Our impending parenthood looms closer and closer, so we've started to buy a lot of gear in preparation. Most of it has been fairly simple to choose, clothes (in neutral colours as we don't know the gender of the baby), stuff to wash the baby with, sleeping bags, etc.
One thing we've had to do a bit more research on is the car seat.
My first instinct was to look at these integrated travel systems where you have a car seat which easily plugs in and out of the car and onto a matching pram base. However, once we looked into this, it seems that it's a far from ideal solution.
With these systems it seems there are far more cons than pros. I'll list a few here that came up in our research.
- Convenience - it's easy to transfer baby from the car to the pram and vice versa without waking him/her up.
...and that's about it.
- The car seat section is going to be very small (known as a Group 0+), which means the baby will out grow it in just nine months. After that you have to buy a new larger seat which won't fit onto the pram anyway. We're not planning on having child No. 2 straight away, so this type of seat would then be useless up in the loft for a while.
- The small seats are said to be uncomfortable for babies on long journeys as the baby will be curved into a V shape for a long period.
- Poorer safety compared with a dedicated car child seat (particularly side impact protection).
- Clips holding the car seat to the pram are another thing that can break.
So in the end we decided that a dedicated car seat was the thing for us. After reading loads of reviews and going to see the different models in a few shops, we settled upon a Britax First Class Si Ultra, which is a Group 0-1 seat that will last the baby from birth until approximately four years. The website even has a guide to whether it will fit in your car or not (ours is too old to have an ISOFIX system so we needed to check before buying). We got it from halfords.com which included a 10% discount.
Now we just need to research prams and cots...