Car seats are one of the most expensive items parents buy for their babies. New parents will know that baby car seats in particular can cost over £500 at least, and that’s just the beginning. When you throw in accessories, such as a car seat mirror (which is very handy for rear-facing) or car seat bag (which are very helpful if you need to keep your car seat in a plane-hold when traveling), plus a compatible car seat base, you’re soon looking at between £500-£750.
BestCarSeats.co.uk, who help you find the best baby and toddler car seats in the U.K. has researched and found that throughout your parenting journey you can accumulate over £5,000 in spending on car seats. This was analysed taking a 12 year period from when children out-grow car seats and looking at the multiple stages when you will need to upgrade or buy a new car seat.
Why does it cost £5,000 for car seats?
As mentioned above the baby car seat is your first initial cost, and it’s probably the largest one. Many parents at this point make the mistake of buying a seat that only lasts until their child is 15 months old or sometimes to 4 years old. The problem here is that you then need to buy another seat, whether that’s a 15 month to 4 year old seat, like the Cybex Pallas G, or buying one from 4 years old to 12 years old, like the Maxi-Cosi Kore Pro or Maxi-Cosi Morion. This mistake is very costly for parents and can set you back another £500 (if you include buying a new base which is required for some). BestCarSeats.co.uk found that 6/10 parents make this very mistake, and we give some tips below how to mitigate this.
Following this when your child reaches 4 years old it’s common for parents to buy a booster seat. This can set you back a further £200 at least for a good quality one. Further adding to your expenses.
When you then factor in the fact that a good portion of parents then go on to have a second or even third child, the costs rise even further. Chances are your first child is still using their original seat. This means buying a brand new baby seat for your new arrival. This climbs the costs again with another £500-£750 expense.
We then have grandparents to think about, and sometimes that’s two sets. If they’re kind enough to offer to take your child for the day or even a short drive to the park, they will need their own car seat. For two sets of grandparents this cost doubles. If you’re kind enough, or can afford to buy the car seats for them, this adds another £500 per seat, adding £1,000 to the tally.
And lastly, many parents grow the family further still with the family dog. Dog car seats are becoming increasingly popular, with great new advances in tech and comfort. These aren’t as expensive as baby car seats, but can still add £100-£200 to the total, for a good quality one that will last.
In total this adds up to an average of £5,000 spent on car seats over a 12 year period. This is substantial and a surprise for many. This in real-terms is the equivalent to two family holidays, 10% of the average U.K. house deposit, or £250 earned per year in a 5% ISA savings account.This begs the question – what can you do to keep the costs to a minimum?
Here are 6 ways to avoid spending £5,000 on car seats…
- Buy aConvertible car seatfrom the beginning:
BestCarSeats.co.uk recommendbuyingaconvertable car seat that grows with your child, from the beginning. Models like the Silver Cross Motion 360 may initially seem pricier but last from newborn all the way to 12 years old, so you never need to buy multiple car seats again.
- Skip the Additional Base:
Many parents understandably buy a car seat base for added convenience, but if you are comfortable with seatbelt installation, skipping the base can cut your newborn car seat costs in half.
- Choose yourcar seats brand wisely:
Navigating the complex world of car seats can be overwhelming, but making a smart choice with what brand you buy can really save you hundreds. Brands like Silver Cross and Joie are renowned for covering budget to medium range priced car seats. Go for a brand such as this which has a great reputation but also fits into your budget range.
- Consider Hand-Me-Downs:
Families with multiple children can explore the option of handing down car seats. Now you shouldn’t accept a hand-me down from anyone, as the car seat could be compromised in terms of safety, but you can hand one down to the next child.
- Extended Family Considerations:
When grandparents or other family members need car seats for outings, consider choosing budget-friendly options that still meet safety standards. Or, you can lend them your car seat as most seats are easily moveable between cars nowadays. Problematic installations are a thing of the past with most modern seats moveable with one click of a button.
- Assess Pet Needs:
While it might be cute to buy your family favourite, your dog, a car seat, consider whether it’s actually required. Maybe little dog Rover is just fine where he is!
It’s a surprise to many that car seats can cost £5,000 over a parenting lifetime. That’s makes it one of the most expensive items for parents, one which is often not thought about until it’s too late and you’ve made some mistakes you perhaps didn’t realise. Consider the 6 tips to save yourself thousands over the next 12 years.