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Car Seats - All You Need to Know and Where to Get Them

Posted on September 01 2020

Learn all about newborn car seats, how to correctly install them, and which are compatible with strollers for a full travel system. Little ones can be safe during their car journeys with properly installed car seats - keep them in a rear-facing configuration as long as possible. Keep your little ones safe by learning to install your car seats correctly.

Prevent your babies from any vehicular accidents by correctly installing newborn and toddler car seats. Examples of these include convertible car seats, or seats compatible with strollers for a complete travel system. Learn why these are important and how to install them correctly.

 

 

Car Seats - A Necessity?

All children below 1.35m should be appropriately secured in their seats, whether it’s a car seat, booster seat or a seatbelt

 

According to Singapore’s laws, secure your children below 1.35m with an appropriate restraint, booster seat or adjustable seatbelt. Of course, anyone taller than this should also be wearing a seatbelt. If found not wearing a seatbelt, they can be fined up to $1,000 or jailed up to three months - or both.

Hence, children should never ride in a car in their mother’s arms, a baby carrier or sling. Between 2012 to 2018, public hospitals have treated 1,203 children from below one to nine years old for traumatic injuries sustained from motor vehicular accidents. Approximately half of these children were wearing child seats and/or seatbelts. Bring a newborn car seat when taking a taxi or private hire cars. Taxis do not carry these, and Grab's car seats are only for those above one.

 

Used Car Seats

If you’re considering using a car seat from a friend or relative, ensure it’s not older than four years. Models older than three years may not comply with current safety standards. As the plastic ages it may break easier, hence increasing the risk in the event of car accidents. Next, all parts should be in working order, with no slack or loose harnesses. These car seats should have either a three-point or five-point harness.

Make sure the manufacturer has not recalled the seats, there are no missing parts and the manual is included. Otherwise, you might be able to download the manuals online. Another criteria is that these seats have never been involved in any accidents, even if they’re minor, as hairline cracks can form in the seat shell.

Give the seat a thorough clean to remove any dirt, bacteria and sweat. Send it to the Pramwash Service at Motherswork’s store in Great World City. Indicate your booking date and time via a note when checking out. Options include the 30-min Express Plus package ($25.90) or the 60-min Basic package ($57.90). The Express Plus package consists of a high temperature and high pressure steam cleaning, killing bacteria, dust mites and bed bugs. Meanwhile, the Basic package includes vacuuming, washing, wiping and sterilising the fabrics and frame

 

 

Installing Your Car Seats

While the safest place might be the middle of the back seats, it’s better to have the seat correctly installed where possible.

Install your car seat in the middle of the back seat, as side collisions are the most deadly. However, the position is less important than being able to install the seat correctly. Behind the driver may be safer since he/she instinctively protects this side of the vehicle. If you’re parallel parking, you may wish to install the car seat at the passenger’s side to easily get your baby out of the car.

Use the ISOFIX (International Standardisation Organisation, plus Fixation) or with regular seat belts. For taxis with ISOFIX anchors, book the Mercedes LimoCabs, the Hyundai i40, a "Green taxi" or SMRT Toyota Prius taxi. Use the Comfort DelGro or the SMRT apps to book. Try to choose a car seat that works with both installation methods.

 

Installing Your ISOFIX-anchored Car Seat

Install the ISOFIX base in just three steps. Start by pulling out the ISOFIX fixing points or the yellow metal bars, and place the base of the car seat at the back seat. Next, push the seat firmly against the backrest. After this, lock the two fixing points into the vehicle’s seat’ metal clips - you should hear a click if done correctly. Confirm this with the colour indicator on the ISOFIX bases and car seats.

Some seats may come with a support leg or top tether. Install the support leg by pulling it down, and adjusting it to the correct height and put it on the floor of the car. When installed, the leg should be stable against the floor. Lock it firmly in position. Next, install the top tether. Clip the yellow hook onto the ISOFIX fixing point on the boot floor, then tighten the tether. Check the colour indicators to ensure these have been correctly installed.

