It’s often the small things that you forget about as a new parent. In between hospital appointments, baby shopping and the dozens of other time consuming activities a new baby brings, there is one crucial yet humble item that every new parent is going to have to get familiar with; the Car Seat!
From that first drive home to dropping your little one off at nursery, you’re going to have to get familiar with how a Car Seat works! But for most of us, the last time we had any experience with a car seat was when out parents we’re buckling us in to one, so we’re here today to break down everything you need to know!
- If you can, buy a car seat before your baby is born.
Remember, it’s important to buy a seat that both fits your car and is suitable for a newborn. If you have decided that you are having your baby in hospital, birth centre, or away from home then you will need the car seat to drive your baby home, so its important to have all of this sorted out before you give birth.
- Tips for buying a baby car seat
- When it comes to car seats, it's best to try a few before making a decision. You need one that fits your car securely. It can be very helpful to find a store with staff that have been trained in fitting car seats and are willing to help you.
- Isofix connectors are designed to make fitting baby and child car seats simpler, and most family cars will come with them, so check to see if your car has them. If your struggling to find them, they may be hidden in the cracks between the padding of your car seats.
- Some car seat manufacturers have online guides showing which cars their seats will fit in. If your baby is likely to travel in another car regularly – for example, with other family members – check the car seat fits their car, too.
- Sometimes car seat manufactures will have guides online to show you which cars their seats will fit in. Remember, if your little one is traveling in more than just your car, then you have to check to make sure the seat fits the other cars before they travel in them.
- Choose a car seat that's right for your baby's weight & height – you can find help online with finding out more about this.
- Don’t buy a second-hand car seat! Although a tempting cheaper choice, it may be damaged, faulty, missing parts and come without the instructions. As well as being unsafe, it may not even fit your car properly.
- Only accept a car seat from trusted people if you know it's not too old, it comes with instructions and you know its history.
- What size car seat?
Car seats are split into 3 main groups, based on your child's age and weight:
- Group 0+ : For babies aged up to about 15 months or who weigh up to 13 kg (29lb).
- Group 1 : For children who weigh 9-18kg (20-40lb) or who are aged from about 9 months to 4 years
- Group 2/3 – For children who weigh 15-36kg (33lb-5st 9lb) or are aged from about 4 to 11 years
Combination Seats: These cross over groups to offer you more flexibility, but even though they might be more cost effective they do not always offer the same level of safety, so be aware.
4. Baby or child car seat fitting
- Carrying a rear-facing baby seat in a front passenger seat with an working / active airbag is ILLEGAL, as well as dangerous. Forward facing seats are not illegal in the front passenger seat, but much less safe than if placed in the back seats of the vehicle.
- Make sure to read the manufactures instructions and guides so the seat is fitted correctly and securely.
5. Using a baby or child car seat
- Place your baby into the car seat from the pavement side of the car. This is the safest place for you and your child.
- Make sure your baby is securely strapped in according to the car seat instructions. When buying the car seat, try and ask the staff if they can help you with how to set it up and how the straps work.
- Always use a rear-facing car seat until your baby out grows it, as they offer the best protection if in a car accident.
We hope you found this car seat guide useful! If you want to get more help like this, sign up to Clair’s Club (at the top of the homepage) for newsletters and more helpful tips!