How To Choose A Child Car Seat?

Choosing a car seat is a dilemma that we solve before the birth of a baby. But also later in the life of the child is an important decision. We want it to be as safe as possible.

The offer is very wide. Choose a proven company or a less known one, but cheaper? Buy a new one in the store or on Allegro, “second-hand”? Beautiful and colorful, or in a darker, practical cover?

 

We hope to help you make the right decision.

In the seat we are obliged to carry children from birth to the age of 12 or reaching 150 cm. growth.

Before choosing it, let’s get to know the categories of car seats, depending on the weight of the child:

  •   0-10 kg (up to approx. 9 months old)
  •   0-13 kg (up to 12-15 months)
  •   9-18 kg (from 9 months to 4 years of age)
  • 15-25 kg (from 3 to 7 years of age)
  • 22-36 kg (from 6 to 11 years old)

Where to buy a car seat?

Despite various “occasions”, it’s best to choose it in the store . If you do not know the origin of the car seat (we buy, for example, at a bazaar or online auction), it may turn out to be of poor quality or involved in an accident.

We can assess the ” age” of the seat based on the degree of destruction of some harness components and fasteners, because new ones cannot be purchased separately . Even if it looks nice from the outside, it may have damage inside . And this significantly reduces security. After the accident he should be thrown out.

According to experts, the car seat should not be used for more than 5 years from the date of manufacture . After this time, the materials from which it is made age. The warranty applies only to the first purchaser. There are no service points for “after warranty” seats.

You can’t save on a car seat. It is worth to bet on proven brands that have been on the market for years and have passed many tests. Crash test results (ADAC, OEAMTC, AA, ANWB) of various models are available online . Reviewing them helps a lot to make a decision.

In the store, be sure to ask the seller for advice. It will tell you which model is the best and fits our car. Some can only be mounted on a car that has Isofix fasteners – used to rigidly connect the car seat or its base to the car frame (considered the safest).

In addition, the seller will show you how to properly attach the car seat to the car. The seat cannot wobble or slide.

 

ATTENTION ! ! !

The seat must have a safety certificate issued by the National Automotive Institute. There is a sticker on the body to indicate this. The latest and strictest standard is ECE R44 / 04 .

And one more dilemma. This applies especially to mothers  . Choice of upholstery color . Opt for beautiful bright colors, eye-catching, or dark, not so effective? In our experience, it is better to bet on the latter. It’s not about some ugly burea. But really works well, e.g. pomegranate, gray, dark green. Then each spot does not turn into a disaster. And washing the cover every other day is not the nicest way to spend time. Darker upholstery looks aesthetically pleasing even when used intensively. And we have at least one “problem” of our minds  .

 

Baby car seat

For babies, we buy baby cradle seats , mounted rearward – facing in the rear seat or front (cannot have an active airbag!). They are attached to the base or fixed with a three-point car seat belt.

Baby seats are shaped accordingly. The child is lying down in them . The bottom is the lowest, the back and legs higher. According to doctors, this is the safest way.

When pinning a child, it is good to put your own hand under the buckle that fastens the harness. Then the seat belts will not be fastened too tightly or too loosely.

 

What to look for when choosing a car seat?

– crust

  • it absorbs impacts
  • it is best to choose a deep model, with quite high, massive sides
  • Safe Side is an additional protection that protects the child in the event of a side impact
  • ventilation system guarantees air flow inside the car seat

– additional insert

  • softens the seating angle of newborns and younger infants
  • has a roller covering the head

– harness

  • braces can be 3- or 5-point, fastened with a central lock
  • length adjustment and convenient tightening system (pay attention to be able to easily and quickly change the length of the braces when, e.g. a child is warmer dressed)
  • they should have soft protectors so that they do not rub the child

– headband

  • strong, contoured (important when carrying a baby)
  • tiltable (so that the seat can be used as a bouncer)

– upholstery

  • made of strong material, pleasant to the touch, not chafing
  • it is important that it can be easily removed and washed if necessary
  • An additional terry cover is included with some car seats

– assembly

  • is it easy
  • some models have Isofix – a system of rigid connection of the seat or base with the car frame; according to experts, this is the best stabilizing installation, but to use it, the car must be equipped with Isofix fasteners

– extras

  • some car seats have a “color indicator”, which informs you whether the activity performed, e.g. fitting the child seat or placing the child is correct
  • tops or bows with toys (additional protection – against boredom on the go)

And one more thing Dear Dads! If the car seat is fastened with car seat belts, practice its assembly before you collect your baby from the hospital. Our child was born in the winter. So we carried them to the car in the car seat. Throwing up in the back seat with a screaming newborn among the tangled belts is recalled after years of laughing. But it wasn’t a blissful beginning to travel together  .

