Car / Booster Seats Buying Guide

New parents are often incredibly confused when it comes time to purchase the car booster seat for a new infant. Things can also get a bit confusing when the time comes to invest in a larger model for the growing child. And, yes, parents in Australia and New Zealand must remember that children ages four to seven years must travel in an approved, forward facing, child restraint or booster seat.


So, this means that "step one" in the buying process is to ask yourself about the age of the child who needs a booster or approved car seat. Once this is clearly understood, the parents then have to consider if they are interested in paying a bit more to get a "convertible" seat too. Convertible seats are those that are designed for newborns, but which later transition into an approved booster for the older child. This can save money, but only if the unit is well-made and designed to last for up to seven years.


Interestingly enough, this has led to many parents opting to purchase a smaller car seat designed for ages zero to six months, and then going for the convertible unit later. It is this "capsule" design that works like a "tote" that ensures the baby can be safe, comfortable, and easily carried from car, to shops, and home again.


Some Strong Suggestions

Even with this understanding of the various stages of car booster design and use, parents might still not be sure about what they will purchase. To help alleviate the confusion, let's just consider one of the more popular convertible units - the Fisher Price Booster Carseat with Harness. Popular because of its affordable price as much as its excellent design, this car booster works in two separate stages to accommodate the safety and comfort needs of the growing child.


It has a five-point harness that prevents the child from accidentally slipping outside of the restraints. It features side impact padding to protect the child to the fullest degree possible during an accident. It has height adjustable head support for neck protection, and a machine washable cover that ensures the seat can be used for the longest time possible.


This tells us that a buyer has to consider the many different design features if they are to get what they want and need from a car booster. They may also have to take the size of the booster that they choose into consideration as well. Some of the convertible units are quite large, and that can make them difficult to use from birth to age seven.


Getting Guidance

One of the best ways to identify the right car booster for your needs is to head to a site that allows you to do some comparison shopping. Putting seats side by side and looking at what they actually provide is often the only way to be sure you are getting the best seat for your child (and your budget). Let's not overlook the tremendous value of consumer feedback too. When other parents complain about a seat or give it a poor rating, it is a very wise idea to find out exactly why.


We would also recommend using the Internet to find listings that you can search by manufacturer and by price. This will ensure that you are able to really see the top names and how they actually compare against one another.


What are these names? Currently, some of the most frequently purchased and highly rated manufacturers of car booster seats include:

  • Fisher Price
  • Mothers Choice
  • Cosco
  • Safety 1st
  • Phil & Teds
  • Evenflow
  • Silver Cross
  • Safe n Sound
  • Maxi Cosi

You will find that these names are most often associated with fully compliant models that meet all government required safety standards, and which are also outfitted with a lot of the latest technologies and features.


Pricing

Of course, many parents have to make a choice based almost entirely on their budgets. This can be extremely frustrating because some of the best car booster seats may also be those with the highest price tags.


The best thing to do at such times is to simply use the same side by side comparison tactics to identify the most feature-rich car booster seats in the chosen price range. The average pricing is usually between $150 and $200, but there are models that greatly exceed this figure. These tend to be the fully convertible models, and that means that the cost may not be so exorbitant at all. For example, if you purchased a high-quality convertible model for more than $400, you may still end up paying much more than that as you invested in two different seats over the course of the first few years of a child's life. So, this means that you may want to consider the higher priced car booster seats simply because they can deliver many years of security and service.