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Car seats

Your child should always be securely strapped in, and preferably in a car seat, every time you travel by car. There are several types of car seat on the market:

Group 0: For babies under 10kg (up to around 9 months). Rear-facing seats with built-in harnesses that strap around your baby's shoulders and across the lap, like the 'Snug 'n Safe'. These are generally fastened into the car by the car seatbelt. They should be strapped into the back seat, as airbags in the front of the car are dangerous for the baby. Make sure that your baby is securely strapped in to the seat, and the seat is fastened with the car seat belt.

Group 0 : For babies up to around 13kg. A similar rear-facing seat in a slightly larger size, like the Asti Baby Nest.

Group 1: 9-18kg (9 months to around 5 years). Combination seats are designed to be used in the rear-facing position until your child is around 13kg, then turned around so that the child can face forward once they weigh enough and are able to sit on their own. Some models available are the Asti Bonni Tot, Anchor Maxi Cosi or Safeway Executive.

Group 2: 18-25kg (5 to 7 years). Booster seats are designed to lift the child so that they can be secured using the normal car seatbelt. Some are like solid cushions, while some have removable backs to give extra support until the child is tall enough. Asti have several models of booster seats.

Group 3: 22-36kg. Booster cushions give just a little extra height for children who are not quite tall enough to wear the normal car seatbelt. Graco and Asti have good booster cushions.

Tips for choosing a car seat:

  • Only buy SABS approved car seats. Look for the SABS mark on the seat or on the underside of the restraints.
  • Do not buy second-hand car seats unless you are absolutely sure they have never been in a car accident. Car accidents can cause damage or weakness that you won't see but which will be dangerous for your child. Do ask around for mothers whose babies have just outgrown their car seat, as buying second-hand can be much cheaper.
  • Make sure that you understand how to install the car seat in your car.
  • Ask the shop assistants to help you if you are not sure. It's best to shop for a car seat at a baby shop so that you can be sure the assistants will know about the products.
  • There are good, inexpensive car seats available. Don't overspend on a fancy car seat - look for the best value and good safety features.

Use your car seat from the first day you take the baby home from the hospital. If you are ever in a situation where no car seats are available, make sure that your child is securely strapped in with the normal car seatbelt, in the back of the car if possible. You can put the shoulder section of the seatbelt behind the child's back and leave the lap part in place across their lap if the shoulder part seems to be choking them. In an emergency, an adult can travel with a baby on their lap with the seatbelt secured across both adult and baby, preferably in the back of the car.

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