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Car Seats, any advice for a first timer with no clue??

(14 Posts)
LDNmummy Thu 16-Jun-11 14:06:50

I have decided to buy a car seat as it seems that it doesn't matter whether or not you own a car, you will probably need one regardless.

I was also advised me that it can be good for using inside the house for carrying baby room to room etc...

I would like to get a rear facing one as apparently they are much safer, but other than that I have no clue confused

There are so many different types and although I know I need one for a new born, I don't know much else. One thing I was wondering is if they are sold so babies can grow into them IYSWIM. My DH and I live in central London and neither of us own a car or drive so it will be used sparingly. For this reason I dont want to spend a load of money on one every 6 months (unless that is the only option of course).

Any advice would be so appreciated smile

Pootles2010 Thu 16-Jun-11 14:09:56

What sort of pram are you getting?

buttonmoon78 Thu 16-Jun-11 14:12:53

You have to use a rear facing seat until a certain weight anyway.

Most people opt for a 0-12month one to begin. After that, generally you have one to last til about 3/4 years.

If you want to use it to transport your baby about the house (I never did) then you'll need a 0-12m one as otherwise it'll be like picking up and armchair constantly!

How will you be coming home from the hospital though? You'll need one for that or need to borrow one. Unless you're having a home birth of course.

If I were you, I would get a combined rear/forward facing car seat. You can use it for a newborn and keep it rear facing until the baby's legs are at risk in a collision. It will last you for 3/4 years. I think the portability element is overrated unless you use it daily.

The only issue is storage - they are pretty hefty!

Jojay Thu 16-Jun-11 14:15:40

There are two main types you should consider.

The first is an infant carrier, or a Group 0 / 0+.It is rear facing and will last until the baby is about 1. They have a handle so you can lift the baby out of the car, and many will rock a bit when put on the floor. Popular models include the Maxi Coxi Cabriofix, but there are loads out there.

The other is a Group 0 / 1, or combination seat. It goes rear facing from birth, then can be turned to forward facing once the baby is about 1. It will then last until the child is 3/4. The only drawback is that it can't be lifted out of the car easily, unlike an infant carrier, but if you ar only using it occasionally it may work out better value for money, as it will last much longer. The Britax First Class is a good example of this type of seat.

Hope that helps smile

Jojay Thu 16-Jun-11 14:17:10

'scuse typo - Maxi Cosi

nannyl Thu 16-Jun-11 14:23:48

when tested by which most (if not all) of the group 0 / 1 car seats are not nearly as safe as car seats that are just for one group.

As you wont be using often probably best to opt for one that just belts in (no worries then about a base, though many that have bases can be belted too)

The group 0 car seat safest when strapped in is the britax babysafe II SHR.

Its on offer in mothercare right now (£69.99 instead of RRP £140) so not even that expensive. When used with its isofix its also the safest car seat tested by which.

lasts until 13kg / 12months ish, maybe even 15 months if baby isnt huge...

was also on offer in bambino direct for £104 and boots for same price too... but i ordered mine last week from mothercare.

mouseanon Thu 16-Jun-11 14:26:50

If you're going to be putting it in and out of different cars I think you need to get an infant carrier like these because the bigger fitted seats mentioned above really need to be fitted specifically to the car that they are going to be used in. You need one that is fixed with a seatbelt rather than isofix, again because of taking it in different cars. Maxi Cosi and Britax seats usually score well in the Which tests for safety but having said that if you are only going to use it rarely then you may want to go for something a lot cheaper.

The infant carrier will last you until the baby is around 12 months, thereafter it will get more complicated because of the fitting issue. Infant carriers are usually ok to go in most cars, as are the booster seats they move on to when they're around 4. It's the in between stage that's tricky, but you can cross that bridge when you come to it.

worldgonecrazy Thu 16-Jun-11 14:26:58

If you want to stay rear-facing until your baby is four, then be warned, the rear facing ones are bulky. However, weigh up against that they are five times safer than a forward facing seat under the age of four. I didn't find any rear facing that were suitable from birth to four, you will probably need to buy two separate seats. One for 0-12 months and one for 1-4 years. The good news is that most of the rear facing baby carriers (0-12 months) are reasonably priced unless you want one of the super-duper ones.

