How to choose the best baby capsule or carseat

There is a lot to consider when choosing a car restraint for your new baby. With all the products on offer, the shiny colourful products and the pushy salespeople it can feel overwhelming. We’re often asked what should parents look out for when buying a new car seat/capsule etc? What features are important? What safety certification should they have? Our guide to choosing the right baby carseat or capsule will hopefully help you to make the right choice.

What to look for:

  • Ensure the Australian Standard sticker is on the restraint – remember overseas manufactured restraints are illegal and cannot be used Australia.
  • Consider whether you want your baby capsule just for the car or if you’d like to use it on your pram to (creating a Travel System)? In that case you’ll need to find out which capsule is compatible with your pram. The manufacturer of your pram will have adaptors available for a variety of capsules to enable you to use your pram with the capsule instead of carseat on top.
  • Check with CREP. CREP is the “Child Restraint Evaluation Program”. CREP  is the independent body that assesses the crash protection performance of infant restraints using three simulated crash tests (frontal, side and oblique). Restraints are then give star rating (X stars out of 5 stars) for safety and ease of use with 5 out of 5 stars the highest rating awarded.
  • Weight – how heavy is the restraint out of the base? Add a 9 kg baby and will you be able to carry this in and out of the car?
  • Will it fit in your car? Consider how many other restraints are in the car and what space is available for the new addition. Its worth trying a few restraints in your car before making a final decision.
  • Remember – the most expensive/most popular is not necessarily the safest (see ChildCarSeats for safety information). Choose on safety, ease of use and the product’s compatibility with your lifestyle and vehicle.