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Choosing Car Seats for Children

When you initially purchase your vehicle, you might not have expectations to start a family around the corner. However, when the moment eventually arrives, and you welcome a new addition to the family, many motorists are ill-equipped to transport the family around as they don’t own a child car seat. The decision making purchase can be somewhat confusing, so we’re here to provide you with the information you’ll need to choose car seats for your children.

The two most critical factors in selecting a car seat for your child are the age and the size of your child. Accordingly, as they grow they will progress through three car seat variations. These include a rearward facing seat, a forward-facing seat, and a booster seat.

It’s important to ensure that the seat chosen is appropriate for your child in question. It also needs to be installed correctly so as to ensure that it does not move around freely and is held tightly in place (with only a small degree of slack). The product you choose must also conform to Australian standards, so it is critical that you do not purchase any knockoffs or cheap imitation products. After all, no money is worth saving at the expense of your child’s safety.

Rearward facing seats are compulsory for infants up to 6 months old, where they will need to be secured in via a series of harness points. With this, there are also several models designed according to the height of the child. There is some discretion between rear seats or forward seats once the child passes 6 months. Among rear-facing solutions, for children up to 70cm or 9 months of age, Type A1 is designated. For children up to 80cm tall or approximately 12 months old, Type A2 is specified. Lastly, Type A4 is nominated for children who are 2 to 3 years old.

Once a child has moved on from a rearward facing seat, they will progress to a forward facing restraint. This seat must have 5 or 6 points of connection to secure it firmly. This seat, specified as Type B, is designed for children up to 4 years old.

Next, booster seats are designed for children from about 4 years up to 8 years old who have progressed beyond the previously mentioned forward facing restraint seat. Booster seats are also a variation of a forward facing seat, albeit incorporating belts. This iteration is specifically referred to as Type E or F, with recent changes phasing out additional cushioning – something which parents are advised against using.

Other variations may also exist, so it pays to check with sales staff and experts on what is most suitable for your child.

Overall, motorists should familiarise themselves with the specifications of their vehicle before they start the shopping process. Not only does this concern placement and installation of the seat in question (anchor points, seatbelts, and airbags), but also whether there is sufficient space for the seat to fit. Opting for a seat with well-defined instructions will make things a lot easier, plus provides peace of mind. Furthermore, you might want to consider a seat made from material that is easy to clean.


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