How to pick the right car seat for you
When working through your baby checklist there are some things that are easy (cute onesies and fluffy toys!) and some things that require a little more time and research, like which car seat to buy.
When it comes to car seats, there are so many options on the market that it can be overwhelming. But considering you’re putting your most precious cargo in there – and most of us spend a fair bit of time in the car these days – they’re probably one of the most important purchases you’ll make as a new parent, so you want to know you’re making the right choice.
What are the different types of car seats available?
There are four main types of child restraints available, they are:
1. Capsule – used for babies 0 to 6 months
- Rear facing
- Inbuilt harness
- Can be easily taken in and out of the car with baby in it
- Suitable for newborns
- Only last around 6 months (depending on the size of your baby)
2. Forward-facing car seat – used for babies 6 months – 4 years
- Inbuilt six-point harness
- Not suitable for newborns
3. Convertible car seats – used for babies 0 – 8 years
- Can change from rear facing to forward-facing when child is ready
- Child can remain rear facing for longer
- More cost effective
- Suitable for newborns
4. Booster seat – used for children aged 4-8
- Forward facing
- Uses seatbelt rather than inbuilt harness
How do I find out about car seat safety standards in Australia?
Australia has one of the highest safety standards when it comes to child restraints in the world, so as long as you make sure your car seat meets the requirements you know your baby will be as safe as possible.
But this also means that you shouldn’t buy your seat overseas and also be wary of buying seats second-hand when you can’t guarantee it meets the requirements and know the seat’s history, eg. if it has been involved in any car accidents previously that may have compromised it.
Click here to read more about car seat safety standards
What is ISOFIX?
ISOFIX is an installation system with anchorage points built into the car that make it easier to install car seats. Newer cars will come standard with these but some older cars will still require the old seatbelt system.
How do I install a car seat?
Getting the car seat fitted professionally is your best option, to ensure the seat is safely and securely fitted and should cost between $30 and $70 depending on where you go, some councils offer free installation you’ll just have to research what is available in your local area.