 

Seat Belt Installation

Read both the car seat’s instruction manual and the vehicle owner’s manual. In particular, you’d need to learn how to “lock” the seat belt. Start by placing the car seat base in the back seat, then thread the seat belt through the rear-facing belt path. Ensure the seat belt is not twisted. After this, buckle and lock the seat belt. Next, press firmly down on the car seat, and tighten until the base is unable to move more than 2cm in any direction.

Additionally, recline the seat at an angle less than 45° - follow the indicators or adjusters on the car seat. You’ll need to adjust the angle as your child grows. Resources online include a YouTube video from the manufacturer. You should definitely practice installing and removing the seat to make sure you’re familiar with the process.

 

Emergency Locking vs Automatic Locking Retractor

In Singapore, most car seat belts have the Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) mode that locks in an accident. Less common is the Automatic Locking Retractor (ALR) or child-restraint mode. In order to figure out which system the taxi or private hire car has, pull the belt out of the retractor, then feed 10cm of the belt back and pull on the belt again. If it’s in ELR mode, it requires a locking clip.

 

 

Newborn Car Seats

Developed by car seat manufacturer BeSafe®, the Stokke iZi Go Modular™ has an ergonomically-designed carrying handle and an adjustable five-point safety harness.

The Stokke iZi Go Modular™ by BeSafe® ($499) baby seat is easy to install with the ISOFIX base and carry around. Your baby can sit comfortably and safely in the seat with an ergonomically-designed carrying handle, plush padding and adjustable five-point safety harness. Developed by trusted car seat manufacturer BeSafe®, the 4.4kg car seat also fits into a stroller without needing extra adaptors. The colour indicator will ensure you’ve installed the seat correctly. Other features of this seat include easy-to-adjust pillows, cushion and harness as well as patented magnetic shoulder pads. Finally, the car seat is compatible with both the Stokke Beat and Xplory.

 

 

BeSafe iZi Go Modular X1 i-Size

This baby car seat from BeSafe is AGR-certified and back-friendly, with protection for the side and the head in case of an accident.

Another option is the BeSafe iZi Go Modular X1 i-Size ($469) seat, consisting of a baby and toddler seat as well as an ISOFIX base. Your little ones can sit in this AGR-certified, back-friendly car seat from birth up to about 12 months. Safety features include advanced protection for the head with the Dynamic Force Absorber, additional side impact protection, as well as a five-point harness. The wide harness belts and shoulder pads spread forces over a bigger area for increased safety.

Especially for babies, the seats have been designed with a newborn hugger containing a cleverly placed edge for stability support, and an optimised reclined angle. The newly designed head area provides more internal space for your baby’s head, and the internal harness and headrest are easily adjustable. Additionally, the car seat also has a sun canopy with UPF50+, and can be fitted onto most strollers to create a travel system.

 

 

Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix

The Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix can be used from birth to a weight of 13kg, and is compatible with several treatments to create a travel system.

The Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix ($269) is compatible with Maxi-Cosi, Quinny and many other strollers. It's lightweight and can be secured with the car seat belt or the Click & Go Maxi-Cosi base units. Fix the CabrioFix with the three-point seat belt or the ISOFIX base. Moreover, use this car seat from birth onwards, or up to 13kg. Also, you can remove the cover and wash and clean it in the washing machine. For optimal safety, the CabrioFix has been designed with side protection, and extra padding for your baby’s utmost comfort. In addition, the CabrioFix can also be put into five different positions.

 

 

Maxi-Cosi AxissFix Plus

Another good choice is the Maxi-Cosi AxissFix Plus, suitable for toddlers up to four years, with a handy height indicator, and adjustable headrest and recline.

Suitable from birth up to four years, the Maxi-Cosi AxissFix Plus ($659) baby and toddler seat features top safety performance. Additionally, the seat complies with the latest i-Size car seat regulation (R129) and enhanced head and neck protection. Use the height indicator to switch configurations when your child is old enough, and change to forward-facing with a quick seat rotation. Moreover, the seat also features an adjustable headrest and recline.

