Car Safety - Convertible Car Seats

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Extend the usage of a baby car seat by choosing one of our comfortable, premium convertible car seats. Appropriate from birth or 6 months up to 8 years, around when a child can use a booster seat, a convertible car seat can be a smart alternative.


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Everything you need to know when buying a convertible car seat

 

Keep your precious one safe with a child restraint suited to your baby’s age, weight and height, as well as your own lifestyle and budget. Pick a convertible car seat that easily changes from rear facing to forward facing to grow with your baby from newborn or toddler stage, all the way up to a booster seat.

 

Difference between all-in-one convertible car seat and convertible car seat

An all-in-one convertible car seat is designed to be the only car seat you will ever need to buy your little one (to use from birth to approx. about 7 or 8 years old). A convertible car seat is often purchased for an infant or toddler (although it can be used from birth) and used until a child reaches preschool age (with an infant car seat and a booster seat used on either side of a convertible car seat).

Choosing the best baby and child car seat

As there are pros and cons for whichever car seat you choose, you’ll need to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages to make the best choice for your family.
Infant seat: Specifically designed for an infant, this type of seat is rear facing only and can be part of a travel system which allows it to move easily from the car to a stroller and double as a lightweight carrier. A rear facing position capsule with an in-built harness is mandatory for a bub until 6 months of age. From 6 months and up, your child can be in a forward facing position.
Convertible car seat: Can be used from birth to 8 years so is often a popular choice for many parents. Infasecure's range of convertible car seats is an all-in-one car seat as it is designed across all age groups, converting from rear facing baby capsule to forward facing car seat to a convertible booster seat for an 8 year-old.
Booster seat: Used when your child is too big for a child car seat, but too small to travel in a car without a child restraint.

 

Features to look for in a convertible car seat

Safety: Does the car seat have a 5-point harness and side impact protection?
Material: Is the material resistant to stains, easy to clean and breathable to help regulate baby’s temperature?
Adjustability: Does the seat allow for extended rearward facing or do you need to switch to a forward facing position? Can you adjust the headrest and harnesses as your child grows?

● Shoulder height markers: These are a visual guide and a mandatory safety requirement in Australia and New Zealand for child restraints. Shoulder height markers indicate the child car seat's suitability to your child's height (i.e. when your child can use, when to convert the seat, when your child outgrows).
● Installation: Is the car seat Isofix compatible (which uses built-in metal clips to easily secure between car seats) or does it use an older belt system to secure a car seat? Top tether straps are another safety requirement for child car seats which attaches to the tether anchor in your car. It is very important to ensure your child car seat is properly installed. Because a car seat fitting is often tricky, many parents prefer to have it professionally fitted. Or if you choose to install yourself, always follow the manufacturer's instructions. If you install, it’s also best to have a qualified installer check your car seat fitting to ensure your child is safe.

 

Top tips before buying a convertible baby car seat

● Make sure the car seat will fit in your car(s) as well as with any other car seats that are already in there.
● Pick up the car seat to test how portable it is as you might need to occasionally move it from car to car or take it when travelling.
● Choose a car seat that is easy to operate and get bub in and out of with minimal fuss.
● Think about how long you ideally want to use the car seat. Do you want an all-in-one convertible car seat where you buy one car seat that converts to all age groups? Or would you prefer to buy two to three child car seats for each stage of your child's growth.
● Consider the durability of the materials used, as well as how easy it will be to clean.
● Ensure the car seat you buy meets the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1754. This would appear on the product itself as well as packaging.

 

Ease of use

Ease of use is important when buying a convertible car seat and often impacts a mother's choice, or any parent’s choice. Because a convertible child car seat can be used for many months and years, ease of use -- which includes the fit in your car and how comfortable your bub is -- all needs to be considered.

Safety features to look out for in child car seats

The most important child safety feature in a car seat is that it adheres to Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1754. Make sure to check before buying a child car seat as well as any car seat accessories that AS/NZS 1754 appears on the product itself as well as on the packaging. 

How does it fasten?

Car seats have several straps and buckles that need to be fastened and adjusted so that your child is snug, supported and safe in their car seat at all ages and heights. For newborn to 4 years, car seats must have an in-built harness. From 4 years to 7 years, a child car seat must have an inbuilt harness or you can use a booster seat with your car's adult lap-sash seatbelt or child safety harness. For 7 years and older, your child must use a booster seat with adult lap-sash seatbelt or child safety harness or you can also use a standard seat with an adult seatbelt.

