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What You Need To Know About Infant Car Seats

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Choosing the right infant car seat can be a challenge. There are so many to choose from, in so many different shapes and sizes and colours with different features and safety functions. It’s confusing. But there are some things that are incredibly important that are more relevant after you buy the seat.

This isn’t a rant on whether or not you should be rear facing your child or what laws we think need to be changed. This is our experience, over 20 years of it, as on road emergency paramedics. This is what you need to know about infant car seats. 

When our son turned 4 and we decided it was time to get him a new car seat, with a baby on the way we knew we could use his old one for her and buy him a new seat for the next 4 or so years.

So we purchased this one and love it.

I’m a member of a lot of mothers groups and communities and the discussion around car seats is ALWAYS a heated one. People give their opinions on rear facing vs forward facing, side seat vs middle seat, chest clip height (FYI – Australia doesn’t use chest clips), straps, wearing puffy jumpers… if there’s something to have an opinion on, it has been discussed before.

But I wanted to share something my husband and I were discussing.

Choosing a car seat for your child can be tough, there's all kinds of safety features and prices to consider. But this is what you really need to know about infant car seats - from Paramedics who've attended far to many accidents with children involved.

See, together we have over 20 years of on road experience as emergency paramedics. We have been to more car accidents than you could imagine and seen more mangled car seats than I’d like to share.

While we know the science and research backs up our opinions, that’s not what we are sharing here. We wanted to share what we have seen and experienced in our job.

When you become a parent you spend AGES researching the ‘best’ car seat. You look for safety features, star ratings and reviews and fret over if you can afford the best.

But, it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on a car seat if you DON’T strap your child in properly.

Between my husband and I, in our 20 years experience, we have NOT seen a single child harmed in a car accident where the child was restrained in their seat properly.

Not a single one.

We’ve seen car seats ejected from vehicles, we’ve seen cars that have rolled over so many times you can barely tell which way is up, we’ve seen accidents where you would be certain there would be no survivors.

But in our experience, the biggest difference between a child’s safety hasn’t been if they were in the $600 car seat or the $200 one. It’s been about those straps.

How tight are you making the straps on your child’s seat? Can they pull their own arms out of them? Can you only fit one or two fingers underneath them? Do they have a big puffy jacket on that stops them from being strapped in properly?

Please know I’m not saying that this is the only factor in preventing injuries, and there is plenty of research to back up what is and what isn’t safe. But in our experience, this is what we have seen.

Would you be confident in doing THIS to them? Would you be confident in turning your child upside down in their seat?

Choosing a car seat for your child can be tough, there's all kinds of safety features and prices to consider. But this is what you really need to know about infant car seats - from Paramedics who've attended far to many accidents with children involved.

Car seats have incredible safety designs now, they are designed to cocoon your child, protect them as they roll and are thrown around in an accident. but they can only do this if your child is restrained properly.

So next time you buckle your child in, ask yourself… would I be confident in turning them upside down in their seat right now?  

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Thursday 29th of March 2018

I have 4 year olds as well and they are starting to reach the top of their carseat. Which one did you end up purchasing for your son? I am starting the look for the next seat, my twins are around 30 lbs in weight. Thank you!!!!


Saturday 19th of August 2017

Thank you for sharing! This helps every parent a lot.


Thursday 20th of July 2017

So what caraway do you recommend we struggle with the straps and have to fit 3 car seats in the car. One is a booster but I would prefer all to be carseats.

Krystal Kleidon

Thursday 20th of July 2017

I think it really depends on what car you have. There are heaps of manufacturers now who are making seats with a more narrow base to allow for the ability to fit 3 across the back seat. Find car seat you like and talk to the manufacturer about configuration with your seat. Or, alternatively, if you head into a place that fits seats professionally, they will have some really good recommendations for your car and for the seats available to you in your country. :-) Good luck!


Wednesday 5th of July 2017

Thanks so much for helping spread vital information! :) As a child seat expert advisor, I come across far too many children who are not properly fitted in the car. It's so so important to spread awareness so parents/carers and so forth can make sure the children in their car travel safely.


Tuesday 4th of July 2017

I have always been fickle about strapping in properly.. I fretted about it one morning.. on the way to dropping my son to daycare. Was tboned. Even though I am fickle about straps being snug. My head was snapped around to see exactly how much stretch the straps had.. but when the fire men arrived they were impressed at how well he was restrained. Said that he could easily be dead if he wasn't strapped in so well. He was my 1st child. I have 4 now and am still fickle. I have that image of how far the seat flung out and how far the straps stretched.... And. That was with him strapped in properly.. Oh and while camping with babies/toddlers I often take the seats out and use them as confines while we cook dinner on an open fire. And the kids love being tipped upside down in their seats..

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