According to a report released last year by the Department of Transportation, an average of 262 road crashes happen daily in Metro Manila. In a separate report, the Department of Health (DOH) said that among kids under the age of 17, road crashes are the second leading cause of death. It is alarming information that should make you purchase a car seat pronto because it is an investment in your child's future.
Don't wait for the "Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act of 2017," the proposed bill that will require drivers of private cars to secure any child under 12 years of age in a car seat, to get passed by Congress. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a rear-facing child car seat can reduce injury by 80 percent for children ages 0 to 4, compared to a seat belt that reduced injury by only 32 percent.
We’ve rounded up some choices for those who are buying for the first time. Three out of the five options need to be secured using your vehicle seatbelts, while two make use of LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) which is a standardized car seat attachment that simplifies car seat installation, plus enhances safety. Either one, if used correctly, is equally safe. (For guidelines on how to choose, install, and position car seats, click here.)
1. Mothercare Madrid Combination Car Seat
This is the least expensive option on this list, but it doesn’t scrimp on quality. Designed for use from newborn to 4 years, it can be used rear-facing (the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, recommends that all infants ride-rear facing up to 2 years of age) to front-facing (typically preschool age). It has a 3-position recline and a removable body support cushion for infants. The deep wide wings offer side impact protection and the head cushion and chest and buckle pads ensure comfort. The padded cover is also removable and washable. This car seat does not have LATCH, which means you need to use your car’s seatbelts to secure it.
Available at Mothercare
2. Joie Every Stage
This car seat says it can grow with your baby up to 12 years of age, so it’s a true bang for your buck. The rear-facing option has one recline position while the front-facing reclines at four different positions. It provides side impact protection and comes with extra panels at the sides of the seat (which you can pull to release and push back to hide) for added side protection. As your child grows, you can easily pull the lever at the top of the seat and the side wing will automatically widen as the headrest is raised. It has built-in ventilation for added comfort. It also comes with mesh pockets where you can store your child’s favorite toys and things. Again, it does not come with LATCH but it’s the most compact, taking up only one passenger seat.
Available at Baby Company
3. Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat
Compared to its counterparts, all parts of this car seat are washable with a seat pad that zips off easily for machine washing. It will grow with kids from newborn to preschool with its rear-facing and front-facing options. It comes with a removable infant insert that can accommodate infants from 5 to 11 pounds. A 9-position recline allows the car seat to fit a wider range of vehicles. The headrest can also be raised up to six positions — as the headrest is raised, the shoulder strap position also raises and widens to accommodate growing children. For easier access, the car seat has a padded harness management system that holds both sides of the waist belt out of the way until your child is ready to be buckled. It also uses LATCH. The cup holder is removable for use on either side of the seat.
Available at Baby Company, Lazada
4. Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Car Seat
This car seat uses LATCH and will transition your baby from rear-facing to front-facing. It also converts into a booster seat for when your kids are big enough (around 8 to 12 years). The 6-position recline and 10-position headrest will keep your baby comfortable as he grows. The frame is reinforced with steel to ensure durability, and the energy absorbing foam provides head support and protects your baby at any age. There are also 2 integrated cup holders so your child has easy access to snacks and drinks. Seat covers are washable and can be removed without having to unbuckle the harness.
Available at Baby Company, Lazada
5. Aprica Fladea Grow DX
This is the most expensive on the list but it has an array of features that justify the price. Apart from rear- or front-facing, you also have the option to lay your baby fully flat on the seat, allowing her to sleep soundly. Though it’s secured using your car’s seatbelts, the seat can rotate 360-degrees, so you can easily make your baby face you (when parked) or fix the car seat while your baby is inside. The additional car seat leg support ensures better stability and absorbs impact in case of sudden stops. Its unique design also provides ample room for your child to move her hands and stretch her legs freely. The foot wrapper reduces the impact that can be felt from the car door as the vehicle is moving. It also comes with an adjustable seat depth and headrest so newborns and kids up to 4 years of age can have appropriate support. A flexible mesh shade blocks out UV rays, helpful for long rides during the daytime. The inner hip seat is made of ventilated mesh that’s machine washable plus it comes with a thermos medical system that helps regulate the temperature of the seat so your child is constantly cool and dry.
Available at Baby Company, Rustan’s and leading department stores