When it comes to buying a car seat most parents feel overwhelmed. Overwhelmed at the price, the different options, contradictory information, the law and anecdotal advice. We’ve made a guide on how to choose the best car seat that cuts through the noise and will help you make an informed decision that fits your lifestyle and budget. Here’s a list of what to consider, what questions to ask and more.
One of the most popular questions when it comes to buying a car seat is: What is the best and safest but cheapest car seat?
While some prices might seem steep, one way is to look at the total price and calculate how long the seat will be used for and work out the cost per month. Avoid fake and illegal car seats at all costs. Here’s a guide on how to spot them.
Every legitimate car seat sold in South Africa will have an orange sticker displayed on it that will give the weight and/or age range that the seat is designed for. The installation stickers on the side of the seat will give the weight limits for rear and forward-facing installations as well. Blue usually indicate rear-facing and red will indicate forward-facing.
Remember that whatever your budget, make sure the car seat has been tested. The AA has a list of child car seat safety ratings, which takes things like safety, comfort and usability into consideration. To get seats onto the market, manufacturers have to go through a minimum testing standard. Always buy from a reputable place and if you are unsure of anything ask the salesperson or contact the manufacturer.
Take your child’s height, age and weight into consideration
- Infant seats can be used until your child is 13kg or 15 months. They should always be rear-facing.
- A harnessed seat is required until your child is four years old.
Suggestions for parents heading out to purchase a car seat:
- Do some online investigation on car seats in South Africa before leaving the house.
- Contact the car seat manufacturers directly. Most of them are on Facebook, so reach out and engage. No question is silly. They will gladly assist you.
- Do not take social media platform conversations and forum chatter as factual. Rather contact the brands directly for more information.
- Query the manufacturers about warranties and what customer services they offer.
- Some car seat manufacturers offer to replace your car seat free of charge if you and your child are involved in an accident.
- Always purchase the best car seats you can afford and use it correctly according to the car seat manual.
For more on car seats and breaking the law, read here.