Precious cargo: Choosing a car seat for different ages
Here’s what you need to know when choosing the right car seat for your most precious cargo.
Your child's safety should be your number priority. (iStock)
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There are some things in life that are simply non-negotiable and placing your child into a car-seat when travelling in a car is one of those things.

In South Africa, it’s against the law to travel in a vehicle with a passenger under the age of three if they aren’t buckled into an approved child car chair.

Maxi-Cosi National Sales Manager, Mohammed Kaka, explains some of the legal regulations, and provides advice for parents choosing car seats here:

"Every passenger under 1.5m in height needs some form of support when travelling in a motor vehicle," Mohammed says, as passengers under 1.5m tall are not catered for in terms of safety.


Must read: 62 facts about car seat safety you may not know but really should

So here’s what you need to know when choosing the right car seat for your most precious cargo:

The 1.5m limit has been broken down into three categories, based on the physical and physiological capability of the child in terms of what could happen to their bodies in the event of a collision.

1. Birth to 15 months

At this stage of a child’s life their head is heavier than the rest of their bodies.

In the case of a collision, if they were placed into a forward facing seat rather than the appropriate rear facing car chair, they could be severely injured from whiplash and incur head, neck and spinal injuries.

Therefore it is advised to ensure that the car chair used is rear-facing to ensure maximum safety.


Also read: Passengers cause more accidents than mobile phones, and other fascinating driver facts

2. 12 months to four years

The second grouping, which slightly overlaps the first, is the toddler age grouping.

This age group is more capable of handling forward facing car seats, but car seat belts still don’t fit them correctly yet.

With that in mind, you have to ensure that there is a safety harness which keeps the entire centre part of the body (including the abdomen and the back) in place.

This range of seating should offer protection for up to 4 years.

3. Three and a half years to approximately nine years

From the age of about three and a half up to approximately nine years, children should typically make use of booster seats.

This seat utilises the normal seatbelt of the vehicle, but the booster functionality prevents the actual seatbelt of the vehicle from cutting across the child’s neck and abdomen area.

"This means that the booster seat places the seatbelt of the vehicle over the hips of the child and on the shoulder of the child. This is to prevent internal injuries over the abdomen area of the neck area,” Mohammed explains.

Also read: How to find affordable car seats in South Africa

Compiled for Parent24 by Maxi-Cosi 

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