Because child safety is all-important, be sure to always check the manufacturer's instructions and age and size guidelines. If you're looking for additional information it is best to read trusted Australian government and reputable Australian parenting resources for additional guidance on child safety as the laws and requirements may change over time. A trusted, qualified and reputable child car seat installer will also be able to guide you.

 

Longevity of each car seat

Car seats vary in how long your child can use them, based on your child’s size, weight and height. Many parents carefully select a car seat that offers longevity of use while providing trusted safety at all stages of a child’s growth.

 

How long can your child travel rear facing?

In Australia babies must, by law, travel rear facing until they are a minimum of 6 months old. Once they grow tall enough for their shoulders to reach a certain point marked on the car seat (shoulder height markers), they can be in a forward facing position. However, a baby can be rear facing until they are 4 years of age.

Please remember that age is just a guide, as not all babies are the same size at a particular age. Height is a better indicator of when your child can be moved to forward facing. Even though not mandated by law, it is becoming best practice to only move your child to forward facing when they have exceeded the upper height markers on their car seat and can no longer sit in it comfortably.

 

Comfort features

Here are some of the comfort features available in baby car seats:
● Air Cocoon Technology
● Breathable, moisture wicking fabrics
● Multiple recline positions
● Adjustable crotch buckle
● Removable covers for easy cleaning
● Plush inserts for added comfort
● Cup holders

 

Different dimensions

All car seats are not created equal, especially when it comes to their dimensions. Be sure to measure the space available in your car to ensure your preferred car seat will fit.

Height and weight requirements for convertible car seats

Check your chosen convertible car seat’s height and weight requirements to ensure you are buying a product suitable and safe for your baby.

Installing your new car seat

Whatever the method of installation your car seat has (ClickTight, QuickFix, etc.), having your car seat properly installed is crucial to its safety effectiveness. To ensure your baby’s new car seat is properly installed in the car’s back seat, it could be a good idea to have the seat professionally fitted at an authorised Restraint Fitting Station. If you choose to install it yourself, make sure to follow your product’s instructions carefully and precisely and regularly check and adjust the harnesses and straps. You can also ask a professional fitment centre to check your installation if you choose to install your car seat yourself.

 

Cleaning your new car seat

Being able to keep a car seat clean, especially a convertible seat that you will have for many years, is an important factor when choosing the best convertible car seat for you. Car seats that are easy to wipe, have removable covers and allow you to vacuum up all the crumbs, fluff, dirt and sand that inevitably make their way into cracks and corners is crucial. And don't forget about a car organiser that can also help to keep things tidy at all ages, and to keep favourite items within an independent toddler's reach. 

Safest brands in Australia to look out for and we trust

Trust quality, reputable brands that adhere to Australian safety standards like Infasecure, Cybex, Britax, Maxi Cosi, Cybex and Safety 1st. Depending where you are on your bub's journey, browse our trusted range of baby capsules, convertible car seats, child car seats and boosters.

Buying online with Metro Baby, from capsules to booster seats and beyond

Metro Baby makes buying baby products easy and fun! From prams, strollers and high chairs to rockers, bassinets and cots, we offer a variety of ways to buy baby essentials. Other must-have baby items (which also make great gifts!) include bibs, bouncers, wooden toys, nappy bags, backpacks and pram organisers. We also offer gift cards, a gift registry and Afterpay at checkout. No matter your budget or needs, we have something just right for you!

 

FAQs:

 

What age do you switch to a convertible car seat?

With the right inserts, you can use a convertible car seat from birth. However, parents often use an infant seat to start and switch to a convertible car seat as early as about 9 months. Contact one of our helpful and knowledgeable customer service team members if you’d like more guidance on making the right choice for your family.

Can my 4 month old use a convertible car seat?

There are convertible car seats designed for babies as young as 4 months (even newborns), with the correct inserts. A convertible car seat makes a fantastic baby shower present, so be sure to add one to your gift registry today!

What is the difference between a convertible car seat and an all-in-one?

A convertible car seat is often referred to as an all-in-one car seat because these car seats are designed to convert from newborn stage to toddlers to an older child’s booster seat. To help you decide on the best option for your baby, browse our car seats and accessories range.

What comes after a convertible car seat?

A convertible car seat is often the only car seat your child will ever need because it is designed for newborn through toddler years to an 8 year old! When your 8-year old outgrows their booster, they can move onto an adult car seat with adult seatbelt. Although a parent needs to do the five-step test to help decide if an 8 year old child is big enough for an adult seatbelt. This includes how a child is seated, the seatbelt sash’s position and if your child can sit in that position through the car trip. To consider your options for child car seats and what is best for your family, browse our wide range and trust Metro Baby’s price promise to match the price if you find any product elsewhere for a lower price.