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Parenting

Car Seat Safety

Learn how to choose the right car seat!

Did you know that many parents do not know that their baby and toddler car seats are either incompatible or fitted incorrectly? Finding the right car seat can be tricky because of the wide range of styles available, countless regulations and growing infant (and toddler) needs too. The bottom line is, not all car seats fit all cars – and standing in the hospital car park with your newborn is not the time to be discovering why your car seat doesn’t fit properly. This is why you have to roll up your sleeves and get the correct car seat before the little one arrives. Car safety is extremely important. Here are some tips to help you and your little one stay safe on the move.

  1. Age or Height Considerations?
    And remember that children under the height 1.35m will be required to use an appropriate car seat. Anyone below the height of 1.35m will be required to be secured with a child restraint appropriate for a person of that height and weight. Use a booster seat to supplement the seat belt or an adjustable seat belt. Those with a height of 1.35m and above, irrespective of their age, will be required to wear a seat belt.
  2. What is ISO-FIX?
    ISO-FIX stands for ‘International Standards Organisation Fix’, a standard which makes fitting a child seat quick, simple and safe.
  3. How does ISO-FIX work?
    The ISO-FIX system uses latches on the back of the car seat which is attached to fix anchorage points in the car, effectively creating a rigid link between the two. A much simpler and safer way of installing car seats, it ensures the best possible protection in the event of an accident.

5 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Car Seat
Feeling confused about which car seat to buy? Here are five questions and answers to help you decide which one suits your baby, your car and your family life.

  • Is Portability Important to Me?
    If you want to be able to carry your sleeping baby from the car to the house or supermarket trolley, go for an infant carrier (Group 0+). These have a handle and are usually lightweight, so they can be removed from the car and carried around, and used indoors as a rocker. You can buy it as part of a travel system with the bonus that it snaps into your pushchair chassis. These are good until your baby weighs 13kg (usually about 12 months old) but you’ll find the infant carrier difficult to lift and manoeuvre after about six months.
  • Do I Want a Fixed Car Seat ?
    If so, you’ll want a combination car seat (also called Group 0+/1). These are larger and costlier, but have a longer life span than infant carriers, lasting from birth until your child is around four years old. Like a toddler car seat, these stay strapped (or fixed) in the car, initially rear-facing, then swivelled to face the front when your child weighs 9kg or can sit unaided.
  • Shall I Buy a Second Hand Car Seat ?
    No! You can never be too careful as you can’t be sure that it hasn’t been in an accident because it may have suffered invisible damage. Even if you know the seat’s history, wear and tear will mean that the belts may not be as tight as they should be.
  • What if My Car Has a Passenger Airbag?
    If so, your baby must go in the back seat – inflated airbags can be lethal to babies. Some airbags can be disabled, but you need to check this with the manufacturer of your car. Side airbags are not a problem.
  • What if Someone Else is Driving my Baby Around?
    If a grandparent or another caregiver will be taking your baby out and about, you will need to check if the car seat will fit in their car too, and they need to practise fitting it.

3 Car Seat Hazards You Must Know
Custom car upholstery
It is important to understand and accept the reality that you may not be able to find a car seat with the perfect colour match. Also, you may find that commercial leather cleaner and protective cream may contain chemicals that may trigger allergies. What you can do: Choose a car seat for its safety function rather than its aesthetic feel. 

Figurines on the Dashboard
Regardless of the type of figurines you collect in the car, it is most likely that they will collect dust and other microscopic germs, especially those woolly ones. On the other hand, you should be extra cautious if you find that plastic display emits a distinctive offensive ‘plastic’ smell – a clear indication that there are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), poisonous carbon-containing chemicals that are volatile enough to evaporate at room temperature. What you can do: It is best to keep the car as clean and clutter-free as possible. Plus, all these little stuff will only give you unnecessary cleaning burden.

Air-conditioning
Studies have shown that passengers can be breathing in more fume particles when taking a ride in the car than when on the streets. Dirty and/or clogged air-conditioning filter can make contaminants build up and become concentrated. What you can do: Send your car for regular air-conditioning maintenance and there is no harm in changing the air-conditioning filter before welcoming baby.

Road Safety Month
Check out the car seat promotion at Mothercare during the Road Safety Month in May. Available in-stores and online at www.mothercare.com.sg. Check out our gallery for the full product listing now! 

What are your tips for choosing car seats? Leave us a comment down below. 


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