The amount of things you’ll want to buy when shopping for a baby (especially your first) actually completely outweighs the things you’ll need. I say this with love, understanding and a slightly fuller wallet second time around because baby number one had ‘things’ for days! From the multitude of baby wraps (actually a need, trust me on that!), to the nappy wipes warmer (not so much), you’ll almost need a second room just to house some of the things you’ll receive or buy out of confusion. One thing that you cannot even leave the hospital without however (unless you live next door!) is a car seat. Whether a stand alone car seat or a capsule, your baby will spend a lot of time becoming acquainted with it so here are a few tips, questions to ask yourself and things you’ll need to know when purchasing one.

  1. Firstly, you’ll need to decide whether you would like to go down the car sear or capsule route. There are pros and cons to both - while the capsule allows you flow in moving your baby in and out of the car with minimal disruption, the car seat can grow with your baby from newborn to a certain age and prevent you having to buy both.
  2. Secondly you’ll need to look at the pram you’ve chosen, assuming you have got one already. You need to know this because, if you decide to go down the capsule road you’ll have to find a capsule that is compatible. You can buy adaptors, and most prams will have a select number of brands you can choose from, so it’s not too limited.
  3. This brings us along very swiftly to a very important safety point - one of the most important in fact! Rear facing vs forward facing. While I’m sure you’ve heard of this, do you know what they really mean? And the laws in Australia? Babies under six months old must be rear facing in a car - while capsules naturally face this way (hence will only last you a maximum of six months, and realistically closer to four), some car seats do not. It is really important to make sure you’re choosing a car seat that is rear facing and safe for a newborn if this is the seat you choose from birth. Once a child hits the height markers, and is a minimum six months of age, the seat can be turned and reinstalled to become forward facing. Not all forward facing car seats can be rear facing however so be sure to check. There is a push in Australia to take a new look at these laws and have children rear facing until the age of two, however at this point in time this is only a recommendation. From then your child has the same seat until they’re four years old, and from four to seven can move to a booster seat (again, as long as they hit the height markers). Simple yes? More simple than trying to figure out that redundant bottle warmer you got at your baby shower, let me give you a hot tip.
  4. I’ve touched lightly on height markers, so here’s the low down. Each age bracket and seat have a height marker your child must hit to be able to sit in them, and to be able to move out of them. For example there is a height marker in the newborn to four year old combo rear/ forward facing car seat that you child must hit before you can turn it forward facing. If your child is on the smaller side, they could potentially be rear facing until they are one year old (even if you were keeping them rear facing until two), whereas your friends child might be ready to forward face at seven months old. Again, your smaller seven year old might still be sitting in a booster seat, even if the law permits them to sit with just the adult seat belt. The height markers are there for a reason, and it’s so important to abide by them. Good things come in small packages right? Or so every mum says - to their small child!
  5. Size wise - What kind of car do you have? Are you having more than one car seat installed in the back? Are you up to car seat number three in the back? If you answered yes to the last question, please go and pour yourself a large wine and give yourself a huge pat on the back before reading on. Back? OK. Make sure you have the exact measurements of you car when you’re car seat shopping - especially if the entire back of your car is soon about to be occupied. A car seat that is a mere one to two inches wider than another car seat can mean seats not fitting, or one very squished child in the middle. It could also mean a car upgrade so maybe now is the time to accidentally purchase seats too large and be forced to upgrade to that new Kluger. No?
  6. Car seats have to be installed correctly, and more often than not you are simply not up to the job. Again, I say this with love! And safety on the brain. Most shops you buy seats from have their own car seat installer on site, however they require bookings so be prepared ahead of time. You can also Google to see if there are any independent installers in your area. The rough cost can vary anywhere from $30-around $60 and can be the thing that saves your child’s life. An incorrectly installed car seat will move on impact, and a car accident could be fatal. Take note of the person installing, they’ll often be more than happy to show you exactly how they do it so you’re prepared should you need to remove and reinstall your seat in the future.
  7. Finally, cat seats that come in pink with gold sparkles, and can sing Wiggles on command are your best bet. In fact, make sure it has a White Noise app that activates when your baby makes the slightest of sounds, has adjustable hands that reach for dummies that are out of your reach from the drivers seat (this is very important, otherwise you’ll be utilising your hand brake at red lights way too often), and can make a formula bottle in 2.5 seconds. Don’t worry parents, I’ve got your back - Safety First Stacey has put all of these requests to the team at Safety First HQ and we’ll get back to you when we’ve created such a seat. Until then, have a look at the range we do have here.