Selecting the safest car seat for a baby is vital as it ensures they can travel whilst being protected. Furthermore, drivers must always use an appropriate car seat in the UK as bound by law, proving just how significant this purchasing decision is.
The car seat market is bursting at the seams with different styles, designs, and alternative seating options, but how can you be sure you are choosing the right one? At Kiddies Kingdom, we have made it our mission to remove the guessing work from these important buying decisions as we understand how overwhelming the task can be. Keep reading if you want to know how to keep a baby safe when travelling by selecting the best car seat.
Why Is It Important to Select the Right Car Seat?
When selecting the right car seat for a newborn baby, parents have two options: an infant or a stage model. Getting the choice spot on is essential as car seats offer an important addition to the protection of a child. This is particularly vital for babies as the car seat not only offers a way to travel safely but must also support their body during the early phases of development. A car seat must benefit neck and spine development, so most models for newborns have features such as internal padding and soft restraints.
Selecting the right car seat is also a legal requirement, with the rule being that any car seats for infants younger than 15 months must be rear-facing. Our complete guide to car seat regulations covers the law in more detail. By understanding these requirements right from newborn stage, parents have the best chance at keeping their children safe during travel as they get older.
There is also the cost aspect of making such an important purchase. Whilst it can be tempting to proceed straight to a stage car seat to eliminate any future costs associated with new purchases, is this the right thing to do? We will discuss further in this article.
What Is an Infant Car Seat?
Now that we have covered what two options are available, let’s look at the models in more detail to ascertain which is the best choice for a baby.
An infant car seat is a rear-facing model suitable for newborns and young babies. Using a five-point harness system, these seats are designed to be incredibly robust and not move out of place during a journey. Most designs also feature a removable carrier and base system, allowing the baby to be easily transported to and from the vehicle in the main part of the car seat. Depending on the selected model, this can also allow integration with a pushchair. Another benefit of this feature is that the child can be securely fastened into place before getting into the vehicle, which is a much safer option. By eliminating the chance of awkward angles preventing incorrect fitting, parents can rest assured their babies are always safe.
A great example of an infant car seat that we recommend is the Maxi Cosi Pebble 360 Pro – Cybex Cloud T – Aviounaut Pixel Pro. The versatile model can be used from birth to approx. 15 months, allowing new parents a good amount of usage from this fully supportive model. The car seat is installed via the FamilyFix 360 base, which can be swivelled easily, making it simpler to attach the car seat. Other features ideal for babies include the hugging-style inlay, a revolutionary ClimaFlow system to help regulate the baby’s temperature and G-CELL side impact technology to maintain protection at all times.
What Is an All Stage Car Seat?
An all-stage car seat, otherwise known as a convertible car seat, can technically be used from birth to the maximum legal limit. As the name would suggest, these models are designed to be used in various configurations to support the child’s specific needs based on their age, height and weight.
This could be an option if you are looking for a car seat that can transition and change as a child grows due to a lower budget or a desire to purchase only once. However, you will notice that these seats are much bulkier because they need to be used differently, making them more difficult to use.
An example of an all stage car seat that we recommend is the Amana Siena Twist+, Silver Cross Motion All Size. This model bypasses issues commonly arising in convertible car seats by offering extreme safety. Not only is the model i-Size and R129 approved, but it also offers ergonomic engineering and an Isofix base-to-base usage. This car seat includes removable padding, 360 rotation, and adjustable harnesses to help parents modify the positioning of babies through to older children.
What Type of Car Seat Is Best for a Baby?
Now that we have covered both options, you should clearly understand the pros and cons associated with each. In our expert opinion, an infant carrier and car seat will always be the recommended model for a baby. If your budget allows for the purchase of an infant and then a different type of car seat as the child ages, this is the best option.
Although all-stage car seats can offer protection for babies if the best models are selected, they sometimes lack the enhanced safety features needed to keep infants protected. Infant car seats are designed to be firm fitting and are only used in one position, which ensures the recommended posture of a baby can be maintained. If using an all-stage car seat, there is always the risk that the positions could not be as secure due to the seat’s enhanced functionality.
When travelling with a newborn or young baby, there are enhanced risks at play. However, with an infant car seat, parents can mitigate these and give themselves peace of mind.
Features to Look For When Choosing an Infant Car Seat for Your Baby
As mentioned, an infant car seat with an integrated travel system is a brilliant option. If you can afford a model like this, we would recommend it as it means the safety element is available to your baby everywhere, not just when travelling in the car. Travel systems are also ideal as they allow the baby to be transported around more easily and are often ergonomic and easy to transport. The fixings are designed for the specific system, allowing better fitting.
All infant car seats should also be supplied with removable and adjustable inserts. Ensuring the model you select has these means the infant car seat is safe for newborns through 15 months. Padding is essential for helping babies retain the recommended posture, supporting their heads and keeping them secure in a comfortable position. The padding can also be cleaned easily to ensure the car seat remains germ-free.
Safety Tested Fixings
This point may seem obvious, but you must always check that the model is safety assured. Ensuring these have been i-Size tested and recommended makes it easy to understand what models will protect an infant should they be involved in a road traffic accident. i-Size approval accounts for overall impact testing and a side impact test, so seats should offer better all-round protection.
On a side note, it’s always essential to ensure you have fitted a car seat correctly as no matter how brilliant the safety features are, they will not work to their maximum potential if incorrectly installed.
Lastly, infant car seats should include a recommended recline to ensure the baby’s head never falls. All rear-view seats have this, and if you select a reputable model that has been safety tested, the recline provided will be correct for newborns and babies to use.
Keep Your Baby Safe with Kiddies Kingdom
Choosing a car seat can be complex, but hopefully, you understand what option will likely be best for your child. By selecting a birth to 15-month infant seat, you can have complete peace of mind knowing your baby is travelling comfortably.
When you are ready to move to the next size of the car seat, we have options for you separated into handy ages to make the next shopping stage equally as simple. Offering everything from car seat accessories to seats for 6 to 11 years, our collection has been chosen by experts to ensure parents do not have to worry about selecting the right items. To find out more, view our car seats or contact our team.