If you are a new parent and you have no experience with child car seats, you may be surprised to know that not just any will do. You will need to know how to choose the right car seat for your child.
First of all, you should take the one that suits the age of your child. You also need to know if they need to be facing forward or backwards. You can also grab some all-in-one solutions. While this may seem tempting, they also have their downsides.
Secondly, you should know you can fit it in your car. While standardisation made big improvements in this respect, some cars, especially older models may require a bit of research. For example, if you have an older model without ISOFIX, you will not be able to fit a seat that uses this system.
Next, if you have more seats that you need to install, make sure you can fit them. Many cars cannot fit three regular-sized seats in the back. Or you need two, but one person needs to also sit in the back. In that case, do not take seats that are wider than necessary due to some cool design feature or something similar.
Of course, you also need to have the legal requirements in mind.
Sounds complicated? It can be, but we’re here to give you guidance and make it all easy. Read on.
Rules for Taxis and the likes of Gojek and Grab
With our restrictive car ownership rules, many people do not own cars and they use taxis very often. If your child is going with you, you can book a family car from private hire companies like Gojek or Grab, or you will need your own booster seat. In fact, the drivers from these companies are instructed to refuse to drive people with children who do not have booster seats.
However, this is not a legal requirement for taxi vehicles and this does make sense as it would be difficult to expect one vehicle could have several different car seats with them at all times. On the other hand, it should be a common sense requirement. In case of an accident, taxis don’t suddenly become safer than other vehicles, so our recommendation is that you carry one with you.
Aside from thinking about regulations, we also need to think about safety. It is not uncommon to parents driving around with their kids properly restained. This means that even in case there is a sudden harsh braking incident, let alone a traffic accident, they can get thrown around the cabin.
Any person shorter than 1.35 m has to be under a proper child restraint, the meaning of ‘proper’ depending on the weight and height of the particular person. The rest have to wear seatbelts. The same height rule for child restraints goes for school busses.
Car Seat Purchase Checklist
While these are not legal requirements, they are smart choices that make your children safer:
- Get a seat that has a 5-point harness. While 3-point harnesses are acceptable, 5-point ones are simply safer.
- While it may be tempting to buy a car seat that officially covers the longest period, they can rarely be as safe and as comfortable as seats that are designed for a particular age. The next time you sit in a really comfortable armchair, think if it would be as comfortable if you were 30% bigger or smaller. Children go well past 30% before they reach 135 cm. A seat that is designed specifically for their stature will certainly be safer and more comfortable.
- The previous point becomes even more important if you do not own a car and you often have to carry the seat around. It becomes even more of an issue if you also need an adapter to use the same seat on a pram. Also, you should make sure the same seat can be carried around and installed by all the people that will be doing it. If you have a heavy and bulky seat and grandma has to carry it often, it may be a problem.
- Buy the seat that you can actually install into your car. ISOFIX system is very common nowadays in many cars, even required by law in some countries for cars with rear seats that are used on the road. However, in order to use the ISOFIX system, you also need a seat that is compatible or at least an adapter. Also, bear in mind that not all seats can be used with all adapters. In many cases, the adapters are compatible with seats made by the same manufacturer. Speaking of ISOFIX, it is important to note that in most cars this means you cannot use the ISOFIX system anymore, so as easy and as convenient it is, you will need a seat to one that is installed using the seat belt.
Get The Right Car To Match
We already spoke about ISOFIX, so we won’t repeat that. However, if you have a family, get a family car, at least to some extent. This is imperative for so many reasons and it is related to baby car seats more than you can imagine.
Sure you can install a car seat in almost anything with rear seats, but believe me, you will hate doing it often in a car that has no rear doors. And getting a toddler in it from the front doors? That is a special kind of hell. Take it from someone who once said to himself: “It won’t be so bad, I can use my cool coupe”. It was. It really was.
Similarly, if you have to take the seat out often, make sure the boot is big enough to store it and also have more space for the regular stuff you carry around.
Lastly, not really related to seats in particular, get a safe car.
This may sound like you need something like a big, practical, spacious Honda Shuttle. While that has its appeal for a family man, if you have one or even two children, you can still enjoy the benefits of a smaller car in a city environment.
Do you want more features, but you also need a family car? Get something like the Mercedes Benz GLC 300. It is a cool Mercedes-Benz with great tech, cool looks, 5 doors and a boot that is actually a bit bigger than the one in the Vezel.
The market is flooded with family cars from huge minivans to small but practical city buzzers. You don’t have to sacrifice style if you are a family man, so visit us and make sure you test all the points before you make the choice for the car and baby car seat.