 

Safety features include a cosy safety inlay for newborns, a top tether and ISOFIX installation, and a five-point restraint harness. Additional seat indicators guarantee you install the car seat properly. Meanwhile, the automatic safety belt system maintains a secure connection between the base and the seat.

 

 

Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller

The Doona infant car seat also comprises a stroller, and can be used either with ISOFIX or regular seatbelts.

Perfect as a travel system combining both a car seat and the stroller, the Doona Infant Car Seat stroller ($639) is suitable for your newborn to use until he/she is 13kg. Additionally, you can use this with most cars with the ISOFIX or regular seatbelts. The award-winning Doona has passed all legally required compliance tests, having been checked in more than a hundred crash tests. The handle, placed against the back of the car seat, provides the baby with Anti-Rebound protection, absorbing the impact, and reducing rebound injuries.

 

Other features include fail-safes, to ensure the seat is used properly, a five-point harness, side impact protection, and using breathable, removable and washable textiles. Finally, the Doona is approved for air travel, but do check with your airline beforehand.

 

 

Car Safety for Older Children

After your child reaches the weight or height limit, turn the car seat to face forward.

Ride rear-facing until your child reaches the highest weight or height stated by the car seat manufacturer, following which you can face the seat forward. Additionally, the harness straps should be at or above your child’s shoulders. Choose between a convertible seat or switch from an infant-only seat to a toddler car seat. Adapt the seat for toddlers, ensure the harness straps are at or above your child’s shoulders. By the time your child is around 18 to 36kg, use a booster seat instead, together with a lap and shoulder belt. The lap belt should land across the hips and pelvis, while the shoulder belt crosses the middle of your child’s chest and shoulder. After your child is 1.5m, between 8 to 12 years old, they can use an adult seat belt.

Relevant Reads: Developmental Milestones, Gifts for Expecting Mums and Newborn Care

Credits: Sharon McCutcheon, PublicDomainPictures, senivpietro

 

 

Aside from learning your baby’s non-verbal cues, teaching him/her basic sign language can help you understand his/her needs better. This is particularly useful when your baby reaches about nine months to two years old. During this time, his/her vocabulary may be growing but still limited, thus sign language may aid you in understanding what he/she wants.

 

The Potential Benefits

Most importantly, you get to understand your baby’s thoughts and needs a little better, so that you can respond to what he/she needs quickly. Hence, your baby will have lesser tantrums, since you’d understand what he/she needs. You can start as early as four to six months old, but your baby will likely initiate signing back to you only as soon as six to 10 months on-wards.

 

Research conducted with small studies was inconclusive to prove that babies gain any significant cognitive or language advantage over a non-signing baby. However, it may give a developing infant a way to communicate before he/she learns vocal communication. Thus, when your child is between 8 months and two years, this may help to ease frustration for both you and your child. At the very least, because of the time spent trying to teach your child baby sign language, you also pick up on your child’s nonverbal cues and gestures to understand his/her needs.

 

 

Teaching Your Baby Sign Language

Start with signs that express his/her needs. Obvious choices include being hungry, thirsty and sleepy. Although you may have chosen a particular sign to represent a need, your baby may invent his/her own sign, so do follow that when possible. Next, speak and sign at the same time to help your baby develop his/her language skills, so your baby co-relates the sign and the word you just said. Of course, repetition is key, so make sure you sign consistently and frequently.

 

Increase the signs’ visibility by signing close to your face. As your baby loves to look at your face and eyes, doing so helps your baby notice them better. Similarly, if you’re signing for an object, ensure you make the sign close to, or on top of the object. When your baby does sign to you, do “reward” him/her by taking immediate action, such as giving your child the milk he/she requested for promptly.

 

Another way to help your little one learn is to hold your baby on your lap, back to your stomach, and use his/her hands to make the signs. Do these while doing various activities, such as bathing, diapering, feeding, or reading to your little one to give them proper context.

