How do I choose the best car seat for my child?

by | Sep 8, 2020

There are so many different options when choosing a car seat for your little one that it can be an overwhelming experience for any new parent. How do you know what is the best car seat for you and your baby? Tennille Aron asked Operations Director of the car seat brand Maxi-Cosi, Debbie Bilson a few questions to find out what new parents should consider when buying a car seat.

Q. As a first-time parent buying your first car seat for your baby, what are the most important things to consider?

  • It is very important to research the independent safety ratings of any seat that you are thinking about purchasing. You can easily look up these safety ratings on the internet.
  • Choose your car seat based on your child’s current height, weight and age, not on what they will be in the years to come. For first time parents, you will be choosing from the newborn range of car seats.
  • Consider how you would be installing the seat in your car. Depending on the make of your car will either have to consider a seatbelt or Isofix car seat installation.
  • It helps to conduct a role-play exercise to identify what your daily commute will be with your child, and this will help you to understand what type of car seat you will require.
  • Remember to factor in that you may need to alter the placement of passengers in the vehicle and that you may need to carry other passengers as well.
  • Most importantly, consider the features, quality, durability and comfort in relation to how you will be using the seat.

Q. Can you give us some tips on getting the best car seat for you and your family?

The car seat must be an appropriate size for you child and should offer maximum safety for them at their current age and weight.

There are a variety of options of child restraint: Fitment into your vehicle, based on your lifestyle and seats that comply with the relevant safety regulations should be based on your personal and individual preferences. Don’t simply settle for what is popular, ensure that this works with your situation, requirements and is customised to work well with you and your family’s daily commute.

Q. Until what age should your child be strapped into a car seat when they are travelling in a car?

If you child is under 1.35m (the average height of a nine-year-old) they should be in a some form of a car seat.

Q. What is a booster seat and when do parents need this for their child?

A booster seat is a child restraint that caters for children above 105cm in height until around 150cm (approx. 4 years – 9 years). A booster seat is used to raise and properly position the child in a vehicle, while using the seat belt of the car when restraining the child. A booster seat ensures that the seat belt of the car does not rest on a child’s abdomen and/or neck and thus ensures that no injury will be caused by the seat belt should the car be in an accident.

Q. Should your car seat be rear-facing or front-facing for your newborn?

According to the new I size regulation ( the new European car seat safety standard), it is mandatory for children to remain in the rear- facing position until they are 15 months. Children under 15 months have most of their body weight concentrated in their heads. The neck and back muscles are stil developing and only once they can begin supporting their heads sufficiently can they possibly consider forward facing options. Rear-facing is a safer option as this eliminates injuries to the head, neck and spine commonly associated with whiplash in a collision.

According to Bilson, at the end of the day it is important to choose a car seat that is suited to your unique lifestyle and above all else, will keep your child safe when travelling in a car.

“South African consumers are fortunate to have a large selection of well-tested, reasonably priced car seat options that are suited to anyone’s individual needs, there is no excuse not to be using one,” says Bilson. It is Child Passenger Safety Week from the 7 – 11 September 2020. Securing your child in a car seat when you go on any car trip could help to save your child’s life. “Strapping children into a well secured car seat needs to become something we all get into the habit of doing, no matter how short a car trip!” explains Bilson.

For more information on Child Passenger Safety Week, visit