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Car Seat Information

Welcome to our Car Seat information page.  We have put together some information that will help you to make the correct car seat selection.
 
A guide to choosing the right child car seat:

What is the best car seat for my child?
The best car seat is one that fits your child, fits your car(s) and is easy to install and to use. Here are some useful tips and recommendations to help you decide.

Weight is more important than age
Child car seats are divided into groups, based on the weight of the child. Please remember that not only the age, but above all the weight of your child is important.

Baby Group 0+ birth to 13 kg | up to 12 months
Toddler Group 1 9 to 18 kg | 9 months to 3½ years
Child Group 2/3 15 to 36 kg | 3½ years to 12 years

  • Never buy a child car seat that is too big and make sure it is appropriate for your child’s weight from the first day of use. Maxi-Cosi car seats state the correct weight category on the orange ECE safety standard label. Age categories are also often stated, but because one child can be heavier than the other, the age group should be considered primarily an indication.

 

  • It is safest to buy a car seat to suit your child’s weight as they grow, rather than buying one car seat that covers the whole weight range.


The Car Safety Expert says: “It is not just the age of your child that you have to consider when choosing a child car seat. You also have to consider their weight and height and which seat provides the most secure fit in your car; whether your baby or child will be taking long or short journeys and if you will need to transfer your child car seat from one car to another, as well as what’ is most convenient for you as a parent. My top tip would be opt for a seat that fits onto a base. Once it’ is in securely, you are guaranteed peace of mind your little one is safe, and the seat simply clicks in and out with ease which is perfect for busy parents."

When is it time to switch to the next stage car seat?

Rear-facing up to 12 months
Wait as long as possible to switch from a baby to a toddler car seat. Babies up to the age of 12 months are best protected travelling in a rear-facing direction. This way, the energy of the impact is absorbed and distributed by the seat shell and car seat belts.

Switch from baby to toddler seat
Your baby has outgrown his baby car seat when the top of his ears extend past the top of the seat back. Do not switch to the next stage car seat until this time. Make sure your baby’s head is generously protected by the top of the seat.

Please note -  it is not a problem if your child’s legs extend beyond the edge of the seat.

Switch from toddler to child seat
From a toddler seat, step up to a group 2/3 child seat if your child’s shoulders are 2 cm above the highest openings for the shoulder straps in the toddler seat, when the headrest is set in its highest position. Make sure the headrest of the child car seat is set at the lowest position when switching over.

No more car seats
You no longer legally require a child car seat if your child is 1.35 or 1.50 metres tall (approx. 12 years of age). Children no longer using car seats must use the regular car seat belts at all times.

Click here to return to our Maxi-Cosi car seat product page.


What is the law in NZ?

The law in New Zealand requires children under 5 years of age to be restrained in a child car seat for every ride.

The car seat must be an approved car seat that is the right size for the height and weight of the child, the vehicle safety belt on its own is not enough. Never put your baby’s car seat in the front if there is an airbag.

For Children under 5 years old:

  • They must be properly restrained by an approved child restraint.
  • They must not travel in the car if you cannot put them in an approved child restraint.

For Children 5 to 7 years old:
  • They must use a child restraint if available
  • If there is no child restraint available, the child must use a safety belt if available
  • If there is no safety belt available the child must be in the back seat.

For Children 8 to 14 years old
  • They must use safety belts if available
  • If there is no child restraint available, the child must use a safety belt if available
  • If there is no safety belt available the child must be in the back seat.
Click here to return to our Maxi-Cosi car seat product page

What Safety Standards Should You Look For Before Buying:

Safety Standards - when you buy a car seat in NZ, it must meet one of these 3 safety standards;

All child restraints sold here must meet 1 of the 3 standards listed below.

1.Australian/New Zealand standard AS/NZS1754: This can be identified by the Australian "tick" mark.

australian-standard-original[1]

2.European standard ECE R44.04: This is labelled with a circle containing an "E".
European Standard

 

The European Safety Standards are also very commonly found in New Zealand. They can be recognised by the yellow safety sticker pictured on the left. The sticker can usually be found on the back of the carseat in a protected area to avoid the sticker rubbing off. There is an older version (pre 2005) of the European Standard called ECE R44.03. This was replaced by ECE R44/04 in 2005 and carseat manufactures had until June 2006 to comply with the changes. There should me very little of these seats left but something that you should be aware of.

