Tips for buying a Car Seat

 In Car Seat, General, Parenting

There is only one way to transport your little Bambino home from the hospital, and that is in a car seat (unless you are one of the few that has a home birth – but you would still need a car seat to transport your little Bambino around). Or maybe you just need a new car seat for your toddler?

Yes, it is frustrating and confusing when it comes to choosing the right car seat, as there are many different options to choose from, such as Infant carriers or combo car seats. But which one do you want?

Well we want to help…

Here are some tips to choosing the right car seat for your little Bambino:

1. The Car….
Yes the car is the first step. First thing you need to do is read your cars manual. Does your car have ISOFIX? If yes then maybe and ISOFIX seat is something to consider. If not your only option is a seat belt instalment car seat. Does you car have top tether? As you may find a seat you really like but you need top tether also to install the seat. Read your user manual and find out these basics. Car that have all three options can use any car seat. cars that have only ISOFIX and 3 point seat belts only have the option of 2 different types where as cars that only have a 3 point seatbelt system are limited to seat belt installations only.

We would recommend that you also measure the back seats of your car, as car seats are all different shapes and sizes. If you already have an idea of what seat you are looking for then take you car to your nearest baby store and see if they offer car seat testings in your car.
Another Tip – Some manufactures have fitment lists that show which car seats fit in to different cars. Maybe also contact them to see if the seat you want will fit in your car.

2. Rearwards is Key!
Car seats can be very pricey and with so many options on the market it’s making you stress out even more. We have found that a lot of parents like to purchase multistage seats, (from birth to 4 years, From birth to seven years or From birth to 12 years) and some parents like to purchase Travel Systems (Pram and infant carrier) as you can insert the infant carrier onto the pram making life a lot easier, specially with a newborn.

By law a child weighing under 9kgs must be in a rearward facing car seat, but we recommend that a child stays rearward facing until at least 4 years old. It has been proven to be safer in a car crash. This is another thing to consider. Do you want to purchase a car seat that has extended rearward facing mode (we recommend this option), but if your little one is not so little and can’t rearwards face their are also extended harness options of up to 25kgs, before changing to the next stage on a multi stage seat. There are so many things to consider when it comes to purchasing the right car seat that we do not blame you if you’re getting frustrated even reading this. But we are still going to help try take some of the stress off with our next point…..

3. Testing Testing!!!!!
Obviously all parents want to know which car seats are the safest and which ones should be avoided like the black plague. But we can make it simpler. When choosing a car seat to make sure they have been tested, you will find a sticker on each car seat or car seat base. In South Africa we follow european car seat testings therefore you would find a orange sticker located on the back or side. The bases generally have them underneath. On the orange sticker you will find printed in black is as follows : European R44 standard. The orange ECE R44 approval label guarantees that the car seat complies with the basic safety requirements as set out in the European safety standard ECE R44. The orange label can also indicate that the car seat complies with the new i-Size safety standard and thereby guarantees an even better safety performance.

Some car seats go for independent crash testings which can be found online ( etc). The independent crash testings test as follows: the security, service, ergonomic, pollutants.

The conclusion is – Make sure the seat you are choosing has been tested by the standard EU testings or independently.

4. Focusing on the features!!
Low end car seats – If you’re planning to purchase an infant carrier or multistage car seat, we recommend looking at the following features lower end models have. Make sure the cars eat has a 5-point harness as well as side impact protection – The is additional for or air pads that are on either side of baby’s head, making it a lot more safer during an accident. Also have a feel of the cushioning of the chair and the fabrics as cheaper chairs often are hard which will make the chair slightly uncomfortable. There are a few low end car seats that offer extra cushioning on the seat to make it more comfortable for babies.

If you have boat loads of money or you’ve been saving up to purchase a more premium car seat, there are more features to take a look, these seats to will come with a 5-point harness and side impact protection, but they have a lot more features to offer, such as extra cushioning around the seat and quality fabrics (price increase), they will also have more newborn inserts for extra safety for your newborn Bambino. They will also have extra stability support with a load leg which creates less movement if involved in a crash. ISOFIX and Top Tether can also bring that price up but there are few lower end models that have a load leg, ISOFIX and Top Tether. Canopy’s on infant carriers can also increase the price. Another feature to look out for is do you want to have easier access to put baby and take baby out of the seat? Maybe have a look at a car seat that can swivel.

But wait there are more features that you can take a look at while you are out and about looking for that perfect car seat.
The harness of carseats are now full adjustable and they no longer need to be re-threaded like way way way back in the day, this makes life a lot easier for parents and baby. The headrest are now adjustable with growth, the handle is located on the back back of the headrest. Also most car seats now recline (multistage seats) making traveling a lot more comfortable.

5. Cleaning car seats!!
Every parent wishes that car seat cover could just clean themselves, but that would be physically impossible. But its okay because now car seat covers can come off easily and you can chuck them in the washing machine and a gentle cycle 30 degrees or less. We always advise parents to please wash the covers in baby friendly products as harsh chemicals can damage the fabrics. AT least cleaning the covers isn’t such a hack to do anymore. Well it is 2019…..

We do hope that is post will help you into selecting a seat that is perfect for you 🙂

Have a look at our Bambino range of car seats and travel systems.. Maybe you’ve been on the website with the perfect seat for you this whole time while reading this 🙂


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