 

When teaching your little one, research suggests that iconic signs (signs that represent the word, like “milk”) are more helpful for your babies. However, some non-iconic signs that also include “mummy” and “daddy” may also be fun for your child to learn. The most effective approach to communicating with your child, is to pay attention to him/her and respond to their attempts and gesturing and verbalising. Use speech and transparent gestures like pantomime and pointing to “talk” with your little one.

 

 

Resources for Baby Sign Language

Resources for learning baby sign language in Singapore include Baby Signs Singapore, which is currently offering Zoom classes ($200). Otherwise, there are books or online resources that teach baby sign language. Do note the signs may differ, so choose a language that you’re comfortable with and can remember easily. Sign language for your baby doesn’t have to be just a mother-child bonding activity - rope in your spouse, parents, in-laws or other caretakers so that they’re also familiar with such signs.

 

Next, take it easy and start with just a few signs, and don’t overwhelm your baby. Learning baby sign language is supposed to reduce frustration instead of adding to it. Of course, when your baby does respond and imitate your signing, it may not be perfect, so acknowledge it and respond so your baby is interested and motivated to keep signing.

 

 

12 Basic Signs

All done: Start with your upturned palms close together, then turn them over and move outwards

Daddy: Open your palm, with your fingers facing upward. Next, tap your forehead with your thumb.

Drink: Cup your hand and place it to your mouth

Eat: Tap your fingertips to your mouth with your palm down and your thumb touching your fingers.

Food: With closed fingertips, bring your hand to your mouth.

Hungry: Rub your belly

Milk: Open and close your fist as if you were milking a cow

More: Tap your fingertips together

Mummy: Open your palm, with your fingers facing upward and tap your thumb to your chin.

Potty: Put your hand in a fist and shake it from side to side.

Sleep: Extend your fingers and spread apart. Move your hand from over your face down to below your chin, with your fingers touching your thumb. Additionally, to act this out, you can relax your face and let your eyes get droopy.

Water: Put three fingers up and tap your index finger on your chin.

 

Credits: Omar Lopez, Nathan Dumlao, Helena Lopes, Baby Sign Language, Speech and Language Kids, Speech and Language Kids, Newborn Care - Deciphering Your Baby’s Needs, Developmental MIlestones - Newborn to 1 Year

 

Learn all about newborn car seats, how to correctly install them, and which are compatible with strollers for a full travel system. Little ones can be safe during their car journeys with properly installed car seats - keep them in a rear-facing configuration as long as possible. Keep your little ones safe by learning to install your car seats correctly.

Prevent your babies from any vehicular accidents by correctly installing newborn and toddler car seats. Examples of these include convertible car seats, or seats compatible with strollers for a complete travel system. Learn why these are important and how to install them correctly.

 

 

Car Seats - A Necessity?

All children below 1.35m should be appropriately secured in their seats, whether it’s a car seat, booster seat or a seatbelt

 

According to Singapore’s laws, secure your children below 1.35m with an appropriate restraint, booster seat or adjustable seatbelt. Of course, anyone taller than this should also be wearing a seatbelt. If found not wearing a seatbelt, they can be fined up to $1,000 or jailed up to three months - or both.

Hence, children should never ride in a car in their mother’s arms, a baby carrier or sling. Between 2012 to 2018, public hospitals have treated 1,203 children from below one to nine years old for traumatic injuries sustained from motor vehicular accidents. Approximately half of these children were wearing child seats and/or seatbelts. Bring a newborn car seat when taking a taxi or private hire cars. Taxis do not carry these, and Grab's car seats are only for those above one.

 

Used Car Seats

If you’re considering using a car seat from a friend or relative, ensure it’s not older than four years. Models older than three years may not comply with current safety standards. As the plastic ages it may break easier, hence increasing the risk in the event of car accidents. Next, all parts should be in working order, with no slack or loose harnesses. These car seats should have either a three-point or five-point harness.

Make sure the manufacturer has not recalled the seats, there are no missing parts and the manual is included. Otherwise, you might be able to download the manuals online. Another criteria is that these seats have never been involved in any accidents, even if they’re minor, as hairline cracks can form in the seat shell.

