A baby car seat is among the most important things to buy for a newborn.
That’s because you may not even be able to take your baby home from the hospital without one!
The laws of Singapore state that anyone under the height of 1.35m should be secured with an appropriate restraint, seatbelt, or booster seat. This means you won’t even be able to put your newborn in the car or taxi for the trip home without an infant car seat.
If you’re not sure how to pick one suitable for your needs and your baby, though, we can help. Below is our guide for those asking how to choose a baby car seat.
Figure Out Which Type You Need
There are several types of baby car seats you can pick.
The most common categorisation splits them up into 4 options: infant car seats, convertible car seats, all-in-1 car seats, and booster car seats.
It’s pretty easy to figure out when you need an infant car seat. These models are for infants and can typically support only babies up to 16kg.
Infant car seats are also usually rear-facing ones. Most recommend switching to forward-facing configurations only after the child has turned at least 2 years old.
Booster car seats, on the other hand, are generally for children 5 years and up. Most people consider booster car seats to be for those who weigh 22kg and up, and who have outgrown their baby car seats but still need some assistance to sit in a car.
Convertible car seats are among the “multipurpose” car seat types. That’s because they can be converted to suit either an infant or a toddler.
All-in-one car seats are similar but even more adaptable. They can actually be converted for use by either infants or children already of age for a booster seat.
Obviously, the multipurpose options on the list offer the most value. You may be wondering why people don’t just pick them by default then.
That’s because they’re usually heavier and quite a bit clunkier than the less adaptable versions. They’re also more expensive upfront, in most cases!
Check Height and Weight Limits
Car seat types are usually determined by this, but it’s best to be certain by looking up these figures for specifics.
Be sure that your baby falls well within the height and weight limits. If he just barely fits in them, you may want to consider scaling up to the next size or type of car seat.
That’s because babies grow so quickly, and your baby may well outgrow the car seat shortly after you purchase it.
If there’s a significant bit of leeway, on the other hand, it should be fairly safe to invest in the car seat you’re considering. Your baby will likely still be able to use it for quite a while.
Note that the convertible and all-in-one options obviously tend to have a leg up on others in this area. Since they’re designed to last a while, they often have the highest weight and height limits.
Consider Your Car Model
A lot of parents aren’t aware of it, but some baby car seats are actually incompatible with certain cars.
Whether it’s due to the way seat belts are positioned or the shape of the cushions, this can lead to incorrect installation of the car seat. And that’s obviously a safety hazard!
You have a number of options here.
First, you can ask the vendor or manufacturer of the car seat you’re checking out whether or not they’ve tested the car seat in question on a car of the same model as yours.
Second, you can check reviews online to see if others with cars like yours have installed it in their vehicles successfully.
Inspect Its Installation Procedures
You should also take a look at the procedure for installing the car seat to see if you can manage it.
You see, some seats may require such fiddly instruction that parents get it wrong each time.
And each time you install a car seat improperly, you risk your child’s safety.
So, it’s best to get a car seat whose installation procedure you can actually understand and perform perfectly multiple times.