Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Car seats: What to look for

When buying a car seat, this is what you should look for.

I call it the Zzz Factor. It is the ability of a car seat to make your child feel sleepy within 5 minutes of popping him in.


Take it from a mum of a toddler. A mum who drives quite a lot. A mum who's had to endure long distance drives with him. Whether it's a macet situation in Jakarta or the M... whatever number dual carriageway that takes us from Liverpool to Scotland, there is no bliss like a quiet, sleeping child in the back seat of a car.

If you buy a car seat from a reputable manufacturer like your Maxi-Cosis and Britaxes, they're made to the required safety standards. So I don't think safety would be an issue here unless you're scrimping and buying a car seat from oh I don't know... Uncle and Aunty Car Seat Sdn Bhd. As we drive around a lot, a car seat was one that I knew we would not compromise on. We bought one from Recaro, I think it's the Signo. Dear Hubby's reasoning was that Recaro make excellent car seats for big boys so they should also make excellent ones for little boys. It wasn't cheap even after a 20% discount and for the longest time, I wondered if I'd gone overboard with this "My one and only son! I need him to be safe!" bit.

Then we went to the UK for a holiday and since we needed a car seat for only 2+ weeks, we bought a basic one from Argos. It cost us $45 (quid... not dollars but I don't have the pound sign on my keyboard) vs $200+ (quids again) that we paid for our Recaro. It was basic, it got the job done ie kept Connor safe. But it did not have the Zzz Factor. So when we did our annual Liv-Aberdeen drive, Connor was quite the pain in the rear.... seat. When we were finally back in KL and Connor was safely harnessed into his Recaro again, it was Dear Hubby, not I, who said "Thank god we bought this car seat."

Forget the cup holder. Car seat toys, snacks, drinks... okay, but they only keep the bub quiet for so long. What you need is a total knocked-out snoring child for driving bliss. Unfortunately, you can't test the Zzz Factor out in the store but I guess a nicely padded car seat would be a good indication of its Zzz Factor.

You've been warned.

(This is not a paid post. Just an expression of my relief that the money we paid for this Recaro seat was well spent after all. Phewww...)


  1. Excellent post babe! Very helpful indeed :) I know Recaro works for big boys cos my brother swears by it for his car racing!

  2. Did you know you can hire baby equipment? It might be a way of getting a quality brand equipment without paying the big bucks and they usually do short term or long term hire. Btw, on that topic, do they have baby equipment hire in M'sia too? We will eventually go back to m'sia for a holiday and am wondering if they have that sort of service there.

  3. Totally agree wif ya. I have a maxi-cosi priori xp, and it definitely has the zzz factor haha Best buy ever :)

  4. Shortcake: Was actually thinking of you when I wrote this but I guess it came a bit too late since you guys already got one. Never mind... keep the thought in mind when you need to buy the next car seat!
    Scott and Elaine: First of all, you have such a cute little girl! And I love the golden retriever. Tell me - how do you manage the baby AND dogs? It would drive me nuts.
    I checked out car seat hire in the UK and it was expensive. Maybe I should have mentioned we stashed our basic car seat with the family so that we can re-use it on future trips till Connor is 4yo, hehe. I'll write a post on baby equipment hire here in KL, that'll be for you!
    Grace: Oh yes, we tested that. Borrowed that from a friend and it also had Zzz Factor. Top marks for that!

  5. Hi Mrs TM,

    Nowadays, since the baby arrived, I don't really spend much time with them unfortunately. With my daughter having eczema, I've grown to be really pedantic about cleanliness, and so I don't play with them. But my husband takes them for a walk every 2-3 days. You'd think they'd make the most of the big backyard we have and run around, but they just sit there. I do miss playing with them. By the way, baby no. 2 arriving soon in 5 weeks if not before. I'm so ready to pop already! Hahaha!

  6. Oh wow! Congrats Scott and Elaine! And congrats to Isabella on being a big sister!