Car Safety for Kids: Your Car Seat Buying Guide
A car seat is one of the most important items you will purchase for your baby. In fact, hospitals will not let you take your baby home without one. Choosing what car seat or capsule is best for you can be difficult and so it's important to get some professional help and advice.
Here is our online guide to buying a car seat that will suit your lifestyle, budget and most importantly, be safe for your little one.
Does The Car Seat Meet The Standards?
The first thing to keep in mind when purchasing a car seat is to make sure it complies with the safety standards of your state, territory or country. All car seats recommended and sold at Baby Mode either meet or exceed Mandatory Australian Standards, which are renowned worldwide as some of the safest standards in the world. If a car seat doesn’t meet the current Australian Standards, it is not safe. Using a car seat that doesn’t meet Australian Standards will result in a hefty fine but more importantly, it may not protect your child in the event of a collision or accident.
Choosing the best car seat for your child
The next step is to familiarise yourself with the different types of car seats available; generally, there is the Car Capsule, the Convertible Car Seat, the Convertible Booster Seat, and the Booster Seat.
Baby Capsule or Infant Carrier (Approx. Birth- 6 months)
A rear-facing baby capsule or infant carrier is attached to a base that is attached to the car via the seat belt. A key advantage of the baby capsule is that you can dethatch the capsule from the base and carry your child in the capsule without disturbing them.
Furthermore, baby capsules can often be attached to prams, provided they are compatible, which makes this the most versatile of the range.
Convertible Car Seat (Approx. Birth- 4 years)
A convertible car seat can be used both rear-facing, usually for the first year, and then forward-facing after that. This cannot be taken in and out of the car or used with a pram, like a capsule. However, the convertible car seat lasts longer than the capsule as it caters to a much larger age range.
Now there are even convertible car seats that can go from birth all the way up to 8 years, making them the only car seat you are likely to need.
Convertible Booster Seat (Approx. 6 months- 8 years)
The convertible booster seat is often the next stage after a capsule. It is forward-facing and will adapt as your child grows taller and bigger. However, many experts believe that it is ideal to keep your child rear-facing for at least a year and the convertible booster seat in conjunction with the capsule may not offer this.
Booster Seat (Approx. 4 years to 8 years)
A booster seat is often the last car seat a child will have until they are ready to use a child harness or a regular seatbelt. Unless you get a convertible car seat that goes up to 8 years, the booster seat will often be the next stage after a convertible car seat. Ranging from 4-8 years, the booster seat will have features that allow it to grow with your child.
All these age periods will depend on the size of your child and the specific car seat you purchase. Always observe the height markers of your capsule or car seat and if your child is exceeding them, you will need to upgrade to a larger one or if they are of the right age, weight, and height, they may be ready to use a regular seat belt.
Do Your Research
The next step when choosing a car seat is to do your research. Visit us in-store and speak to a member of our staff or browse all the car seats and their descriptions on our website to see what products suit your needs and the needs of your child.
Important information to focus on is the age, weight and height restrictions, the way it is fixed in the car and the safety features. Additional safety information and test statistics can usually also be found on the brand's website and this is another great resource for information.
Without a doubt, the question we are most often asked in regards to car seats is why are they so expensive? While we have car seats that cover a variety of budgets, many can be quite pricey. The more expensive seats are generally better equipped in the event of an emergency.
All of our seats meet the Australian Standard for safety, however, some of these may perform better than others, even exceeding the standards. Another reason a seat may be more expensive is that it has additional features that improve its functionality and ease of use. Also, the price may reflect a more aesthetically pleasing car seat and better quality materials used to make it.
All these factors are usually found in the more expensive car seats and while it can seem like a lot of money, the safety of your child is certainly something you don’t want to cut corners on. With the large range on offer at Baby Mode, you can find something that suits your budget while having the confidence of knowing it has been rigorously tested and approved by the Australian government.
The Perfect Fit
When you find and purchase the right car seat for your family, always remember to have it fitted by a professional. Anyone who has ever installed a car seat or capsule themselves would tell you that it can be quite tricky and it can be quite easy to install it incorrectly, which can have serious safety implications for your child and could result in a hefty fine.
For safety reasons Baby Mode strongly recommends that you have your car seat or car capsule installed by a professional, accredited fitter.
We can help you choose the right car seat
With over 30 years of experience selling car seats to the Australian public, we believe we have the right amount of knowledge and a wide range of car seats on offer to help you find a car seat that suits your needs.
At Baby Mode we stock quality brands such as Safe-N-Sound, Maxi Cosi, Safety 1st, InfaSecure, Baby Love, Peg Perego, and Chicco. We are always striving to keep up-to-date with the most cutting edge developments in child safety and we train our staff frequently to ensure we provide both expert information and unbeatable customer service.
For more information on choosing the right car seat or any of our car seats contact us online or visit one of our stores and have a chat with our friendly staff.