Tangle Thu 16-Jun-11 14:30:23

Why do you think you'll definitely need a car seat if you don't have a car? How often do you think you're going to use it? How much space have you got to store it in? How many different cars will it need to fit in?

The longer you want a seat to last, the more its likely to cost and the bulkier its likely to be. If you get a Grp 0+/1 (newborn through to about 4) seat, you're very unlikely to be able to carry it easily from room to room with a baby in - that said, a car seat isn't a particularly great place for a baby to be (its not a very good position for their breathing and parents are advised to use them for no more than 2hrs at a time (top). for around the house a Moses basket / bouncy chair / bumbo (when they're a little bigger) would probably be a much more practical option.

There is the Kiss seat which is a purely RF Grp0+/1 seat - but its £300. Does come with an integrated push handle and wheels, though, and is designed to be wheeled with the child in it (for short distances).

Be aware that not all seats fit all cars.

Personally, I'd talk to someone like these ladies, who are independent of any shop or manufacturer and extremely experienced. They'll be able to help you determine what the most appropriate car seat is for your circumstances.

LDNmummy Thu 16-Jun-11 14:52:14

Thanks guys!

So much more info than I have found anywhere online.

Pootles I have gotten a Bugaboo Bee.

Button we will definitely need it to come home from the hospital as will be doing so by car.

I don't mind changing the seat every year.

Tangle we will be using taxi's a lot and apparently you need one for that. Plus when getting into other people's cars such as grandparents. Space to store it isn't bad, we can keep it in the baby's room I think. We will probably use it once every week or two weeks. Thanks for letting me know about the two hour max rule, I will get a bouncy chair and moses basket too so that will be ok.

I didn't know you could get combination seats. Will probably go for that as it looks like bubs has long legs.

The seat needing a base is one thing I wasn't sure about as I would have to move it to different vehicles regularly, I wasn't sure how that worked so glad to know there are belt in only ones and thanks for the info nannyl, will look that one up for sure.

World I will look into your suggestion too as I was keen on getting rear facing only because of the safety aspect.

As I said, complete novice so thanks a lot for the help guys!

Pootles2010 Thu 16-Jun-11 15:55:33

Ah afraid I know nothing [Fawlty Towers moment, ahem] about bugaboo, sure others will! You probably want one that fits that though.

Regarding taxis - I don't think legally do you need one, however I'm pretty sure you'd want one!

We had a graco junior iirc, really wouldn't recommend it. Our ds never looked hugely comfy in there, a lot of my friends had maxi cosi's which, although more expensive, looked really snug.

Tangle Thu 16-Jun-11 16:17:42

If you're likely to need one every week or so then buying definitely makes sense (sorry - some people are told they "need" a car seat to get home from hospital, even though they're walking/going by bus - wasn't clear if this was the type of "need" you had).

In all honesty I'd contact those ladies in Essex and ask their advice, or find a good independent retailer and ask them. In your situation it sounds like you want a safe car seat that will fit a variety of cars - IIRC there are some seats that require long seat belts, which is fine if its to go in your own car and it fits, but they'd probably advise against a seat like that for you (and they'll know exactly which ones they are).

If you're interested in RF through a Grp1 seat (to about 4), would be worth looking at smile

Jojay Thu 16-Jun-11 16:34:33

The bugaboo's take the Maxi Cosi Cabriofix ( I think) so you could click that carseat on to form a travel system, which might be useful.

Double check that though, I may have got that wrong grin

iskra Thu 16-Jun-11 16:44:10

Depending on where grandparents live, you might want to get carseats to live with their cars. They are bulky things (particularly post one year) & a nightmare to carry around with you to get it to the car, if you see what I mean. We took the carseat on the train once to my parents, & after that experience we got a carseat to keep at their house.

You don't need a carseat for taxis, legally.

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