It is hard to match the excitement and wonder of a newborn baby. However, with this anticipation comes a variety of important duties – one of which is installing a baby car seat. Baby car seats are an invaluable item that expecting parents cannot live without. Despite this need, installation is not always undertaken correctly.
If new babies are on the horizon, keep reading for a quick breakdown of all you need to know.
Why Is The Proper Installation So Important?
Correct installation of a baby car seat is a legal requirement in Australia. Of course, an infant must not travel in a vehicle without a certified child restraint that meets the necessary rules and regulations.
Despite these requirements, many forego the proper precautions and dramatically increase the risk of accidents and roadside trauma. Remember that modern seats offer high levels of safety and protection for the most fragile youngsters beyond comfort.
Top 3 Car Seat Styles
Before installation, it is important to familiarise yourself with the various forms of baby car seats. This can apply to everyone from expecting parents to those with children who have outgrown their previous seats.
1. Rear Facing
Most suited to infants from 0 to 12 months old, the rear-facing baby car seat is the best solution for expecting parents. A rear-facing seat is a vehicle-friendly alternative to a baby capsule and provides a high level of protection when your baby is at its most fragile point.
You can generally keep the rear-facing seat in place for 12 months, presuming the infant still fits. This is particularly important in regard to the harness. An improper fit not only breaks Australian state road rules but also only serves to increase the risk of serious consequences.
Unlike the limited shelf-life of a rear-facing seat, convertible seats can be used all the way until your child outgrows them. As another point of contrast, you may also position these seats in either a forward or rear-facing position. The switch to forward-facing is generally made when the child reaches age 3.
The major downside to convertible car seats is their lack of portability. Therefore, they cannot be used in an infant carrier arrangement. This lack of manoeuvrability comes from the fact that there is no base to hold it up, meaning that the design is purpose-made to remain in a singular fixed position.
Booster seats are exclusively placed in a forward-facing position. While they come in various styles, boosters all utilise the same underlying principle – providing optimum safety as your child transitions from infancy to early childhood. Effectively, boosters represent the final phase of the car seat experience.
Boosters can operate in a stand-alone fashion (typically with a five-point harness) or be combined with a seatbelt to keep your child safe and secure. This decision will also be dictated by the size and weight of your child.
What If I Have Twins?
In the case of newborn twins, the same rules and standards will apply for each of the aforementioned seat styles. Prices for seats and installation may also be discounted (depending on the provider). Further, as twins tend to grow at the same rate, you should be able to upgrade seating arrangements for both simultaneously.
Why is Installation Reversed for the Pros?
Unfortunately, baby car seat installation isn’t a simple and easy process – For the inexperienced, that is. The process requires various precise actions, be it dealing with the seat’s anchor points, positioning, stabiliser bar, buckles, and straps. A seasoned fitter will understand each component and be able to complete installation in a prompt fashion.
If you reside in Australia, the good news is that countless professional fitting services exist. This means that even when the seats are ordered online, you can still seek out assistance to ensure the proper fit.
Arranging an Installation
Car seat installation must be carried out by experienced fitters. In Victoria, for example, a variety of registered child restraint fitting stations offer prompt and accurate service.
At these locations, trained installers will fit out your new car seat and confirm that it is situated in a safe position. This process also offers another important service. Whilst the installer is fitting out the seat, ensure they show you how to do so. This will allow for an easy transition to another vehicle or location.
Get Help From a Supplier
Installation sometimes comes as a package deal. This means that as you purchase the new baby car seat, the supplier typically offers installation as an added extra. Of course, this is most relevant when you acquire the car seat in person, and a qualified fitter is on-site to do the job.