Along with a stroller and Cot, buying a car seat in NZ is one of the biggest and sometimes hardest decision to make. After all it is your most precious cargo you will be driving around every day. You want to be sure you are buying the safest, secure and also cost-effective car seat for you and your family.
There are so many different things you need to consider before you make your purchase. Also when is the best time to purchase your car seat. As we all know, babies don't always come when they are due.
Here at Godzown General Store we know what's important for parents, we also know how overwhelming it can be with so many products on the market. We've put together some useful and helpful tips to consider before making your decision.
1) How safe is it?
I'd say this is the main concern for many parents. And so it should. Safety should be on the top of your list. All Car Seats sold in NZ should be compliant. You can see this with a "tick mark"
Australian Standard (AS/NZS1754)
European Standard (ECE44)
United States Standards (FMVSS213)
2) Is it easy to clean?
It may sound strange to base your purchase on this but accidents do happen with children. Even if you say you'll never let your children eat in the car, it eventually does happen. Also, kids get sick. Vomiting and poo explosions do happen. Speaking from experience, having a car seat that is easy to clean makes life a lot more bearable. Make sure you can remove the seat covers for easy cleaning.
3) Choose a convertible car seat
If you don't plan on using a capsule for the first 6 to 8 months then make sure your car seat goes from newborn through to 4 to 5 years old (weight dependant). Check it has removable padded inserts with a 5 point safety harness to comfortably grow with your baby. These car seats are also very cost effective.
4) Always buy new
It is not recommended to buy a second-hand car seat as you do not know the history of the seat. It could have been in an accident, used incorrectly or been used in a car with smokers or pets. Most stores offer AfterPay so you can budget and get the safest car seat you need. Plunket recommends you don't buy secondhand. Most stores offer AfterPay so you can budget and get the safest car seat you need.
5) Will it fit in our car?
Before purchasing your car seat you also need to consider things like your car brand and size. Will it fit in your car safely? If you want to put it in the middle of the back seat will this work in your car if you own a seven-seater for instance? Some car seats are quite bulky, especially the base. The NUNA Rava, for instance, has a slimline base and small footprint. This is great for when you have other children and need to think about booster seats taking up the back seat.
This is the one time where getting the cheapest price possible is not going to get you what you want and need for your new baby. Car seats that are made well and designed to grow with your baby may cost around $700 but if you factor in that it will last around 4 to 5 years it's very cost effective. Plus you can hand it down to your next baby. Most stores offer AfterPay and have regular sales, so do your research.
7) Do you like the look of it?
After all, you will be using it on most days. You have to like the design, colour, size and function of the car seat. I wouldn't recommend buying a bright pink car seat because you had a baby girl first unless of course, you love bright pink. Neutral, classic colours work best and won't date.