If you think that belting up with little bubba on your lap is safe enough, think again. The Automobile Association of Singapore issued a grim reminder: When a car travelling at just 50kmh hits an object and stops, an unrestrained kid is thrown forward with a force that’s 30 times his body weight (assuming an average of 10kg for a newborn, the force will be more three baby elephants)! The adult could also be flung forward, hitting that
The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to use rear-facing car seats for children two years and below (roughly up to the height of about 90cm).
Forward-facing seats with child harnesses are better suited to toddlers and preschoolers — and we have a story upcoming about that. Booster seats — which can come with or without a harness — are for school-aged children. Once bubba’s above 1.35m, the adult seat belts should serve well enough.
Installation of car seats are mandated by law not according to the child’s age but by height. So long as kewpie’s below 1.35m, they will need to be seated in an age-, height-, and weight-appropriate child restraint. So be sure to check out the specifications of these seats before buying them. As the driver, if any of your passengers are caught flouting the rule, you may face a fine of up to $120 with three demerit points to your name — the same applies to adult passengers who are travelling without the use of their seatbelts.
There are also combination (sometimes called convertible) seats available on the market. These seats that can be used from birth — rear-facing first, then forward facing until they are 4 to 12 years old. Although these tend to be expensive, you can use them for much longer.
Make sure that your properly installed car seat does not move or slide around. Newer car seats may come with the ISOFix feature that requires your car to have ISO-brackets and a tether strap. While ISO-brackets in cars are mandated by law in the UK, to date, there isn’t much call for them in Singapore. You may wish to check with your car workshops to have them installed.
JOIE GEMM BABY 0+ CAR SEAT
WHAT? The Joie Gemm car seat is compatible with a range of strollers — the Joie Chrome pushchair or any stroller which uses a Maxi-Cosi car seat adapter — which makes for a versatile travelling companion. It can support newborns up to 12 to 15 months (up to 13kg). It comes with a retractable and removable sun canopy which can help shield your little from the sun. As with most newborn car seats, these double as carriers as well, with a handle that goes from one side to the other.
PROS It is compatible with a range of strollers, Yay for more savings!
CONS The Joie car seats need to be secured on the Joie base which is sold separately.
BESAFE iZi GO X1
WHAT? The design of this car seat is heavily influenced by an egg — from the ergonomic curvature of the handle, right down to the seat’s light weight (4.2kg!). The car seat also doubles as a pram (a sun hood is included), after it is locked into an additional chassis sold separately. The five-point harness ensures that baby remains snugly in place no matter how rough the road conditions get. The magnets hidden inside the shoulder straps on either side can keep the harness in place while you settle baby into the seat, a much quieter option than Velcro tapes which also tend to wear out much sooner.
PROS: If you are constantly on the go and use this seat as a carrier, you’d appreciate its light weight.
CONS: While the seat cover is removable and washable, you will need to put it in a 40O wool wash – which can make for a more complicated clean up and drying process.
MAXI-COSI PRIORIFIX ISOFIX – BLACK JACQUARD
WHAT? One of the more well-established brands on the market, this Maxi-cosi car seat includes an additional prop-support at the bottom to ensure the seat is safely nestled in place and at the optimum height for baby. The prop-support also allows up to four reclining positions instead of the usual three in most models we came across. Note that this is a forward-facing car seat suitable for older children upwards of 9 months to 4 years and can support weights between 9 and 18kg.
PROS: The prop-support is an assuring feature as to the stability of the seat especially since it is a forward-facing seat, any help in counteracting forward impact will definitely come in handy.
CONS: At $888, the seat’s really pricey.
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BRITAX MARATHON G4.1 CONVERTIBLE CAR SEAT
WHAT? Another well-established brand on the market, this Britax Car seat is a trusty contender for parents to consider, the SafeCell Impact Absorbing Base of the car seat compresses upon impact to absorb energy and counter any forward movement, thus keeping your child free from coming into contact with the seat in front of them. The SafeCell Complete Side impact protection will also provide junior with all-round protection. As it is convertible, the Britax Marathon can be used all through little kewpie’s growing years with 10 adjustable height positions.
PROS It is certified for aircraft travel although individual airlines might have their own restrictions on the kinds of seats parents may use or bring on board.
CONS As it does not come with a handle, you will not be able to use this seat as a carrier and it isn’t compatible with any known chassis to make a pram/stroller.
COSATTO HUBBUB ISO-FIX CAR SEAT – HUSTLE BUSTLE
WHAT? This series of convertible car seats is big on style, and it’s decorated in two styles: With red double-deckers and various vehicles (Hustle Bustle) or the owls in bright and flashy pastel pink hues (Twee Too). The seat liners are reversible too, which can change up the look of the car seat as it gets used (and abused) through the years. If you already have an ISO Bracket installed in your car, this car will save you the trouble of having to repeatedly wrestling with seat-belt origami.
PROS Even though the cost makes it quite the splurge, the car seat’s high design quotient is sure to please.
CONS Only compatible with the standard three-point vehicle seat belts after kewpie has grown past the 100cm mark, as a Group 2 or 3 chair.
CYBEX PALLAS M-FIX BLACK SEA
WHAT? Another convertible, the Cybex Pallas comes with an adjustable impact shield, which theoretically can reduce the risk of neck injuries. This shield system slides into place over the top of your sweetie’s thighs and tummy, and is meant to function in the style of an airbag. Assuming that your tot is not at the wriggling-out stage… It is claimed that the design of the harness also ensures that baby’s inner-organs are protected in the event of impact. Then there’s the Linear Side-impact Protection System to absorb impact through the separately adjustable protectors on either side — they help “guide” baby’s head back into a safe position.
PROS The linear side-impact protection system works even when kewpie grows up as the headrest is also adjustable to three different positions.
CONS The shield system can make the seat slightly more constrictive, especially if your cherub leans towards the chubby.
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