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Guidelines Towards Choosing the Right Car Seat

  • Wheel Well-Tips/Guides

By Peggie Mars, Wheel Well founder

Choosing a car seat for your child should not be stressful, nor daunting. It is a simple process if you keep some things in mind.

Father placing child into child car seat in rear of car

Newborns

Starting your car seat journey is the easiest part. All new-borns should be in an infant seat for at least the first 6 months, but if you can wing it until they are 15 months or 13kg, so much the better. Infants seats are specifically designed with your new-born in mind. The angle of an infant seat supports the under-developed back at just the right angle to prevent head slump. The seat is also deeper and will envelop your little one within the safety zone of the seat. Infant seats also have superior side impact protection and they are always rear facing. What makes the infant seat even more handy is that you can carry baby in it.

Handy tip:

If your vehicle seat angle makes your installation too upright, you can insert a tightly rolled up towel into the nook between your car seat, the vehicle seat and the backrest of the vehicle seat.

6 months and sitting up

When your baby can sit strong, usually around 6 months, you can start to consider using a convertible car seat. (This is a car seat that combines the infant and toddler mode and can rear face till 13, 18 or even 25kg in some cases and can be installed rear- and forward facing.)

Sitting by themselves is an important milestone as it indicates that the spine and neck are now strong enough to support their body weight. It is also the time that natural curiosity kicks in and little one starts to interact with their world.

The slightly more upright position of a rear facing convertible car seat will give them the opportunity to look and round and see where you are going. Keep your child rear-facing till 15 months, after that it is personal preference.

Handy tip:

Always install a convertible seat in your car before you purchase it. Extend the seat to its highest adjustment to make sure that it will still fit in your car at the maximum rear facing limit. Rear facing seats take up lots of space and not all vehicles can accommodate them.

To assist parents with bigger babies, because we make big babies over here, we have designed a guide that is based on the weight for age clinic card. This will assist you to plot the growth of your child and you will be able to see if your child will outgrow a seat in weight before they are ready for the next seat up in age. Simply find the spot where your child’s weight meets their age and you can project where they will be at the next car seat milestone marked on our chart. If your child is bigger than the average, you can invest in a car seat that harnesses up to 25kg and save yourself money and hassle in the long run.

Child car seats: weight for age – Boys

Child car seats: weight for age – Girls

4 years old and in booster seats

Once your child reaches the booster stage, most of your car seat issues will disappear. Booster seats do not install as such because you use the booster seat in conjunction with the seatbelt to keep your child safe. Children are ready for a booster when they are 4 years old, 105cm tall or 18kg in weight. Booster seats have a top weight limit of 36kg, but this is more to standardise the design of boosters. The booster seat does not bear weight during a crash and their purpose is to make the seat belt fit your child. The seat belt takes the brunt during a crash and is designed deal with weights far more than 36kg. Use your booster seat until your child reaches 1.5m in height.

Handy tip:

Choose a booster seat with a high back that can be used as such till your child is seat belt ready. Good side impact protection will narrow down your search.

Read about Wheel Well and the good work they do, and how you can help.

Disclaimer: This information is for educational or informational purposes only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information. Views expressed in this article are of the author and not necessarily the views of Supa Quick.

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