Baby Seat Jargon Explained
The world of baby seats can be mighty confusing for any parent. There is so much jargon that we use with car seats that leaves many parents shaking their heads wondering what we are talking about. So we are here to demystify our world for you. Here you will find an explanation of each of the key terms we use in the baby seat world in Australia.
Convertible car seat
A convertible car seat is for a newborn that essentially grows with your child. It is harnessed and can feature ISOFIX installation. Each convertible car seat will be different in what it offers in terms of features so it is important to check those - after reading this handy guide, of course - before purchasing to ensure it fits your needs.
All convertible car seats can be used from birth to approximately four years.
There are two types of booster seats you can buy - convertible, with a harnessed option for younger children that converts for an older child, and regular booster seats with only a lap-sash seatbelt option. The age at which your child can move into a booster seat will depend on the specifications of the seat you buy.
Rearward facing is the way the car seat is positioned in the car, i.e. the seat faces towards the rear of the car, rather than to the front. All babies must be rearward facing until they are at least six months of age. Many car seats these days offer options for extended rearward facing, often till 12 months and up to approximately 30 months old.
A forward facing car seat or booster seat is one that faces to the front of the car. Children from the age of six months may sit in a forward facing car seat. If you choose to keep them rearward facing for longer, that is totally fine also. As long as the seat they are sitting in is appropriate for their age and size.
Harnessed vs Unharnessed
A harnessed seat must be used for all children up until at least four years of age. Depending on the specifications of the particular seat you are using, a child can be harnessed for longer. An unharnessed booster will not have a built-in harness. For these seats, a child uses a regular seat belt instead. In the case of convertible booster seats, the harness will be removable, after approximately 4 years and then the seat belt is used until approximately 8 years, such as the Kin AP Convertible Booster Seat.
A five-point harness will be used on all harnessed car seats sold in Australia. These harnesses have straps that come over each shoulder and around the waist to connect at the centre buckle.
For boosters without a harness, a lap-sash seatbelt is used. This is the regular seatbelt used in cars.
Installation is fitting the seat in your car. In Australia, it is not a requirement to have your car seats professionally installed. However, if you are unsure, there are many professional services available to you. The key when installing your own baby seat is to thoroughly read the manual before attempting to start the install.
Isofix is a simple installation system that can be used in many modern cars. Select Mother’s Choice convertible car seats feature ISOFIX. You will need to check your car’s manual to determine if it has the ISOFIX tethers. In an ISOFIX compatible car, you will find ISOFIX tethers along the back of the seat. The ISOGO attachments clip into this and you pull the tether to tighten. With an ISOGO fitting, the attachment clips will indicate a correct installation by turning green when the tether has been tightened sufficiently.
If you aren’t using ISOFIX to install your seat you will need to use the car seatbelt. Each seat will have a belt path that indicates where to pass the seatbelt through for correct installation.
In a rearward facing car seat, the tether strap attaches to the anchor point in your car and is tightened to hold the car seat in place (in addition to either the ISOFIX or seatbelt connection). When the car seat turns forward facing, the tether strap is also attached to the anchor point,
This is the point in the car behind the car seat that the tether strap clips into. If you can’t find the anchor point, or are unsure of what you are looking for, check your car manual.
Shoulder height marker
The shoulder height markers on a seat indicate correct usage of the seat for the seated height of your child. Depending on the type of seat, the markers advise you when to start using your seat, when to change your seat from rearward to forward and even when your child has outgrown their seat. For example, if their shoulders sit above the exit height marker, it’s either time to move to a bigger seat, or if they are 8 years of age to transition out of a booster.
Seats will have one or multiple height markers.
This is our signature technology that features in a range of Mother’s Choice booster seats to provide added protection to your most precious cargo. AirProtect absorbs the force of side impact crashes, acting like a soft pillow.
Many seats have recline positions that both ensure a safe installation as well as making the seat more comfortable for your child. Always follow the instructions in the seat manual when reclining the car seat.
In car seats and booster seats designed for use by infants, many will come with an insert that is designed for both the comfort of the baby and to provide additional support to the baby. As your baby grows and no longer needs the insert, this can be removed.
Kids can get hot and sweaty, particularly when sitting in a hot car in their seat! Wicking fabric, such as we use in a range of our car seats, wicks sweat and moisture away from your little one, keeping them cooler and more comfortable for those long - and short - car trips.