Baby Capsules & Car Seats : Should you hire or buy one?

by wrylilt

Having an appropriate baby seat is an important part of keeping your child safe. However they can be expensive. So is it better to buy or hire one?

If you're having a baby there's a lot of things to buy. You have to choose cots, change tables, clothes, baths and yes, baby capsules. Choosing the right baby capsule is important because in the case of an accident, it may be the only thing that protects your new baby's life.
There are many choices with baby capsules - you can hire one or buy one. You can get a short term or long term one. You can get an expensive one or a cheap one.
No matter what you choose, you need to make sure it's right for you, your baby and your vehicle. Here's a guide to help you figure out what to look for when deciding whether to hire or buy a baby car seat.

Where to Hire Baby Capsules & Seats

Many new parents choose to hire a baby capsule. Depending on your area you may have to contact someone different to hire one, but here's some places to try:

  • From an ambulance station.
  • From a baby hire store.
  • Online.

Where to Buy Baby Capsules & Seats

There are plenty of places that sell baby capsules, here's a few:

  • Large supermarkets (Walmart, Big W, Kmart, Target)
  • Baby supply stores.
  • Online.
  • Local trading magazines centres.

What to Look for When Hiring a Baby Capsule or Seat

It's important that you choose the right place to hire your baby capsule from. Here are a few things to look for:

  • If possible find a place that offers free, professional installation - this means that you can be 100% sure that your baby is as safe as possible while travelling in the car.
  • Make sure that you read the information they give you - there should be a guide as well as safety information and an agreement on your liabilities on the hired capsule in case of an accident. 
  • Make sure the installer is fully certified and all seats are tested before being re-hired.

What to look for when Buying a Baby Capsule or Seat

When you buy a baby capsule you'll have many choices and it's a bit hard to choose sometimes. Here's some things to look for:

  • Make sure it's made to your country's standard (for example Australion Standard 1754)
  • Choose one that will last.
  • Some baby capsules are made so they can face backards when your baby is young and then turn frontwards facing when they are older, meaning the seat will last your child longer.
  • Wait for the store to have a special - often you'll be able to get up to 25% off and most stores have regular (2-3 monthly) baby item sales.

So... Should you Hire or Buy?

In my personal experience I'd say it's better to buy a seat or capsule. Why? Here's a few reasons, but remember they may not apply to you so make sure you check with hire places before taking my word on it:

  • Expensive - I paid $74 for a 6 month capsule lease. Sounds cheap right? We ended up buying one on sale for just $130 which isn't that much more.
  • Changing cars - We bought a new car not long after having our baby.
  • The hired capsule only came with straps for the old type of car we had so in the end we decided it was cheaper to buy a new capsule than chase down a new strap for the car.
  • Type of capsule - The hired capsule only held a baby till the age of 6 months (it was the lying down kind with removable seat). The one we bought will fit our baby up till the age of 2 or more.

Fitting a Seat or Capsule into your Car

To fit your baby capsule into the car there are specially designed anchor points that are fitted into the car's body. There's an example one on the right -> but they can take many different forms depending on the model of car. Here are some ways to find them:

  • They sometimes are embedded in small holes in the car so may be covered by small plastic covers you need to pry off.
  • They are often behind the back seat, on the floor of the boot.
  • Some anchor points (for example in a hatchback such as a daihatsu sirion) the anchor points are at the furthest point of the boot , near the boot door.
  • You may need a longer strap for some cars. It's fairly easy to buy a car seat extender strap from most baby stores.
Updated: 07/24/2011, wrylilt
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