So, your an expecting mum or a parent with a baby that is shortly going to need the next stage car seat…please please…take a moment to read this.
I, as many of the mums in my antenatal group, made an expensive error when selecting the car seat for our first baby. As a first time mum, I didn’t really have a clue about selecting a car seat, so I headed down to my local Mothercare store, the only baby shop I knew about at the time, to check out the options.
There were pink ones, blue ones, lots of black ones and even a multi-coloured cow print one. I was particularly taken with the cow print car seat and nearly bought it there and then. But my sensible head spoke to me and suggested I go home and think about it before spending such a large amount of money.
I got home and told my husband about the car seat with the cow print material, he wasn’t convinced, even after seeing it on the internet. This conversation sparked his interest in the purchase, not only as he disliked the cow-print car seat but also when he realised how much it was going to cost.
My husband decided to do some internet research and after a few minutes, in an excited voice said “We have to have a Recardo car seat, they use them in Maclaren Formula One cars, they must be the safest, best seat you can buy”.
After showing me the photos and advising that there was a sport version, that would look “really cool” in the car, I was sold and we ordered it there and then.
The car seat arrived, it was indeed “very cool” and had these funny hooks on the bottom, which after a little browse in the booket, turned out to be isofix attachments. We had no idea what isofix was, but it sounded good, an added bonus we thought.
It was only when we tried to fit the car seat in the car, that we discovered we would also need to purchase an isofix base for the clever little hooks to clip on to. So we went back online and ordered the isofix base, yet more expense!
So, weeks later, our gorgeous daughter arrived, and we took her safely home the next day in the very “cool” car seat. The car seat was fine, it was easy enough to get her in and out of and fit into the car, so overall we were quite pleased with our purchase.
As our daughter grew and the months passed, the topic of conversation at our weekly baby catchups moved on to buying the next stage car seat. ” Is she 20lbs yet?”, “her head is quite high on the car seat” “which seat are you going to buy?”.
We had not thought about the next stage car seat, however, I began to do a little research on the internet, as I felt pressured to buy it and soon. It was during this time of research, that I stumbled across, in my opinion, one of the best resources for parents with babies and toddlers in Essex.
I discovered the In Car Safety Centre, a centre ran by road safety officers. The centre stocks approximately 90 different car seats from a wide range of manufacturers and also stocks a range of seats for children with special needs.
The officers will check your existing car seats for you to ensure they are fitted correctly and also demonstrate new car seats to you and let you test them in your car.
I arranged to go down to the centre with my daughter and they checked my car seat for me. It turned out that there were some adjustments required and she should actually stay in it for at least another six months. They also showed me some of the next stage car seats and provided great advice and information on what to consider.
We ended up buying a Britax 2-way Elite. It is a rear facing seat that theoretically lasts until our daughter is six. The advantage I found with this seat over many other seats is that it gives you the option to turn it round to forward facing when your child is older. It is lightweight and so easy to transfer to a second vehicle and it fastens with seat belts rather than isofix so fits any car.
Here are the contact details:
The centre is open to the public on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.Please call for an appointment Tel: 07581 833469 or Tel: 01702 808313 (landline during opening hours).