How to choose a newborn car restraint – that actually fits your car!

A guide for choosing restraints to suit smaller vehicles, or squishy situations…

But aren’t they all the same?

So, you’re having a baby! Woo-hoo! Some of you will know exactly which restraint you want to purchase for your new baby, and some of you will have absolutely no idea where to even start.

I was the latter, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted from a restraint, because I didn’t even know what they offered. In my mind, they were all equivalent, which to some extent, is correct. All Australian restraints must pass the AS/NZS 1754 standard to be sold/used in Australia, which means in theory they are all equally safe when installed and used correctly, but that is about as far as their similarities go! It took me a few too many purchases than I care to admit and a hefty wallet workout, before I was satisfied I had met all my personal criteria to keep my first daughter safe. Some restraints are made to fit into smaller cars, and some restraints are so big, they will not work with the vehicle combination you had in mind. This can be such a frustrating experience for parents to be, when the number one priority is to just keep the baby safe. It’s not always advertised how big a restraint truly is (measurements can be deceiving!), or that they come in different sizes at all, so much to think about!

I can help ease the strain of your hunt for the “ultimate small car seat”, or any sized restraint for that matter! It’s not a fun task at the best of times, but years of experience working with hundreds of families, 100’s of hours completing dedicated training with the best Australian networks, various restraint manufacturer affiliations and relationships, and countless nights spent researching for my clients what the ideal restraint for their situation would be, has led me up to this point; the point where I can proudly proclaim that I am your gal, and I have all the answers!

Ok, maybe not all the answers – but when it comes to car restraints and safety, I’m a bit of a wealth of knowledge.


The latest release might seem like the best, I mean, it has all these new features and is worth quite a chunk more, so it must be the best…right?

Well, it might boast the latest and greatest tech, but does it actually fit into your car?

When it comes to choosing a smaller, more compact restraint, things get a bit more confusing and most definitely overwhelming. Sometimes, we need to outwit the manufacturers who are trying to outwit us! Not all manufacturers give us the “full story”, and this is where things can get tricky.

When you need a compact option there’s a few things you’ll need to consider.

  • you need to check the base width
  • the shoulder or wing width
  • the height (lots of cars have low roof lines!)
  • the rear facing depth
  • the size of the vehicle position you wish to use
  • and finally, how tall are you and any other regular passengers of the car? Will the rear facing restraint make it unsafe for anyone in the front? Is that vehicle position necessary to your day-to-day life, if it’s too close for an adult to safely sit?

If after doing a bit of research yourself, you’re still feeling very unsure, book in here for a free 10 min phone consultation with me and we can discuss your options

Are there any compact options?!

Two fantastic examples of compact rear facing restraints with all the features are the “Britax Graphene” or the “Infasecure Attain”. Both these restraints are narrow and will easily allow for three across installations, have large internal measurements along with narrow external measurements *winning!* and are the smallest, or shortest if you will, in their category for extended rear facing depth. There are a few different versions of both restraints which incorporate the same shell, with differing fabrics and a few less features to lighten the budget load – but this is of course down to personal preference of the buyer.

As far as features go though, these two have it all, extended rear facing, suitable to an average 4yo, easy adjust harness and head support, cool moisture wicking fabrics, and the Graphene also offers isofix for those who have the feature in their car and would prefer to use it over the seatbelt method.

What about if I’m on a budget?

If you need a more budget friendly option, and depth isn’t your biggest issue, but rather width, then the “BabyLove Ezy Switch” is for you, for under $200 you’ll get all the necessary safety features to keep your baby as safe as possible whilst making decisions within best practice guidelines.

I’ve already got one seat in the car…!

If this is not your first child; and you’re worried about how to fit everyone in, it might be time to also have a quick look at your older child/ren’s restraints, are they narrow at the base but also the shoulder/wings? If you have to fit three across, did you consider that maybe keeping your older kiddos harnessed longer might actually work in your favour over trying to find the buckle receiver under all those car seats?

When we look at older children and their options, us fitters are heavily recommending the “Britax Maxi Guard/Maxi Guard Pro” and the “Britax Kid Guard” or “Britax Hi-Liner” for our harnessed booster and booster ready gang. Narrow, with the highest exit markers available in both categories amongst the market, you really can’t go wrong with these, and you can rest assured knowing you’ve covered all bases to keep your child seated the safest they possibly could be, whilst maximising the space you have available to you.

If it’s space that you’re trying to maximise, compact car restraints accompanied by someone with experience to assist and teach you how to install them are the best way to achieve what most parents want – a family car that adults can still fit into, too 😉

Be Seated can help…!

Kasey holds a strong reputation as the “Tetris Master”, if you’ve got a sticky situation and you’re not sure how to attack it, it’s time to book an Installation Service with Be Seated.

“I won’t just do it for you, I’ll show you how to achieve the same results that I do, it’s you who is using them daily, after all!”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed