So you already know about the new car seat rules for children. The next step – if you haven’t done so already – is to buy one for your child. We’ve compiled different types of child car seats to guide you on your journey. Here are some points to consider while shopping for one:
• Does it fit my car? Small hatchbacks may not have enough space for a large seat.
• How easy is it to install and un-install? This is a factor if you will be using the same seat in more than one car, for instance, if baby travels in his grandpa’s car as well.
• How easy is it to move your child in and out of the seat, and to secure the harness?
• Does the seat have side impact protection? This offers added safety.
• Can be seat be made to recline while in position? If yes, this will come in useful when baby falls asleep while on the go.
• Does the seat have an adjustable headrest and harness? If so, your child can probably use it for a longer time.
• Do seat covers come off easily for washing? This is a necessary feature especially if you have a baby with reflux, or one prone to regurgitating his food, or if your child gets motion sickness.
Infant car seats
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat until they are two years old, or until they have reached the maximum height or weight allowed by the seat. Infant car seats generally seat babies from birth up to 13kg (or about 12-15 months). Baby is secured in a three- or five-point harness. These rear-facing seats can be secured in the car with an adult seat belt, but would ideally be in an ISOFIX base (if the model has it). The seat is light, portable, and can be used with certain strollers as part of a travel system.
Convertible car seats
These seat infants and toddlers from birth up to 18kg (about four years of age). Convertible seats can be used rearward-facing for babies, and turned forward-facing when baby reaches the harness strap limits (usually from approximately 10kg). Your child will be secured by the seat’s integral five-point harness.
Forward-facing car seats
Used for children between 9kg and 18 kg (from about nine months to four years), these seats are secured by the car’s three-point seat belt or the ISOFIX system. Your baby or toddler is secured by the seat’s five-point harness.
Highback booster seats are forward-facing and can be used until your child is about 36kg (approximately 11 years old). There are boosters with, and without integral harnesses. With the latter, your child will be secured by the adult seat belt which is threaded through belt guides for accurate positioning. The booster seat helps raise your child to enable the adult seat belt to fit more securely and safely. The added height also helps to alleviate boredom as your child gets a better view!
The Graco SnugRide is available at Aprisin Singapore. The Britax Parkway SG Cowmooflange is available at Baby Chuckle. All other child seats are available at Mothercare stores. Prices correct at press time.