A car seat is definitely an important accessory that one must invest for our baby once they arrived. Although most mothers would prefer to carry their infant in their arms while travelling, this is certainly unwise for safety reasons. Without any proper restraints, a collision even at 50km/hour could prove fatal to the baby, who could be crushed by the weight of the mother, strangled by the front seat belt or thrown against the dashboard or through the windscreen.
Ryan started with an infant car seat from Peg Prego and when he outgrew it, we finally invested in a Chicco Proxima car seat that could accommodate Ryan till 4 years old (or 18kg).
Since we rely heavily on the car seat to protect our baby in the event of an accident, it is paramount that the car seat manufactured has to pass certain certification to verify that the specifications of which the car seat was designed and built were able to provide the safety level required. It is pointless to buy a very affordable car seat that has not been tested extensively or certified fit to do the job. Hence, it is critical that an appropriate car seat (regardless of brands or price) MUST conform to the United Nations standard, ECE Regulation 4403.
Weight of the child is the most important factor in deciding the type of car seat to use. Manufacturers have also categorized the different types and model based on the weight of the child.
Rearward facing Baby Seats
Group 0 for babies up to 10kgs (22lbs), roughly from birth to 6-9 months
Group 0+ for babies up to 13kg (29lbs), roughly from birth to 12-15 months
Forward facing Child Seats
Group 1 for children weighing 9-18kgs (20-40lbs), roughly from 9 months to 4 years
Group 2 for children weighing 15-25kgs (33-55lbs), roughly from age 4 to 6 years
Group 3 for children weighing 22-36kgs (48-79lbs), roughly from age 6 to 11 years
It is always safer to put Group 0 and Group 0+ car seat in the rear and placed it rearwards facing to provide higher protection for the baby’s head, neck and spine. NEVER place a car seat in the front passenger seat if there is a passenger airbag.
It is also common now to find some child restraints or car seats that are capable of being converted as the child grows and hence, fit into more than one group. The Chicco Proxima for example, can cater babies from newborn (Group 0) to 18kg (Group 1).
So, if you are shopping or thinking of upgrading your child’s car seat, I hope that this basic information will be of help. Remember, SAFETY FIRST!