There’s a huge variety of baby car seats out there. While surprisingly pricey, baby seats are not something to be scrimped on as they’re crucial for your baby’s safety. The trick, then, is to invest in a durable one that can grow with your child and last for several years.
If you’re intending to travel with it, you also wouldn’t want to end up with one that restricts your travel plans or worse, cause you backache from complicated installation and sheer weight when you carry it around.
Other than the obvious safety requirement, family needs are of top priority when considering which car seat to get for your child. The best car seat should fit your child, your car and your family’s lifestyle.
So how do you pick the right one? Here are 5 of Singapore’s top choices.
Top 5 baby car seats in Singapore (2019)
|Car Seat Model||Price|
|Joie Every Stage||S$479|
|Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Max||S$519|
|Doona Car Seat||S$639|
Urban Kanga car seat
Great for: Easy installation, just fold and go.
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The Urban Kanga is great for families who use more than one car to ferry the kids, or frequently travel via GrabCars or taxis. The installation of the car seat onto another vehicle is straightforward and can be done in under a minute. It’s lightweight (only 3kg, as compared to the average 8kg and above for baby car seats), easy to carry around and fits in most standard suitcases. It even fits in the baskets of large strollers and comes with its own shoulder carry bag. It’s designed for the adventurous family that enjoys travelling and road trips.
The Urban Kanga has some good-to-have features like its memory foam padded seat, removable cover for washing and water repellent mesh backrest – great for Singapore’s humid weather. Apart from its light weight and convenience, it’s quite a basic baby car seat. If you don’t intend to move your baby car seat in and out of the car too much, you may not find the Urban Kanga too attractive other than its affordable price.
The downside of the Urban Kanga is that it only works with forward-facing position, which means that it is not suitable for infants from 0 to 9 months, as infants should travel in rearward-facing position for as long as possible for maximum safety. If you intend to bring the Urban Kanga onboard flights and for use overseas, do remember to double check with the airline and the local regulation of the country you are visiting.
Joie Every Stage car seat
Great for: Growing with your child
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The Joie Every Stage car seat caters for your child all the way till 12 years old (Singapore’s law states that a child below 1.35m in height has to be in a car seat or booster seat). It is a combination seat (or some call it extended seat or multi-group seat) that has both forward-facing and rearward-facing positions.
Since the Joie Every Stage is catered for a wide range of ages, there are 10 headrest and harness positions to adjust freely. That’s a big jump from Urban Kanga’s 3 headrest and harness positions. To fit newborns better, there is also an infant insert provided to give more support for their heads and necks. The baby car seat’s structure is made up of a steel frame that keeps the car seat strong during a collision and provides extra weight to keep the seat stable.
For those who want to avoid the hassle of researching and buying another car seat as your child grows, this car seat saves you the trouble of switching as it’s a ‘one seat fits all’. In terms of value, it’s probably the best considering it’s an investment that can potentially last you for several years.
Do note that car seats have expiration dates, printed at the side on the label. Generally, car seats expire after 6 years.
Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Max car seat
Great for: Easy buckling with snap and clip technology
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There are several thoughtful features on the Maxi-Cosi car seat, like the harness holders on both sides of the chair that keep harness straps out of the way for easy boarding and the ClipQuick Chest Clip that fastens magnetically. This makes it quick and easy to clip on with one hand. There’s also a proprietary AirProtect Technology, which is the side impact protection cushions, protecting your child where it’s most needed around the head.
It’s pricier than the Urban Kanga and the Joie Every Stage, but it definitely looks like a first-class ride for your child. Since it is also a combination seat with both rearward and forward-facing positions that can support your child up to 12 years old, it’s a value-buy considering the comfort you are giving to your child.
The Maxi-Cosi car seat comes with machine washable and dryer safe removable seat pad – again, a good feature for Singapore’s weather and the mess that children can create.
A downside of the Maxi Cosi Pria 85 Max is that it’s not the most compact convertible car seat (you can imagine that a first-class ride will take up space). You may face difficulties installing it in a small vehicle and find that it will eat up a lot of legroom space. It’s also too wide to be installed in the middle seat. With this in mind, it seems that it would be more suitable for families with larger vehicles.
Graco 4ever car seat
Great for: 4 positions in one to suit babies and older children
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The Graco 4ever 4-in-1 convertible car seat, similar to both the Joie Every Stage and the Maxi-Cosi, fits children up to 12 years old.
The most unique selling point that Graco 4ever baby car seat over others is that it can be transformed into a backless booster cushion seat, creating more legroom for older children. But if you don’t care much for it, the Joie Every Stage may be a better buy considering it’s about a hundred bucks cheaper.
