How to choose your car seat and stroller
A letter to you from Elise Mawson, Australian engineer and founder of (brand new) PramFox and well-loved Taxi Baby Co.
I imagine I’m the 43, 628th person to congratulate you, but I hope it’s no less meaningful and sincere.
Prams and car seats often add up to be one of your largest tangible baby-related investments, so it can pay serious dividends to get it right. I’ll pass you some A-grade secret-mummies-business information on the biggest mistakes mums make when buying their prams and car seats (but please, do feel free to WhatsApp me and we can chat about you specifically).
The first common mistake mums make is that they get what their friends have — surely they’ve done all the research, so it must be the best one, right? Every single pram on the market is absolutely perfect for someone, but finding YOUR perfect pram and car seat can be like finding a needle in a haystack: Do you need to take your car seat in taxis (not all are suitable, you know)? How do you check if the car seat you like is compatible with your car? Do you have a bad back and need a lighter pram to lift into the boot of a car? Are you going to take your car seat back home and need it to meet local regulations there? Quick geek-out - there are three main regulations: US, European and Australian but infant car seats will only have ONE of these regulations and a lot of the US and Aussie seats are not compatible with taxis in Singapore. Big red flag! Do you want it to attach to your stroller (because not all prams and car seats are compatible with each other)? Do you want your pram to be travel-friendly and compact enough for narrow city streets, or do you want the option to run with it? Anyway, you get the picture. There is a perfect pram and car seat for everyone but it’s not always easy to pin that sucker down.
Secondly, mums get points for considering which infant car seat will fit their buggy, but they rarely consider the toddler car seat (if you have considered it, you’re totally amazing — you’ve got this in the bag). This is a conundrum very unique to Singapore. Everywhere else, parents of toddlers have a car, but if you rely on taxis, as many families here do, then there are very few prams that are officially (or even unofficially) compatible with taxi-friendly toddler car seats and that can take the sheen off your $1,000 stroller really, really quickly.
Thirdly, mums can get really preoccupied with the goal to have just one stroller. I know, I know. That was me too. I totally get it - having just one pram that can do everything you need it to is really attractive. But, honestly, in the long run, you will absolutely spend less money on prams and car seats if you consider the possibility of getting two prams if you have any of these conflicting requirements: running, travel, needing to catch taxis, or taking the pram off a flat surface (think: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, the beach, off the path at the Botanics). Trying to find one pram that can do all those things, while possible, usually results in a pram that does all things decidedly averagely rather than (humour me) two prams - each that does its very specific and separate job better than any other pram out there.
And while three is a nice round number for a list of tips, I’m going to drop you a bonus one; triple check you’re using your car seat properly. Car seats are not like prams and cots and bunting. They are finely tuned pieces of precision engineering, designed to protect the life of your child under extreme and uncontrolled crash forces. So how you use them is really important and 96% of parents (not to scare you, but it’s true) get it wrong.
Give me a call and we can chat some more. I’m fun :)
PS. This letter assumes you’re already convinced of the need to use a car seat, but if you’re not, let’s totally talk. It’s a matter of life and death.
Elise Mawson | PramFox
Elise is an engineer, mum of three little boys, a US-certified child passenger safety technician instructor (CPST-I) and Australian-certified child restraint fitter. Her team at PramFox (the same team behind Singapore’s beloved Taxi Baby Co.) are the experts on car seats and prams in Singapore and they are the best people to find the perfect stroller and car seat for you. They also handle professional car seat installations, car seat and stroller cleaning and stroller servicing (for free when you buy from them!), and they also run community education programs such as helper and school bus aunty training. They’re the only ones in Singapore who sell all the top brands and they can help you source special order parts and products if you’re having a hard time tracking something down. Consultations with Elise are free of charge and you can catch her on WhatsApp or at their CBD boutique.