn babies till the age of 2 years old
One of the most important features in car seats for newborn babies is the rear facing position. Rear facing car seats offer the most protections for newborn babies till the age of two. In addition, baby carrier seats are the best when you have a newborn in your vehicle. That is because it helps you keep your little ones sound asleep even when you carry him or her out of the car. Also, your baby’s weight is important when choosing a car seat. So, make sure to check the weight limit for the car seat before purchasing it. ISoFix car seats are considered the best choice for newborn babies by many experts. This installation system ensures the car seat is steady and firm in case of an accident.
– For babies from the age of 2 till the age of 4 years old
Rear facing car seats are essential for babies up to the age of one year old. When your baby is older, you can switch to a front facing position. Keep in mind that many car seats offer both positions and they can be switched easily.
– From the age of 4 till 8 years old
At this age group, you can switch to a car seat booster. And these are mums’ favorites! They are great for long term use, and they keep your little ones safe and protected.
Things to consider when buying a car seat
1| Baby’s age and weight
As we mentioned before, your baby’s age and weight is important when it comes to buying a car seat. Car seats are divided into groups: 1, 2, 3, and 4. Each and every age group offers special features that suit the age group best. For group 1, which is from birth till the age of 2, baby carries are the best option. For group 2, you need a forward facing car seat. As for groups 3 and 4, you will need a high back booster seat or a booster cushion to keep your child safe during car rides. This is one of the most important things to consider when buying a car seat.
2| Vehicle type
Many mums do not know that their vehicle does not suit the car seat they chose. For example, ISoFix car seats have 5 installation points that not all cars support. So, check your car before buying a car seat to make sure you get one that you can easily install in it.
Setting a budget helps you look for a car seat that is right for you. In fact, we always recommend setting a budget before buying anything for yourself or your baby.
Here, we focus on durability. You need a car seat that has high qualities for it to be a good investment. This way, you can buy one car seat and use it for the long run. This includes the materials, cover fabrics, and the support it offers your baby’s body. Ask about the testing process too to make sure it is durable and safe.
5| Installation system
Check the installation system your car seat has to make things easier for you. Installing it might be a little challenging, so you need to be familiar with both the car seat instruction manual and their vehicle manual.
Mistakes to avoid when you buy a car seat
1| Choosing the wrong size
Many mums make the mistake of buying a car seat that is too big for their children. Even if the car seat is installed perfectly, having the wrong size puts your baby in danger. If you purchased a car seat for different groups, make sure you can adjust it using seat belts to secure your child.
2| Not compatible with your family car
Again, not all cars support the same car seats. Some mums buy a car seat while their cars do not have the necessary installation points to keep the car seat firm and secure.
3| Getting a hand-me-down car seat
This is one of the most common and dangerous mistakes you can make when getting a car seat. While it might seem best for saving money, it might not be the safest. Some car seats are in bad shape, and they will not be steady when you install them. Also, some car seats have expiration dates, and you do not want to be stuck with that.
4| Installing the car seat incorrectly.
It is very important to install the car seat according to its manual. You need to place it in the right place, and make sure it is steady and not moving. To test that, you can shake it firmly once you install it. If it is installed correctly, it should not move more than 2 centimeters in each direction.
5| Getting the wrong reclining angel.
This might seriously put your child in danger. Wrong reclining angels can put your baby at risk in case of an accident.
How to install a car seat correctly?
Installing a baby car seat can be a little challenging. To install it correctly, you need to follow the manual. You can also check videos on how to install the car seat you bought. Make sure to secure all the installation points correctly.
For car seats with ISoFix installation system, it is important to secure all 5 installation points. Make sure your car has those installation points to secure the ISoFix car seat accurately.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to follow the instructions manual when installing the car seat. Even if this is not your first time installing a car seat, remember that they differ in their installation systems. There can be some things that are new to you. So, make sure to follow it step by step and test it once you finish installing it.
Read Mumsnet’s Cybex Sirona M2 i-Size review here.
Do car seats have expiration dates?
This is news for many mums. Car seats do have expiration dates just like food. The reason behind this is to ensure the security of the features in the car seat you pick. Weather and temperatures also affect car seats, they can affect the protection they offer. Most car seats manufacturers print the expiration date clearly on the package or the car seat itself. However, if it is not there, we recommend changing car seats after six years maximum.
Best selling car seats here at Mumzworld.com
The Avan / Kio Base is the key element that allows you to switch easily from the Avan infant carrier to the Kio reboarder, and provides effortless travel up to when your child is 4 years old. Your child grows and your habits may change, but your way of traveling with them does not. The i-Size base with ISOFIX connectors offers maximum safety, the one-click installation easily secures the child seat to the base in the vehicle, with visible indicators to show you everything has been correctly installed.
Teknum Pack and Go Foldable Car Seat by Sam Box is a group 1/2/3 multi-stage car seat evolving with your baby as they grow up. For the first time you will experience a complete Portable and Foldable Cart seat with a Carry Bag! Easy to fold, this car seat is Cabin Friendly to carry along on international trips. So compact that it can be easily stored in the car Boot space.
Evenflo is changing the game with a rotating car seat that makes getting your child in and out of the car a breeze. Designed for kids weighing 1.81 – 54Kg, the Revolve360 grows with your child, offering 10 years of use and 3 modes. Install it just once and you’re done, thanks to the Sure360 Safety Installation System, featuring the LockStrong bar, which pulls down to lock the car seat base into place and Tether360 , which helps keep the seat positioned and secure in the car.
LEWIS all in 1 Isofix tt is the 4-groups-in-1 0+/1/2/3 seat, designed to make it easier to use the seat from birth to 12 years. Thanks to its characteristics and its adjustments, LEWIS Isofix tt will follow the child in its growth in complete safety. It is suitable from birth up to 13 kg facing backwards and is compatible with the direction of travel from 9 kg to 36 kg/12 years.