Changing the seat to a larger one (> 9 kg)

Do not transplant the baby too soon into a larger, forward-mounted seat. The cradle seat, rearward, is the safest and best protects your head and spine. Let our baby travel backwards as long as possible.

We change the seat only when the child weighs more than the permissible weight for the model or when his head starts to protrude above the edge of the seat. And of course, when he is probably sitting alone.

There is one more “critical” moment. When the curious boy begins to rebel against limiting his field of vision. So many interesting things are happening behind the glass, and he has a view of the back seat back! So you try with all your strength to get out of the seat while driving, while raising a shout of battle. This is a sign that we need to think about a “big change”  .

 

We choose a child seat (9-18 kg)

This car seat is installed in the forward-facing car . We use an Isofix system or a 3-point car seat belt.

We can carry a child who can sit alone and weighs at least 9 kg.

After buying a car seat, we go with the child . We plant the toddler and check whether he is comfortable in this model. For example, some children do not accept the so-called “impact shield” in the form of a soft barrier. It is important that the baby is not cramped, that he can move his arms and legs freely. Let’s also take into account that sometimes the child is dressed in overalls – and we also have to fit them in the car seat.

From our own experience, we recommend models with a higher seat – the child has a much larger field of view. And this also significantly affects the parent’s traveling comfort  .

What to look for?

– backrest tilt adjustment

  • allows you to change the child’s position to a reclining position
  • it is important that it can be done easily, quickly and quietly when the toddler falls asleep without waking him

– seat width adjustment

  • allows you to put a baby dressed in a thick jacket in the car seat
  • if this adjustment is not made, pay attention to whether the seat is wide enough

– headrest

  • preferably when it is adjustable and it can be raised higher when the child is larger

– Safe Side (side protection system)

  • protects the head from the sides

– assembly method

  • Isofix is ​​very safe described earlier (only on cars with this system)
  • additional pulls and car belt locks

– harness

  • the safest are 5-point belts, with adjustable length
  • strong, with foam padding so that they do not cut into the shoulders
  • having a clasp that the child cannot unhook
  • Let’s see if they have an easy-to-use tensioner
  • some have a color indicator that shows if they have been fastened correctly

– side armrests

  • comfortable, protecting the child’s body from the sides

Choosing a car seat for an older child

Usually, children use these car seats for the longest time. That is why this choice is very important.

 

What to look for?

– tiltable backrest

– comfortable headrest with adjustable height

– width adjustment around the shoulders

– guides for the belts in the headrest and armrests (the child in such a seat is fastened with a three-point car seat belt).

 

Security

We fasten the toddler before setting off on the tour . And when we are going, the child cannot leave the seat for a moment. Even when he is whining a lot. When we want to change them or breastfeed them, we just have to stop the car.

We never bring a baby on his lap. In the event of sudden braking or impact, the child’s body weight “increases” several dozen times. We can’t keep him. Or we crush our own weight. Even if we have full confidence in our driver, we will not foresee everything that happens on the road.

 

Where to install a child car seat?

 According to statistics, it is safest to place the child seat in the center of the rear seat. However, we can only do this if there is an Isofix system or a three-point seat belt (that is, also covering the torso when an adult sits there).

It is widely believed that the second most important place in terms of safety is behind the driver (but there is no convincing evidence for this). It is certainly more convenient to place the child seat on the seat behind the passenger . Especially when the toddler goes with only one parent who is also a driver. In addition, when we stop for a moment, if only to let the child pee, it is safer to get off from the side of the road, not the road.

However, experts agree on one thing. The car ‘s rear seat is much safer than the front seat.

 

Safe trip! 

 

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