How to buy a car seat
Buying a car seat is one of the most important buys parents can make. Here's how to choose one that fits your family.
One of the most important things you will buy as a parent is a car seat. There are so many big items that parents could save on like compactums and cots and even prams. But I think a child’s safety in the car is paramount. You could get one second-hand but I would only recommend this if it’s in good condition and you can be assured that it hasn’t been in a car accident and hasn’t been damaged.
There are two routes you could take when buying a car seat.
1. Buy a car seat that covers Groups 0 – 2 which will give you a car seat for your child from birth till around 6 years old. You would have to get a separate pram in this case.
2. Buy a travel system where the car seat fits into the pram so it’s easier to transport your newborn from car to pram (especially when they fall asleep on the car ride). This car seat should last until they’re about 13kg or 9 months old. You’d have to get another car seat once they out grow this car seat and then you could look at a seat that covers multiple groups to last them till they can use the normal car seatbelt.
Forward-facing vs rear-facing
It’s recommended that children are in rear-facing seats till the age of 2. The reason being that babies neck muscles and ligaments are still developing and in the event of a head on collision if the baby is facing forward seat his body is held back but not his head and neck. According to Safety Belt Safe USA, while older children may get temporarily injured, “a baby’s neck bones actually separate during a crash, which can allow the spinal cord to be ripped apart”.
In rear-facing seats the baby’s entire body including the body, head and neck are cushioned by the seat thus protecting them more in the event of an accident.
When your child outgrows the height and weight limits of his rear-facing infant seat, you can move him into a multi-group seat with a higher weight limit. Some of these seats are both rear and front facing so, you’re able to keep him rear-facing a little longer, and when he's ready to ride facing forward, the car seat will still fit him.
For more on car safety:
Safe travels by car
Toxic car seats
Expert Question: Car seat laws South Africa
Injuries and car seats
4 common car-safety mistakes parents make
Car safety for toddlers
Expert Question: Car seats
Expert Question: Car Seat Pre-Schooler
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