Give the seat a thorough clean to remove any dirt, bacteria and sweat. Send it to the Pramwash Service at Motherswork’s store in Great World City. Indicate your booking date and time via a note when checking out. Options include the 30-min Express Plus package ($25.90) or the 60-min Basic package ($57.90). The Express Plus package consists of a high temperature and high pressure steam cleaning, killing bacteria, dust mites and bed bugs. Meanwhile, the Basic package includes vacuuming, washing, wiping and sterilising the fabrics and frame

 

 

Installing Your Car Seats

While the safest place might be the middle of the back seats, it’s better to have the seat correctly installed where possible.

Install your car seat in the middle of the back seat, as side collisions are the most deadly. However, the position is less important than being able to install the seat correctly. Behind the driver may be safer since he/she instinctively protects this side of the vehicle. If you’re parallel parking, you may wish to install the car seat at the passenger’s side to easily get your baby out of the car.

Use the ISOFIX (International Standardisation Organisation, plus Fixation) or with regular seat belts. For taxis with ISOFIX anchors, book the Mercedes LimoCabs, the Hyundai i40, a "Green taxi" or SMRT Toyota Prius taxi. Use the Comfort DelGro or the SMRT apps to book. Try to choose a car seat that works with both installation methods.

 

Installing Your ISOFIX-anchored Car Seat

Install the ISOFIX base in just three steps. Start by pulling out the ISOFIX fixing points or the yellow metal bars, and place the base of the car seat at the back seat. Next, push the seat firmly against the backrest. After this, lock the two fixing points into the vehicle’s seat’ metal clips - you should hear a click if done correctly. Confirm this with the colour indicator on the ISOFIX bases and car seats.

Some seats may come with a support leg or top tether. Install the support leg by pulling it down, and adjusting it to the correct height and put it on the floor of the car. When installed, the leg should be stable against the floor. Lock it firmly in position. Next, install the top tether. Clip the yellow hook onto the ISOFIX fixing point on the boot floor, then tighten the tether. Check the colour indicators to ensure these have been correctly installed.

 

Seat Belt Installation

Read both the car seat’s instruction manual and the vehicle owner’s manual. In particular, you’d need to learn how to “lock” the seat belt. Start by placing the car seat base in the back seat, then thread the seat belt through the rear-facing belt path. Ensure the seat belt is not twisted. After this, buckle and lock the seat belt. Next, press firmly down on the car seat, and tighten until the base is unable to move more than 2cm in any direction.

Additionally, recline the seat at an angle less than 45° - follow the indicators or adjusters on the car seat. You’ll need to adjust the angle as your child grows. Resources online include a YouTube video from the manufacturer. You should definitely practice installing and removing the seat to make sure you’re familiar with the process.

 

Emergency Locking vs Automatic Locking Retractor

In Singapore, most car seat belts have the Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) mode that locks in an accident. Less common is the Automatic Locking Retractor (ALR) or child-restraint mode. In order to figure out which system the taxi or private hire car has, pull the belt out of the retractor, then feed 10cm of the belt back and pull on the belt again. If it’s in ELR mode, it requires a locking clip.

 

 

Newborn Car Seats

Developed by car seat manufacturer BeSafe®, the Stokke iZi Go Modular™ has an ergonomically-designed carrying handle and an adjustable five-point safety harness.

The Stokke iZi Go Modular™ by BeSafe® ($499) baby seat is easy to install with the ISOFIX base and carry around. Your baby can sit comfortably and safely in the seat with an ergonomically-designed carrying handle, plush padding and adjustable five-point safety harness. Developed by trusted car seat manufacturer BeSafe®, the 4.4kg car seat also fits into a stroller without needing extra adaptors. The colour indicator will ensure you’ve installed the seat correctly. Other features of this seat include easy-to-adjust pillows, cushion and harness as well as patented magnetic shoulder pads. Finally, the car seat is compatible with both the Stokke Beat and Xplory.

