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As I am currently testing the Graco Nautilus group 1-2-3 carseat, I have been blogging about my time with it, to complement my journey this is a guest post from Kay Wilkinson, a fellow blogger and a fellow mum!
Kay has written a short post from her perspective about buying a car seat – Enjoy!

Carseats: A few dos and don’ts!

First time mums are bombarded with ‘must buy’ items for their new babies – cots, safety gates, bottles, baby-gro’s, gro-bags, baby bath products, towels…..the list is huge and can be quite bewildering. Every mum wants to do the right thing for their baby, and to make the right choices. I know it worried me sick that I might miss something when I was pregnant with my first child.

Speaking from personal experience I bought a lot of stuff I didn’t need, and looking back it’s actually quite ridiculous that I thought I HAD to buy ‘Lavender Soothing Bath Oil’ and that if I didn’t buy new towels for the baby that the world might end.

Having said that, some items are absolutely essential and can truly be a life and death matter, i.e car seats. This is one item you cannot afford to skimp on, or not to research properly. The first rule of buying a car seat, is undoubtedly – don’t buy second hand! A car seat that has been in any kind of accident or impact will not protect your child. Basically, if you buy a cheap car seat at a car boot sale, who’s to know the history? It’s just not worth the risk.

Do make sure you find a car seat that fits your car. Car seats are definitely not a ‘one size suits all’ kind of product. The internet is your friend in this case, spend a couple of hours browsing the web and see what information / reviews you can find. Parenting and baby magazines are a great help too (and it’s always nice to have an excuse to sit down, put your feet up and do ‘important research’ whilst your other half makes you cups of tea).

Personal recommendations are worth listening to, although you do need to remember that what suits one person may not suit another. A huge, complicated to fit car seat that bolts to the car frame, is probably not suitable for someone who uses two cars and needs to swap between them, for example.

Another extremely important thing you must do, is read the instruction manual for your carefully chosen car seat. Although you may want to bumble your way through putting up flat pack furniture as ‘it’s obvious how it works’, this does not apply to your car seat. Studies have shown there are a huge percentage of car seats that are fitted incorrectly, and therefore do not work as effectively as they should. A tiny error could cost you a tiny life. You need to fit them properly.

There are so many things to look into before the arrival of your little bundle, but I cannot stress enough the importance of choosing the right car seat.

Do read magazines, reviews, go online, ask friends, ask retailers for advice – but don’t think it doesn’t matter and leave it to the last minute.

I am ashamed to say that my husband and I bickered outside the maternity unit immediately after my first baby was born. Neither of us knew how to fit the car seat properly, although we eventually worked it out after quite a few cross words and near tears from me. We’d simply overlooked it. If anything had happened on the way home, we would never have forgiven ourselves. Make sure that’s not you!

A big thank you to Kay – You can find Kay’s Blog here

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