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car seat for grandparents forward facing group 2

How to choose a car seat for grandparents

Encourage the grandparents to take their Mokopuna safely by choosing the right car seat for them. Learn about what to look for when purchasing
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This article explains what you need to look for when choosing a car seat for grandparents

Here at phil&teds, we’re parents too, so we understand the challenges you face in the parenting day. One of these challenges is day care. When it comes to free day care your parents are the biggest asset you have. They are your go to baby sitters that enable you to get out and about and have at least a little normalcy in your life. Best of all, they LOVE to look after your children, whenever possible – for FREE! You need to take advantage of this. A great way to encourage them to take the children is to give them a car seat. Here’s an article about features to look for in a car seat for grandparents – so they have the freedom to travel.
Child sitting in evolution car seat

A couple of hundred years ago...

Back in the day parenting was a communal thing. In many cultures, it was the grandparents that raised the children while the parents provided essentials. The grandparents were the fountains of wisdom that gave the child invaluable worldly advice and the actual parents were the ones were the breadwinners. Unfortunately, people don’t live in villages anymore. People live in urban sprawl, usually separated from their parents by a significant distance. So, you’re going to have to figure out how they can safely transport your child from A to B.

How to choose a car seat for grandparents

Every person has a list of priorities to suit their lifestyle. When you’re choosing a car seat for grandparents, we suggest that you prioritise longevity of use.

If longevity is a priority - a group 0/1/2 car seat is ideal for the grandparents

A group 0/1/2 seat is also known as a convertible car seat. A convertible car seat will take a newborn and then ‘convert’ to a booster seat as the child grows. A convertible seat will last a number of years making it a once only purchase for your parents.

A few features that make a convertible car seat great are:

  1. An easy to fit harness
  2. Rear facing for longer
  3. Quick installation
  4. Lumbar support
  5. Easy to clean
Once the child is a bit bigger and has control of its head, you’ll need something that’s easy to install forward facing. A good install will ensure the child is safe until they reach 18kgs. Once they’ve reached 18kgs or they’ve grown so that the harness is 1cm or more above their shoulders, it’s time to change to booster mode. A good convertible will allow you to change to booster mode by removing the harness, to use the car's seatbelt in its place.

Rear face for longer

It is safer for children to rear face as long as possible. The law states 13kgs as the maximum weight a child can rear face to in ECEr44/04 seats. In New Zealand, there is generally accepted best practice that covers all different kinds of car seat. Here is a checkbox list for best practice in a rear facing seat taken from the NZTA’s child restraint technicians manual:

convertible car seat for grandparents rear facing checklist nzta

convertible car seat for grandparents rear facing checklist nzta 2


Contact a qualified Car Seat Restraint Technician to double check your installation. They can also advise you how to do it properly every time. When you’re choosing your 0-13kg booster, be mindful that they can use a convertible a lot longer than you would expect. Health data from the New Zealand Ministry of Health website says the average age for a 13kg girl is as follows:

  • 98th percentile – 15 months
  • 91st percentile – 21 months
  • 75th percentile – 26 months
  • 50th percentile – 31 months
And for boys:
  • 98th percentile – 15 months
  • 91st percentile – 19 months
  • 75th percentile – 23 months
  • 50th percentile – 28 months
*Remember that children are different sizes and you must adhere to best practice before you use weight markers. So when you're in the store with your child and you think the seat might be a little bit too small, try it!

Grandparents are awesome

Choose a car seat for grandparents that you are happy with and can install and adjust yourself. The safest seat is the seat that fits in your car and you know how to operate well. Not all car seats will fit into every car so draw on the knowledge of a Car Seat Restraint Technician wherever possible. Your parents are going to give your children an unparalleled richness in wisdom. Give them the means to see your children as often as possible.  

Click here to learn about convertible car seats >

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