Written by Editorial Team
We hear about many accidents, where the child, typically placed on the mother’s lap on the passenger side, is killed or grievously injured during head-on collisions. An infant seat can dramatically reduce the risk of death and serious injuries to your child if your car meets with an accident. That is why it is imperative to buy a car seat.
Because a car seat is one of the most crucial investments you will make for your kid, it is imperative that you take your time in selecting the appropriate model for your infant. Prior to making a purchase, it is strongly recommended that you test the safety of the car seat by installing it in the vehicle and buckling the kid into it.
In This Article
Majorly, three types of car seats are available in the market, namely infant car seats, convertible car seats, and booster seats. Since road safety is the main reason that you are investing in a car seat, you must choose one that suits your baby’s age, weight, height, and the type of car you drive.
In many developed western countries, the hospital will discharge the mother and newborn only if the parents’ car is fitted with an infant car seat. Further, the parents are legally bound to continue using baby car seats until the child turns 3 (and can use regular car seats). Many parents feel that they need to hold and cuddle their babies when traveling and not resort to baby seats, which, according to them, lack “warmth”.
This is a wrong attitude. Safety should precede such presumptions. Some parents also think that second-hand or used car seats will also serve their purpose. This is again incorrect, used car seats may not be safe anymore or may not be according to your child’s needs. We, at beingtheparent.com, urge every parent of small children to invest in a baby/infant/child car seat and get their children used to it.
On that note, here are 10 questions you might have and answers for them:
As explained above, you can decide on which car seat you wish to buy- rear-facing ones or convertible car seats. Rear-facing seats are typically used for infants. And as the name suggests the baby in this seat will be facing the back of the car. The advantage of a rear-facing car seat is that it can be taken in and out of the car. So it is easier to move a sleeping baby. The disadvantage is that your baby will outgrow it before he/she turns one.
Convertible seats can be used as rear-facing seats initially when the baby is an infant. And then, as the name suggests, can be converted into a normal child seat that faces the front. The advantage is pretty apparent – you can use the same seat from infancy to toddlerhood hence saving money. The disadvantage is that it cannot be taken in and out of a car like a rear-facing seat
Some brands like Chicco sell a “combo” travel system that is primarily a pram but can be converted into a stroller and a car seat. Such products come with a carrycot as well, so you can use it for your child from infancy.
Although it is very economical to buy a car seat in the second-hand market or just reuse one that your older nieces/nephews used, it is not a very good or safe idea. For one, we cannot be sure if these products are “as good as” new and would work during a collision. Secondly, you might not get the original box or instruction booklet, meaning you do not have any guidance for fixing it in the car.
And lastly, safety technology advances so much every year that it is always better to go for a newer product than something that is years old. Remember, you are buying a baby seat to improve your child’s safety. Let us not compromise on that
Buy a product that has at least 5 harnesses – 2 shoulder straps, and three waist harnesses (two on the sides and one between the legs). This should ensure the baby cannot be jerked out of the seat in the event of an impact.
See how well cushioned the sides of the seats are where the baby’s head might strike. Look for air pads / extra foam in this area
What are the add-on features available? Be aware that some of the car seat brands available in India are imported and hence you might end up paying a premium for no extra benefit. Look for additional features like a larger canopy, better quality and softer fabric, and anti-rebound bars (that restricts the seat’s movement during a crash) if you are paying extra.
Again, as mentioned above, many car seats available in Indian markets are imported and hence not designed for Indian cars. Read the fitting instructions in the box or let the shop executive explain it to you so that you can decide if it will be a fit for your car and requirements.
If you are buying an infant seat and not a convertible one, then your seat will come with a plastic base which you have to install in your car. The actual seat can be buckled into this base when traveling or snapped out of it when getting out. If you have multiple cars, pick an infant seat brand that sells extra seat bases. Thus you can install it in the second car.
If the child seat cover does not come off, then cleaning becomes a nightmare. Pick a model that has detachable, washing machine-safe seat covers.
Ask around your friends and family. Read online reviews. Pick a model that is easy to install, easy to secure your child in, and easy to understand (with respect to the instruction manual). Some retail outlets give product demos. Make use of them and make an informed choice
Always remember, safety comes first!
Children should continue to use a safety harness seat until they are at least 4 years old. Consider switching to a seat with a harness rated for greater weights and heights if your kid outgrows their current one before the age of four.
Most experts agree that a newborn shouldn’t spend more than two hours in a car seat in a single day. A baby’s still-developing spine is strained and airflow to the lungs is blocked when the infant stays in a semi-upright posture for an extended length of time.
An infant car seat is a lightweight and portable seat designed to securely keep a baby or young kid in place in the backseat of a vehicle. It fastens to the back of a standard car seat.
With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.
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