Car seats are an essential purchase for almost every new parent. If you own a car or plan to drive your child around, then a car seat is fundamental, and in most countries it’s the law. This begs the question for most parents-to-be, what car seat shall I buy? What is the best baby car seat to buy?
When most parents-to-be then start researching this purchase they release that car seats aren’t cheap. In fact they are known to be the most expensive item a parent of a newborn has to buy. More expensive than the stroller and the baby monitor combined. Most are in fact shocked to find out how much a car seat costs.
The next realisation most parents-to-be go through is that the costs don’t stop simply at your newborn car seat. Most car seats don’t last forever. In fact most are only eligible until your baby is 12 months or 18 months old and then you need to buy an upgrade. This essentially doubles the cost of your car seat over the long term.
So what can parents do about this? Are there ways of keeping costs down when buying a car seat? Here are our tips…
5 top tips to saving you hundreds:
Most parents fall into the trap of buying multiple car seats over the course of the child’s 12 year car seat journey, from newborn car seat to booster seat. This means, as mentioned above, they buy a car seat that only lasts until 18 months or so, and then need to buy a new one that lasts until 4 years old. When finally they buy a booster seat too. That’s 3 car seats totalling £500 at least per purchase.
This is a common trap, and one that retailers don’t make easy. Categorisation of car seats can be confusing and specifications, like age, aren’t always clear. This coupled with the fact that researching a car seat can take hours if not days of your time. So mistakes are made, and parents just end up buying the one their friend recommended.
Therefore our top tip is to seek out a longer term car seat. These are often known as convertible car seats and last from newborn all the way up to 12 years old in most cases. Examples like the SilverCross All Motion can last you for 12 solid years. It comes with inserts that you remove overtime as your child grows. The Joie i-spin XL Signature is another top car seat for longevity. Lasting also from newborn up to 12 years old. So many parents don’t realise there are car seats available like this, and although the initial outlay might seem more expensive than say a Cybex Cloud Z2 or Cybex Aton M, but over the long-run it’s 100% worth it.
Another top tip is to buy a car seat that comes with a base. Again not every site makes it entirely clear whether the base is sold with it. If it doesn’t it can double the cost of your entire car seat. Researching for car seats that come with a base will absolutely pay off.
Most parents buy a base because they require features such as 360 rotation, which aids getting your child in and out of the car seat. Plus the ISOFIX clips at the back of the base that secures it, along with the leg, into your car is a key safety feature.
As mentioned above the SilverCross All Motion and the Joie I-spin XL Signature both comes with a base. Now this may seem like a high upfront cost, but if you tally the base of say the Cybex Sirona T or Maxi-Cosi Pebble 360, it often accumulates into more expense.
The above being said, many parents will find that a base is not entirely essential. In the U.K. for example an ISOFIX base is not a requirement, and car seats can be secured with a seatbelt. Take the Cybex Cloud Z2 for newborns. This can be installed into your car with a base (at an extra expense) or via a seatbelt that wraps around the car seat and secures it tightly.
If you skip buying the base it can save you hundreds. We do get though that most parents will feel secure knowing the base holds the metal car seat shell and bottom in place. And it certainly does that. So only skip the base if you feel safe to do so.
BestCarSeats.co.uk researched and found that picking your car seat brand wisely can save you around £100 per car seat you buy. This is a substantial saving. The reason for this is because like every product you buy there is a range of branding and a range in quality. The trick is to find a brand that fits into your budget, plus has the quality you desire.
Brands such as SilverCross and Joie are renowned for sitting in the medium to budget range of car seats, yet they retain the quality of a Cybex and Maxi-Cosi. Joie in particular have a full range of lower priced car seats compared to other brands. But their car seats remain comfortable, easy to install, and importantly completely compliant with safety regulations.
And lastly, tip number 5 is to time your purchase or seek bundles. Not all parents can time their purchase, especially with a little one on the way. But if you can wait until January sales, or better yet Black Friday deals, then you could knock off hundreds from a car seat purchase.
Also, look out for bundle deals. If you’re buying a stroller anyway, normally parents buy a car seat that is compatible with that. One that sits into your stroller is a great option to have. So if you’re buying a stroller anyway, look for bundle deals that will knock off the price of all items overall.
Fundamental tips to saving hundreds on buying a car seat
Ideas such as timing your purchase of skipping buying the car seat base might not work for every parents. But picking the right brand and buying a car seat for the long term shouldn’t be avoided. They are fundamental tips for parents seeking a car seat for their newborn.
Overall it’s not too difficult to be savvy when buying your car seat. Baby car seats and even toddler car seats are extremely expensive items so it pays to be wise in your options and how to navigate the complicated world of car seats.