3. US standard FMVSS213: Restraints that comply with this standard must show the number FMVSS213. They carry the "S" mark to show they have been certified for use in New Zealand.

Standard

Click here to return to our Maxi-Cosi car seat product page


Buyer Check List - What Features To Look For In A Car Seat:

1. Does the car restraint have tether straps:

A car restraint should come with a the tether strap which must be used for all rear- and forward-facing seats that comply with the Australian/New Zealand standard – otherwise their safety performance will be compromised. Many forward-facing US restraints also use a tether strap, and the latest Isofix standard includes a tether strap. A tether strap does not necessarily make a car seat safer than a seat designed without a tether, but if the seat has one it must be used. Not  using the tether strap will risk serious injury to the child, or worse.

2. Does the car seat have a seatback that is height adjustable?

A car seat may claim to be suitable for children up to a certain weight, but a tall child can easily out grow a seat before then. Some forward-facing seats and booster seats have adjustable seatbacks that can be raised as the child grows.
 
3. Does the car seat have side protection wings?

A car seat with well padded side wings will help to protect your child in a crash that involves side impact. It is estimated that 1 in every 4 crashes involves a side impact. Side wings are often height-adjustable so they can “grow” with the child.

4. Is the Lining easy to remove and wash?

Make sure the lining of the car seat can be easily removed for washing.

Top Tip - to protect the fabric on the back seats in your car, cut out a square of foam mat or use a towel under the car seat - this will catch food crumbs and will make for easy cleaning of your back seat.



Safety Tips:

  • Buy Early - buy your car seat well in advance of when you will be needing it. This will give you time to get used to installing it.
  • Try before you buy - always try the restraint in the car before you buy. Not all restraints fit all vehicles: some will not fit when they are in the rear-facing position.
  • Check safety belt length - check that the safety belt in your car is long enough to secure the car seat correctly.
  • More than one car? - if you have more than one family car - make sure you can fit the car seat in all of your vehicles.
  • Airbags? - never place rear-facing restraints (including capsules) in the front passenger seat if the car has an airbag that cannot be disabled. In a crash, the airbag will throw the restraint up against the passenger seat and the baby could be seriously injured or killed. Research shows that children are safest in the rear of the vehicle.
  • Install correctly - A restraint that is incorrectly installed or fitted will put a child at risk of serious injury or death. If you are installing the restraint yourself, always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Plunket can also help with installing and fitting the restraint. Retailers may have staff who are Child Restraint Technicians. Technicians have had training and can advise you on your choice of restraint and show you how to install it properly.

 
Do not buy second-hand car seats:

A second-hand restraint may have been bought overseas and may not comply with NZ safety standards. It may have been in an accident, or may have expired. Or the instructions (or the extras such as a locking clip) may be missing.

Over time, the plastic components can become brittle and the webbing fabric can deteriorate from friction or from exposure to the sun. A restraint that will survive a severe impact in its first few years after manufacture may fail in an accident 10 years later.

If buying a new child restraint is beyond your budget, enquire about our Layby Service.

Click here to return to our Maxi-Cosi car seat product page


What is Isofix and LATCH?

Many late-model cars designed for sale in Europe are fitted with Isofix mounting points. An Isofix-compatible restraint can be snapped into the rear-passenger-seat frame instead of being held by the car's safety belt – so Isofix reduces the likelihood of a restraint being installed incorrectly. The US has a similar system called LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children). Isofix and LATCH seats will fit each other's mounting points. Isofix points can't be added to an older car - they are built into the structure at the factory. However, many late-model cars here have Isofix mounting points, but they may be hidden under the rear seat cushion. Many Holden and Ford cars are designed to be sold in Europe and the US as well as here, and may include Isofix points hidden under the rear seat cushion. They aren’t made obvious because using Isofix is illegal in Australia - it isn't recognised by the AS/NZS child restraint standard. If your car was built in the last 5-6 years, try poking your hand down between the seat back and squab cushions and feel for a metal loop. There should be two loops for each seat. If you’re unsure, you could ask a new-car dealer - they may know if your car has Isofix points.
 
  • ISOFIX is a standard system for fixing child seats into cars without having to use the adult seatbelts – it reduces incompatibility problems, reduces the risk of misfitting and improves the protection provided for the child.

How to Check to see if your car has Isofix:

Feel down inbetween the back seats of your car and feel for a U shaped metal bolt. This is where you clip the Isofix attatchment onto.

 

 

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