Choosing The Right Booster Seat and Restraint
How to Choose the Right Child Restraint and Booster Seat
If you’re ready to buy a new child restraint or booster seat for your car you really need to do your research before heading to the shop. The right child restraint or booster seat will depend on your child’s size and age.
Photo credit: Jim Champion
Choose the correct child restraint based on the age of your child.
Any child aged under 6 months needs to wear a properly fastened and adjusted, approved rearward facing child restraint.
A child aged 6 months to 4 years old needs to wear a properly fastened and adjusted, approved rearward or forward facing child restraint with an in-built harness.
A child aged 4 years to 7 years old needs to wear a properly fastened and adjusted, approved forward facing child restraint with in-built harness. Or alternatively, an approved booster seat with a properly fastened and adjusted seatbelt or child safety harness.
It is always safest to keep your child in a child restraint or booster seat for as long as possible, depending on their size.
Choose the correct child restraint based on the weight of your child.
While you should choose the correct child restraint based on the age of the child, in some cases you may need to choose based on weight. A child who is too heavy for the restraint recommended for their age will need to use a car seat for the next age category.
· 9kg-12kg – Rear facing child restraint with in-built harness
· Max. 18kg – Approved child restraint with in-built harness
· Max. 26kg – Approved booster seat (child safety harness optional)
Photo credit: 信心謙怡
Make sure to fit the child restraint properly.
Not only do you need to ensure that you choose the correct child restraint for your child’s safety, you also need to make sure to fit it to your car properly. The first step, is to always read the installation instructions included with the car seat. Many surveys have shown that a significant proportion of car seats are not properly installed, risking the safety of the child. According to Raising Children, approximately 70% of child restraints are not properly installed.
While all restraints have commonalities, they all differ slightly in how to install them properly in your car. If you have an older car or you’re in the market for a new car you may find that your vehicle doesn’t have the necessary anchor points needed for a safe installation. This doesn’t mean you need to buy a different car seat or a new car. Additional anchor points can be fitted into your old car.
Additionally, if you’re still unsure about proper installation of your car seat and you want to ensure your child’s safety, you can choose to get a professional installation.
Never buy a second-hand child car restraint.
While money is often an issue when buying a child car seat you should still steer clear of buying a used or second-hand car seat. Unless you know the car restraint’s full history and know the seller well, you should always buy new to ensure the seat meets the required safety standards and is not damaged.