The Philippines recently passed a law requiring children aged up to the age of 12 to use car seats. Thankfully, you still have time to buy one — the LTO won’t be issuing tickets until three to six months from now. But with all the brands and types that are out there today, something as supposedly simple as getting a car seat can become complicated and overwhelming. Here are some car seat buying guide questions to ask that will help make the task a little easier.
The content below was originally published in October 2013.
Does the baby or child fit snuggly and safely into the seat?
The three types of car seats: infant, convertible and booster. They have specific child height and weight measurements and a recommended age range. Make sure the measurement and age requirements match before you make your purchase. The safest choice would be to go for the one that fits now instead of one that he’ll grow into.
How will the seat attach to your car?
Consider the seatbelt situation in your backseat and then check the car seat package’s images to see if it will be compatible to your car. The car seat has to be secure and firmly attached or it defeats the purpose.
What is the history of the product you’re buying?
Whether it’s a brand new seat or a second hand one (particularly if it’s a second hand one), ask the basic questions. Has it been in a car accident? How was it stored? Are the straps brittle? When was it manufactured? US regulations advise the use of car seats that are within six years of its manufacturing date. It also helps to check the product recalls page and see if the style you want falls under this.
How versatile do you need it to be?
If you’re always on the go with your child, you might want the infant car seat that can attach to the same brand of stroller. Sometimes babies sleep best in their car seat, and you wouldn’t want to disturb them by taking them out of it when you stop. An infant car seat is detachable from its base, so you can carry it around anywhere without having to remove the child.
How comfortable is it?
Is it within your budget?
Car seat prices range from practical to very expensive. And as your child grows, you may need more than one. Convertible car seats are generally the most flexible, as they hold children from 5lbs to 40lbs (which is essentially a newborn to 4 years old).
Do you like the way it looks?
Since this will be in your family for quite some time, then at the very least consider if it fits your aesthetic. You can see how much this will affect your final choice once you’ve narrowed down your options based on the other more important criteria.
What have other people said about it?
You’re most likely not the first person to want a particular car seat style. For a more informed decision, check its reviews online or crowdsource amongst other parents and friends.
Have you gotten a car seat yet? Share your recommendations in the comments!