Altogether, the Graco car seat has 6 positions for recline and 10 positions to adjust the headrest and harness for the perfect height, making it one of the more flexible car seats out of the five. The headrest and harness can be adjusted in one hand motion too, with no re-threading. Similar to the Joie Every Stage, this car seat also boosts of a steel frame structure for extra stability. It has proven to hold up in real-life crash situations in several car accidents that happened in the U.S.
Doona car seat stroller
Great for: Being a car seat and a stroller at once
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The Doona car seat has integrated wheels, so it can be transformed from a car seat to a stroller in seconds, which saves parents a lot of hassle, time and “fighting” to get the child under the buckle. It’s especially great if you have a fussy child that absolutely hates being buckled to a car seat. Anything to minimise the chances of your child having a meltdown in public.
The downside of the Doona is that it only lasts your child till he/she is 13kg in weight before you have to buy a new car seat and stroller. Considering that it’s the most expensive of the five car seats, that’s not a lot of use you can get.
But, all things considered, it’s still a great buy if you aim for fuss-free (and scream-free) transitions to and from the car, especially important during the first few months of motherhood when you are trying to maintain peace of mind. Plus, it’s a really fancy piece of gadget to own.
Things to look out for when choosing a car seat
Does your family have more than one car? Do you intend to bring the car seat on your travels? Do you want a car seat specifically designed for infants, or one that will last your child through the years? What other bonus features are important to you – Seat protectors? Removable covers?
Ask yourself the above questions when choosing a car seat. In terms of safety, most car seats offer rearward facing positions for newborns and young babies, as it is the safest way to ride. Car seats that don’t offer this position, like the Urban Kanga car seat, are meant for babies 9 months and up.
It is also important to ensure that your car has ISOFIX, which is the international standard for connection points to attach your baby car seat to your car. This removes the risk of a badly fitted car seat using just the car’s seatbelt alone. It is also known as LATCH in American cars.
Most baby car seats these days have a 5-point harness. It’s the gold standard when it comes to car safety for babies, so do check that the baby car seat you want is equipped with it. The 5 points imitate the action of holding passenger tightly: two at each shoulder; two at child’s hips and the final point is where the harness buckles between the baby’s legs.
Also, do check the expiration date of car seats on their labels. Most car seats expire due to wear and tear and potential technology updates after around 6 years.
In Singapore, your child needs to be in a car seat up to age 10 – 12, depending on your child’s height and weight, so it pays to think long-term and invest in something that can grow with your child. We’ll talk more about this in the last section concerning Singapore’s law governing car seats.
Types of car seats
|Age||Suitable car seat|
|0-2 (under 9kg)||Rearward-facing car seats with 5-point harness|
|2-4 (above 9kg but under 1.35m)||Forward-facing car seats with 5-point harness|
|7-12 (Above 1.35m)||High-backed booster seats or booster seats|
Rearward-facing or forward facing: The newest guidelines by American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) indicate that children should remain in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer. Typically, that’s 13kg or around 2 years old.
Booster seats: When your child has outgrown the car seat but is still shorter than 1.35m, you can opt for a booster seat. You can go for brands such as the Urban Kanga high-backed booster seat, Trunki BoostApak, or mifold Grab-and-Go booster seat.
Car seat strollers: The Doona has become quite a cult product in this category, but you can do this with some regular car seats as well, as long as you have the adapter for it. For instance, the Maxi Cosi car seat can fit onto a Bugaboo Bee stroller with adapters. Car seat strollers allow parents to transport the baby out of the car without having to unbuckle and place in another separate stroller, a feature that you will find a godsend when the baby is napping.
Singapore laws governing baby seats and booster seats
At what age does your child not need a car seat? According to the Singapore law, a person below 1.35m in height (somewhere around their 10th to 12th birthday) needs to be secured by a car seat or a booster seat.
This means that even if you don’t see your child as a baby anymore, they may still need a car seat if they don’t meet the height requirement. Considering the number of years your child would need a car seat, you may want to consider combination seats like the Joie Every Stage or the Graco 4ever.
With the prevalence of riding GrabCar these days, it is important to note that GrabCars, under the law, are private hire vehicles and are not exempt from any of the baby car seat or seat belt requirements. A child restraint is required every time a passenger under 1.35m travels in a GrabCar. You could book a GrabCar Family that has a mifold booster seat, which costs $2 more per ride.
Any driver who fails to wear his seat belt or ensure that his passengers are properly restrained to the vehicle faces a fine of $120 and 3 demerit points. So, do remember to buckle up your little ones (including your not-so-little ones) and travel safe!