Children bring a spontaneous and carefree joy to our lives, but travelling safe with kids can often seem anything but. Here are your biggest questions about kids, answered to help bring back the fun in your travels – while keeping the littlies safe, of course.
Do I need a car seat if I don’t own a car?
Statistically, four times as many babies die in car accidents in Singapore compared to the US1. Babies held in their mothers’ arms or worn in fabric carriers cannot be protected in a car accident, and while Singapore’s taxis may be exempt from the laws of car seats, they’re not exempt from the laws of physics. The safest way for children to travel is in a rear facing car seat.
Which car seats work best for taxis?
As ten minutes browsing any online baby store will tell you – there are literally thousands of options when it comes to which car seat to buy. If you rely on taxis in Singapore, or plan to travel throughout Asia, you’ll want to choose an option that is lightweight, quick and easy to install, and fits onto your stroller.
My favourite infant carrier is the Cybex Aton which has linear side protection and uses the same stroller adapters as Maxi Cosi. The best toddler seat is the Cosco Scenera NEXT which is only 3kg, keeps kids rear facing from birth to 18kg and fits strollers which offer universal car seat adapters such as Baby Jogger and Mountain Buggy. For older children, the RideSafer travel vest and mifold are excellent taxi-friendly booster seats (for children aged 3+ and 4+ respectively). Children are typically 10-12 years old before they are ready to use the adult seat belt without a booster seat.
How do I know I’m using my car seat properly?
Despite our best efforts, most car seats aren’t used correctly. Regardless of the brand of your car seat or the country that certified it, when installed properly, your car seat should move less than an inch from side to side, when you tug on it. And if your seat is US-approved or Australian-approved, chances are you’ll need a seat belt locking clip to safely use it in a local vehicle.
When buckling bub into their car seat, the harness straps should be as snug as a hug; if you can pinch the harness webbing, then it’s still too loose. Most rear facing seats require the harness straps to come from a slot below your child’s shoulders, while forward facing seats should have the harness strap using a slot above your child’s shoulders; check your seat’s manual to be sure.
If you’re using a booster seat, make sure the seat belt is fitted snugly across your child’s upper thighs, and feed any excess belt slack back into the retractor. For tips on installing your particular child restraint, contact Taxi Baby Singapore.
We’re going to Phuket for the long weekend – should we take our car seat?
When travelling in South East Asia, the risk of being involved in a car accident is greater, the emergency services response time is much slower, and in many countries the hospital care is of a lower standard compared to their western counterparts. These are compelling reasons to protect our children from the possibility of vehicular injury by using car seats even when travelling abroad.
Car seats can be damaged when checked into the luggage hold of an airplane. Infant car seats can fit upside down (handle down) in the overhead compartment, while many car seats, such as the travel-friendly Cosco Scenera NEXT, are airline approved and can be installed in your child’s plane seat. If you need to check in your car seat, pop it in a box and gate check it.
We’re taking a long-haul flight home for Christmas; what can help my children sleep?
It is a strange and cruel phenomenon that every infant airline bassinet seems to be positioned directly below overhead spotlights and a tv screen, making baby-sleep-time even more illusive. Enter the Fly Babee – the world’s only fully breathable airline bassinet and stroller black-out sleep cover. Ultralight, easy to use and rated SPF50+, the Fly Babee also helps jet-lagged babies catch a few zzz in their strollers.
If your little one has a seat on-board, then the innovative 3-in-1 BedBox is the answer to your prayers. BedBox is a ride-on suitcase, has 20L carry-on luggage capacity, and best of all – coverts an airplane seat into a lay-flat toddler bed. This presents a safe alternative to the ever-popular inflatable 1st Class Pillow which risks explosion should the cabin pressure or altitude drop suddenly and can inhibit evacuation and accessing your child’s life vest during an emergency. The BedBox can also fit in the space between a child and adult passenger.
1 Adjusting for birth rate, four times as many babies (aged under 12 months) died in Singapore in car accidents in 2014 compared to the same period in the US; 2 deaths per 33,725 live births in Singapore and 61 deaths per 3,988,076 live births in the US.
Read Elise Mawson’s interview on how she started TaxiBaby.