In the second of our new Fortnight Focus specials, we look at the car seat market. Clearly, the most regulated sector of the nursery industry, when it comes to choosing a range of car seats to stock, and knowing what and how to best advise parents, it can be a complete minefield.
We cannot stress enough the importance of consumers seeking professional advice from retailers when purchasing a child car seat and face-to-face demonstrations to ensure correct fitting. However, this year has proven, that it is not always possible. Whilst nothing can replace that face to face expertise and guidance, the Baby Products Association has worked together with leading car seat manufacturers and car seat industry experts to create a definitive guide for both retailers and consumers to access.
One of the many side effects of the cancelling of Harrogate International Nursery Fair was having to postpone the launch of the printed publication Child Car Seats – Ending the confusion. However, inevitably, babies are still being born and car seats still need to be bought, so the Association launched the guide online which is free to download. The Association intends to print this guide for free distribution at Harrogate International Nursery Fair in March 2021.
Selling car seats isn’t an easy proposition. Many parents will want to have the car seat that fits the pushchair they have set their hearts on. Some will insist on buying the cheapest they can find, whilst others will want it in pink or some other shade!
For retailers, this means treading the delicate line of telling parents that one car seat is unsuitable, and that this another one will be safer. If the parents are looking to buy a travel system, it is always as well to check fitting early in the conversation, before they have decided on the travel system they want.
All car seat suppliers have agreed to supply both printed and digital lists as to which cars their car seats will fit. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer. Don’t ever agree that a seat will fit if that contradicts the lists. Some parents will have done their homework and decided that a car seat that is approved to R129 is better. However, if it doesn’t fit their car and one approved to R44 does, the latter is the safer seat!
Unfortunately, some parents want to move a child from rear-facing to forward-facing sooner than is recommended. Pre-empt this with explanations as to why rear-facing is safer and that the child should be kept rear-facing for as long as possible (depending on the seat, of course).
Booster cushions (those without backrests) can still be sold and the use of them still complies with the law. However, it is in everyone’s interest if you explain the increased protection that a high-backed booster seat can offer.
It is always good practice to demonstrate the fitting of the car seat and many suppliers can provide an in-store demo rig. Use this to explain the various ways in which a car seat may not fit. It is a lot easier than trying to show parents when squeezing into the back of their car in the pouring rain! An in-store rig can also be used to teach parents the correct way to fit the seat they are purchasing.
Finally, if you can, think about showing videos of crash testing. There’s nothing like seeing what happens in the event of a crash to help them come to the right purchasing decision.
For more information on car seats and to download the definitive guide, click below