Tips for choosing a car seat
Buying or hiring a car seat or capsule for the first time can be a confusing process and yet it is the one piece of baby equipment that you need to get right. Baby on the Move have outlets nationwide where you can get your car seat fitted by an expert for a minimal fee. You can buy car seats or capsule from them, they also hire out capsules and since they are trained Car Seat Safety Technicians you know you will be dealing with experts. Michelle, one of the experts from Christchurch East Baby on the Move, has written this guide to help you make the right choices for your baby.
Car seat safety is our passion
- Try the car seat in your vehicle, as not every car seat will fit all vehicles. When fitted the car seat should not move more than one inch at the seat belt path. Check you are using the correct belt path.
- Young babies should not remain in any car seat for long periods of time - this includes both infant capsules and convertible car seats.
- Infant capsules and most convertible car seats are both suitable for a newborn baby (unless very tiny). Capsules offer more convenience for parents and baby.
- Check that the harness is small enough for a newborn baby and there is sufficient support.
- Learn how to adjust the harness. Front harness adjusters make it easy to loosen and tighten the harness every time you use the car seat.
- Check that the angle of the installed seat is suitable for a newborn baby (i.e. about 45o).
- You get what you pay for - cheaper car seats will generally have fewer safety features than more expensive models, and may be more difficult to use.
- Research the benefits of rear-facing your child. If involved in an accident your baby is up to 5 times less likely to suffer serious injury than if forward-facing.
Buying second hand or borrowing
- check the date of manufacture on the car seat. The lifespan will be between 5 and 10 years from this date. It is illegal (and unsafe) to use an expired car seat.
- Check for damage or deterioration of the plastic and harness.
- Are any parts missing? Make sure the car seat comes with the relevant instruction manual.
- Don't rely on the previous user's knowledge of how to install the car seat. Make sure you read the manual and install it correctly, or have it installed professionally.
Baby on the Move offer...
- trained qualified Child Restraint Technicians to fit car seats
- hiring or buying of car seats and installation for free
- installation of other car seats although a fee may apply
- Capsule hire available from $50
For further information free phone Baby on the Move on 0800 222 966 or go to their website