Having a baby - especially if it is your first - can bring absolute joy, excitement, and happiness for you and your entire family. Undoubtedly, there will be lots of important things to buy and prepare to make sure your child is comfortable and above all, safe.
If you have a car, then one of the most important pieces of gear to consider is your baby’s first car seat. You will certainly need one for your first ride back home from the hospital, and for every car ride until your child can travel safely using just a standard car seat belt, and that can be as long as 10 -12 years! So, with all the different types of car seats on the market, how do you go about choosing the right car seat for your baby?
In this article by Kwiksure, we will provide you with 5 important points to be aware of when buying a child car seat and having it installed in your vehicle.
1. Know what type of car seat to get
Before you set off on choosing a car seat for your child, we would encourage you to consider carefully your options. It is also worth noting that as your child grows, the child car seat will change accordingly, which is why you need to consider two things:
- Your baby’s age
- Your baby’s weight and height
Up to 12 months
- Babies that weigh under 9 kg who cannot sit upright themselves should be carried in the rear of the car lying down in a carrycot or infant carrier.
- The carrier should be positioned across the rear seat with the top of the carrier above the middle car seat.
9 months to 4 years
- Children weighing 9-19 kg, who can sit up by themselves will need a rear-facing car seat until he or she outgrows the highest height or weight allowed by the manufacturer, which is usually at 2 years or more.
- Riding in a rear-facing car seat offers the best protection for your child’s head, neck, and spine in the event of a crash or the force of an emergency brake.
There are 2 types of rear-facing seats to choose from:
1. Rear-facing only car seats
Many of these are perfect for transferring your child from car to stroller or from your car to another car. They are often light, practical, and portable. The base can be left attached to the rear seat of your car so you don’t have to fiddle with the anchors and restraints. For families traveling often, this type of child car seat offers the best protection, accessibility, and portability.
2. Convertible car seats
These are larger and can be set as a rear-facing car seat and then turned to face forward when the child is ready. One point to note is that convertible car seats are generally not portable owing to their bulky structure.
4 to 12 years
A grown child who weighs between 15 - 36 kg could either use a child harness made of a lap strap and two shoulder straps, or a booster together with the standard seat belt.
2. Determine your budget
Car seats for children come in all shapes and sizes. There are a plethora of brands and manufacturers that produce seats that all have the same purpose of protecting your child. The price will also vary depending on your desires, ranging from HKD $895 for a standard baby car seat, up to HKD $5900 for a seat with additional features like leather pads or a one-hand reclining function.
3. Assess the fit of the child’s car seat
It is important to note that car seats for children are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Cars are different according to make and car seats for children vary due to the design and proportion. Depending on the exact type and size of your car, you may need a smaller (or larger) car seat for your child.
To be certain, it is recommended to measure the area where you intend to put the car seat and compare the dimensions with the base of the car seat you wish to purchase. If you are at a retailer, it may be worth asking the retailer if you could test the display model in your car. This way you will get a good feel and visual assessment.
4. Install the car seat correctly
Once the ideal car seat has been chosen, ask the retailer to help you install the seat. However, if help is unavailable then follow the instructions provided with the car seat to correctly install the seat. Instructions may indicate the use of either the seat belt or the car’s LATCH system.
5. Use the car seat correctly
With your child’s car seat firmly in place and anchored safely to the rear seat body of your car, the next crucial step is making sure your child is properly secured in the seat. Ensure that the harnesses are adjusted so the straps are coming from the correct slots. Once your child is safely in the seat, the buckle should clip or lock together to hold your child securely in place.
Car insurance in Hong Kong
When it comes to safety on the road with the baby on board, it’s best to secure more than the legally required third-party insurance in Hong Kong. With a newborn traveling with you in the car, it is best to consider securing comprehensive car insurance to protect both third-parties and your own car, even if you are at fault in an accident.
Speak to an advisor about getting car insurance in Hong Kong
Driving in Hong Kong is no different from any other country that has strict regulations and systems in place to ensure the safety of all road users. Therefore, with the assurance that your child’s car seat will provide him or her with adequate protection, it is worth reaching out to an expert in car insurance to seek further protection.
The car insurance market is immense in Hong Kong and finding a suitable, but cheap car insurance plan can be painstakingly difficult and laborious.
With that said, Kwiksure’s experts are on hand to assist you with picking a suitable plan but also answering any questions you may have.
Contact our experts today for more information!