 

 

BeSafe iZi Go Modular X1 i-Size

This baby car seat from BeSafe is AGR-certified and back-friendly, with protection for the side and the head in case of an accident.

Another option is the BeSafe iZi Go Modular X1 i-Size ($469) seat, consisting of a baby and toddler seat as well as an ISOFIX base. Your little ones can sit in this AGR-certified, back-friendly car seat from birth up to about 12 months. Safety features include advanced protection for the head with the Dynamic Force Absorber, additional side impact protection, as well as a five-point harness. The wide harness belts and shoulder pads spread forces over a bigger area for increased safety.

Especially for babies, the seats have been designed with a newborn hugger containing a cleverly placed edge for stability support, and an optimised reclined angle. The newly designed head area provides more internal space for your baby’s head, and the internal harness and headrest are easily adjustable. Additionally, the car seat also has a sun canopy with UPF50+, and can be fitted onto most strollers to create a travel system.

 

 

Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix

The Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix can be used from birth to a weight of 13kg, and is compatible with several treatments to create a travel system.

The Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix ($269) is compatible with Maxi-Cosi, Quinny and many other strollers. It's lightweight and can be secured with the car seat belt or the Click & Go Maxi-Cosi base units. Fix the CabrioFix with the three-point seat belt or the ISOFIX base. Moreover, use this car seat from birth onwards, or up to 13kg. Also, you can remove the cover and wash and clean it in the washing machine. For optimal safety, the CabrioFix has been designed with side protection, and extra padding for your baby’s utmost comfort. In addition, the CabrioFix can also be put into five different positions.

 

 

Maxi-Cosi AxissFix Plus

Another good choice is the Maxi-Cosi AxissFix Plus, suitable for toddlers up to four years, with a handy height indicator, and adjustable headrest and recline.

Suitable from birth up to four years, the Maxi-Cosi AxissFix Plus ($659) baby and toddler seat features top safety performance. Additionally, the seat complies with the latest i-Size car seat regulation (R129) and enhanced head and neck protection. Use the height indicator to switch configurations when your child is old enough, and change to forward-facing with a quick seat rotation. Moreover, the seat also features an adjustable headrest and recline.

 

Safety features include a cosy safety inlay for newborns, a top tether and ISOFIX installation, and a five-point restraint harness. Additional seat indicators guarantee you install the car seat properly. Meanwhile, the automatic safety belt system maintains a secure connection between the base and the seat.

 

 

Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller

The Doona infant car seat also comprises a stroller, and can be used either with ISOFIX or regular seatbelts.

Perfect as a travel system combining both a car seat and the stroller, the Doona Infant Car Seat stroller ($639) is suitable for your newborn to use until he/she is 13kg. Additionally, you can use this with most cars with the ISOFIX or regular seatbelts. The award-winning Doona has passed all legally required compliance tests, having been checked in more than a hundred crash tests. The handle, placed against the back of the car seat, provides the baby with Anti-Rebound protection, absorbing the impact, and reducing rebound injuries.

 

Other features include fail-safes, to ensure the seat is used properly, a five-point harness, side impact protection, and using breathable, removable and washable textiles. Finally, the Doona is approved for air travel, but do check with your airline beforehand.

 

 

Car Safety for Older Children

After your child reaches the weight or height limit, turn the car seat to face forward.

Ride rear-facing until your child reaches the highest weight or height stated by the car seat manufacturer, following which you can face the seat forward. Additionally, the harness straps should be at or above your child’s shoulders. Choose between a convertible seat or switch from an infant-only seat to a toddler car seat. Adapt the seat for toddlers, ensure the harness straps are at or above your child’s shoulders. By the time your child is around 18 to 36kg, use a booster seat instead, together with a lap and shoulder belt. The lap belt should land across the hips and pelvis, while the shoulder belt crosses the middle of your child’s chest and shoulder. After your child is 1.5m, between 8 to 12 years old, they can use an adult seat belt.

Relevant Reads: Developmental Milestones, Gifts for Expecting Mums and Newborn Care

Credits: Sharon McCutcheon, PublicDomainPictures, senivpietro