Car seat conundrums: A new mum’s guide
We all know the nervous excitement that comes with discovering you are about to become a parent for the first time right?! Sorting the car seat, baby’s room, cot, change table and buggy are soon to be high on your research list.
Yet with so much to read up on before baby arrives, you’ll suddenly realise that no amount of preparation is ever going to fully prepare you … you’re gonna have to just wing it and accept that that’s ok.
When it comes to car seats for your child, the New Zealand law says, “All children under 7 years of age must use an approved child restraint appropriate for their age and size. Children aged 7 must be secured in a restraint if one is available in the vehicle.”
phil&teds car seat restraint technician Kate explains that “there are three key car seat stages that parents need to prepare for before their child is big enough and old enough to ride safely in a vehicle using the car seat belt only – an infant car seat, a rear-facing convertible car seat and a booster car seat.”
Precious cargo on board (For the infant)
If you intend on leaving the hospital in a car after your baby is born, you’ll need to have this seat ready before going into labour! It is typically from birth to 9-months or 13kgs (whatever comes first), and can be easily installed on its own using the car seat belt, or onto a base making it easier for you to click and go. An infant car seat can also connect to a stroller for quick trips out of the car which can be a convenient option to consider, as we all know how often we have to stop at the shops for those new baby bits and pieces (nappies, baby wipes, you name it!).
The flexible option (The convertible seat)
This style is a great option if you would prefer to buy just the one seat to cover your child from birth to approximately 4-years (or 25kg). It can rear face for newborn up to approximately 2-years, before turning to face forward as your child grows. A convertible will have good recline levels too which is great for kids who nap-on-the-go to support their sleepy heads. However, you will have to move a newborn baby in and out of the seat for every ride with this option, as it is not portable like an infant car seat.
Protection and prime position for your older child (A booster)
This is the final car seat stage for your child to transition to until they are 36kg. A booster seat will often include a harness for a smaller child. As your child grows, the harness can be removed and the booster seat is used with a three-point car seatbelt secured across your child and the booster seat instead. A booster enables your child to still get a great view out the window and offers good side impact protection, right up until when your child graduates to being of the correct size and age to ride safely in a vehicle with only the car seatbelt.