5 Must-Have Features to Look for in a Baby Car Seat

5 Must-Have Features to Look for in a Baby Car Seat

Car seats are one of the most important pieces of equipment that driving parents should invest in. If you travel with babies, having a reliable car seat must be your top priority. There are many basic things you can look for when buying one. These include the material, adjustments, five-point safety harness, and comfortable and side impact protection.

Being a parent is challenging, but getting the most dependable baby car seat should not be hard. Here are seven must-have baby seat features to help you make an informed choice.

Understanding Car Seat Laws in Australia

Australia has one of the most stringent child restraint standards in the world. Specific standard specifications for car seat and booster seat production phases include cover materials, construction, design, performance, labelling, and testing.  It’s important to note that rearward facing car seats are safer for your child, aligning with relevant Australia Safety laws.

All legal car and booster seats must have an Australian Standards sticker for the standard AS/NZS 1754. This means you can’t just buy car seats and booster seats overseas and use them in the country. The legal requirements stated below must be followed:

  • Children six months and below must only be secured with an appropriate and approved rearward-facing restraint.
  • Children over six months but below four years old must be secured with an approved rear or forward-facing seat.
  • Vehicles with two or more rows shouldn’t allow children under four years to sit in the front seat.
  • Children over four but below seven years old must only use an approved forward-facing car seat secured with a harness. A booster seat also works as long as it’s approved.
  • Children who may be over seven years old but below 16 years old and are too small for the car’s seat belt must use the following:
    • a forward-facing car seat with a built-in harness for older children;
    • an approved booster seat;
    • an approved safety harness that works with the vehicle’s seat belt.
  • Children secured with a booster seat can only use an appropriate lap and sash type seatbelt or a child safety harness that has been approved and properly adjusted.

When it comes to innovative features in these baby equipment, specific functions are tailored to the Australian market. Let’s explore some of these innovative features in our list below.

Must-Have #1: Shoulder Height Markers

The Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZ 1754: Child Restraint Systems for Use in Motor Vehicles has established positions and instructions on shoulder height markers to determine what size the child restraint is approved for and in what mode. This is the new requirement, along with approximate age, for determining restraint suitability, replacing the old system of using the child’s weight.

Must-Have #2: ISOFIX Compatibility

ISOFIX, or International Standards Organisation Fix, is a clever car seat fitting system that locks your child’s car seat to the vehicle seat using ISOFIX fixing points instead of a mere seat belt. This ensures your child’s car seat is securely and tightly installed without the additional hassle.

NOTE: Despite the strong fixing and installation, car seats with ISOFIX should still be checked regularly for your child’s safety, and installation should be completed using a seatbelt or the ISOFIX method — never both.

Must-Have #3: Car Seats with Temperature Control

Today, more and more parents are looking for baby car seats with their temperature controllers. The ability to provide air conditioning and heating is its edge in the market. This demand is rooted in a fascination with more sophisticated features for modern cars and those using electric and hybrid cars, which mainly aim to preserve energy as much as possible.

With such a unique demand, the thermal insulation properties of expanded polypropylene have become more crucial. If the backrests and seats are made of these materials, babies can enjoy direct streams of heat and cold as they sit in comfort.

Must-Have #4: Lightweight Materials

Every component of a car seat is crucial. Everything must be produced from materials of relevant strength, from headrests, backrests, and seats. Besides the quality of these components, it’s also important to consider the weight of the equipment. This will ensure a reduction of vehicle emissions.

The most used materials in light car seats are lighter metal alloys for seat frames and expanded polypropylene as a space-filling material, constituting up to 40% of the car seat. This material has absorbing properties and ensures resistance to impacts.

The typical lightweight car seat does not have additional features unrelated to necessities, such as cup holders or sunshades. Going lightweight may not be the best option for you if you are after these extras. However, considering this type of car seat will be worth it, as it is something that you want to be able to use for as long as possible.

Must-Have #5: Eco-Friendly Fabrics

The type of fabric used in car seats also matters. They must serve their purpose: to comfort your child with their breathable and soft feel. They must also be easy to spot, clean, and machine-washable.

Besides all these features, you must also check if the fabric is made without wool or added fire-retardant treatments.

Final Thoughts

The progress of automotive technologies prompts these latest features in car seats. With the increased users’ requirements, we can now shop for the best extras and diverse properties of car seats that aren’t available in traditional equipment.

Besides travelling requirements, comfort, and aesthetics, parents should also look at their application and functions and how they can make every trip less gruelling.