Buying a car seat for a new-born can be stressful, with so many options on the market it is tough to decide on which one will be the perfect fit for your child. It is expected that parents to be purchase their child’s car seat before they are born, this way they will have time to get used to its functions and how to operate it before the baby uses it. This way it can be fitted and ready for your child on their first journey in a car, usually being coming back from the hospital.
There are no right or wrong baby car seats, just many options and choices for parents to make, these can be defined by budget, the size of your car or the functionality you would like the car seat to have. Many reputable and popular brands offer some great deals, but it is important to have a varied knowledge of what to look for in a car seat before purchasing anything, here are our top tips.
The first steps when choosing your baby car seat
It is important for you to check that your car has Isofix connectors built in, having these built in connectors allow for a simpler fit when using a car seat. Most modern cars do have these built in, but some do not so be sure to check your car for these before purchasing any car seat.
Trying and testing a few car seats from many retailers before buying them can be a massive help, this way you can see exactly how they work and will look in your car. Many places will offer this help instore and should have staff designated that are trained on how to fit a car seat. If you are buying your car seat online most reputable brands will have an online guide for this. This will be able to show you exactly how the car seat should look and how to use it.
Another important consideration when buying a new baby car seat is to account for all the cars that might be using it. If your child will be looked after by other family members or a nanny, it is important to ensure that their car can fit the baby seat in too.
Please be careful when purchasing anything second-hand, we would recommend that you do not do so, unless within your family when considering doing this with your child’s car seat. Unfortunately, some second-hand car seats can be sold damaged or may not come with all their parts. Even with family members or close friends, ensure that the car seat comes with an instruction manual and that it fits your car correctly.
The practicality of your baby car seat
Unlike most items purchased for new-borns and very young babies, a car seat can not be bought for them to ‘grow into’. You must always choose the baby car seat that is correctly fitted to your child’s current height and weight, this can be quite hard to guess but there are many helpful sites and staff that can help you with this conundrum. It is also important to remember that usually these baby car seats come as EU approved, this can be checked by the letter E being marked on the seat.
Some people will be using their baby car seat a lot more than others, when purchasing you must consider the actual usage of the product. Traditionally these products are built quite robustly to withstand any potential danger when using your car, which is a good thing. Nevertheless, if you will be lifting your baby into and out of the car, or multiple cars, more than average it will be beneficial to get a car seat that is lightweight or comes with a base that always stays in the car.
There are five groups of car seats; Group 0 from 0kg to10kg, Group 0+ from 0-13kg, Group 1 between 9 to 18kg, Group 2 between 15 to 25kg and group 3 from 22-36kgs. It is important that to buy relevant to the child’s size for their safety, this can mean purchasing a few over the years. Some brands do sell car seats that are adaptable for a varied length of the baby’s life, this could be a good investment, but it does come at a price.
Which baby car seat brands are best?
There a plethora of brands that could well suit your specific needs, it is important to shop around test them all. The best brands on the market now for smaller vehicles Graco models, they offer smaller more compact car seats. Evenflo are a great, low-cost brand that offer both safety and efficiency. There offerings are especially good for baby and child car seats, they offer a wide range of affordable options.
Britax have some award-winning baby car seats, but they come at a higher price, this is the same as when reviewing like Joie and Cybex Sirona models. Nevertheless, these products can be long lasting with features that allow you to adapt the seating position to match that of your babies needs as they begin to grow.
There are so many brands out there that could be perfect for you and your baby, it is important to consider the needs you have, the worth of investment, their adaptability and resilience. Safety is the most important element when choosing a new baby car seat, make sure that any brand you decide to use great safety ratings.
How much should you spend?
This is an age-old question, factored into all baby items, especially baby car seats. The price of a car seat can vary dramatically by brand and capability, you can expect to pay anywhere in between £50 – £400 for a baby car seat at the moment.
The majority of car seats are priced between £150 – £250, it is especially important for your child to be safely and comfortably transported by car at a younger age, not only will it make it easier for you, your child will not be so discomforted whilst you travel if you can give them the space they need. It is important to remember that as your child grows, the price tag for any additional car seats or accessories reduces dramatically, so in essence this could be a one-time big investment.
There are many old wife’s tales, tips and tricks that can be applied when choosing a new car seat for your baby, the biggest piece of advice is for you to review your needs and the needs of your child. If you are not looking to travel very much, a cheaper, less high-tech car seat will be fine, so long as it meets safety regulations and standards. If you are looking to travel for long distances, or much more frequently, this will be a much more important purchase warranting a larger investment. Ensure that the model you do choose meets all safety regulations, fits your car and any other car it may need to be used in and is the correct size for your child.