Everything You Wanted to Know About a Baby Capsule and How to Decide on the Best One
In Australia, children under the age of 7 cannot travel in a car that doesn’t have a correctly fitted and fastened child restraint that meets the Australian safety standards. Babies up to 6 months of age must be seated in a rear-facing restraint; furthermore, it is recommended for a baby to be placed in a rearward facing seat until it is 12, or even 30 months old. Children until 7 years must be securely seated in a forward-facing restraint or a booster.
But the type of restraint doesn’t depend that much on the child’s age as much as it does on their size. Even after they turn 7, their seated height will determine whether or not it is more secure for a child to remain in a booster seat.
At Maxi Cosi, we ensure all baby capsules from our selection meet Australian safety standards and provide the utmost comfort for your child. For years we’ve been delivering practical and highly secure baby capsules, car seats, and boosters, thus getting the chance to familiarise with the parents’ most common questions and concerns. Ultimately, we decided to draft a comprehensive guide to baby capsules that would list the benefits and advice on how to select the right one for your child.
What is a baby capsule?
A baby capsule is an infant restraint consisting of a convenient stay-in-car base, plus a removable capsule.
This basket-like newborn baby capsule is safe, practical, and easy to remove from the car whilst your baby remains harnessed and hopefully asleep! They are the very first travel equipment a baby will have, as they are built for newborns up to about 9kg.
A capsule with base offers a baby car seat solution; the capsule also attaches to a stroller referred to as a Travel System. Strollers and adaptors are sold separately and must be tested and approved for the capsule. There is the opportunity to purchase an additional stay-in-car base for your second car.
Important: A baby capsule car seat must have the Australian Standard sticker on the restraint, as overseas manufacturers are not legalised for use in Australia.
Baby capsule pram or carrier?
A baby capsule is designed to provide the ultimate safety for a child during the ride. Depending on the system used for installing a baby capsule in the car, there are two types:
A capsule with an ISOFIX base system, which simply anchors the base to the car seat. As such, it is easy to install and remove the base from the car as the need for it arises.
A capsule installed with a belt system, meaning the capsule base is installed securely using the car seat belt.
Furthermore, a newborn baby capsule can either be purchased as a baby capsule carrier, or in combination with a stroller bundle of the same brand and as such easily transformed in a baby capsule pram in a matter of seconds. The latter option is often highlighted as the more convenient one, as it quickly adjusts to your immediate needs - whether you want to carry it around like a basket, or add the wheelbase and create a baby capsule pram without waking the baby.
Baby capsule fitting
While you might be tempted to purchase a larger baby capsule car seat to have a functioning travel accessory for as long as possible, it is better to find a more fitting one that will not allow as much movement. That way, your baby enjoys higher levels of security, as well as comfort. The more tightly tucked in a child is, the less likely you are to wake them when you’re moving the capsule in and out of the car.
The majority of capsules today come with head huggers, that is, pillows which keep the baby’s head fixed in one place. Aside from posing as an additional layer of protection for a baby’s soft head, the lack of wobbling keeps the baby asleep.
A sun or rain shade may also be attached to the capsule, that way protecting the little one from elements and allowing it to enjoy its nap time undisturbed.
According to an RACV report, around 7 in every 10 child restraints are improperly fitted, likely because of the parent’s inability to determine whether or not the baby capsule is properly adjusted. Here’s what you need to pay close attention to:
the instructions on installing the baby capsule;
slack or loose parts of the restraints; harness straps need to be firm, while a seat belt or ISOFIX should be anchoring the capsule base;
top tether should always be used for all capsules and car seats;
never alter or modify the restraints, and ensure they don’t come into contact with oils, bleach, polishes, or any other chemicals;
should you notice that a baby capsule needs repairing, take it to the certified manufacturer;
Even after you’ve ticked off all of the above, it is advisable for someone to supervise the child at all times during the car ride.
Aside from the convenience, a baby capsule is quite a cost-effective solution. It can pose as both a secure car seat and as a pram if you purchase the one that can be attached to a wheelbase. The design is commonly universal, so first-time parents who plan on having more kids are bound to utilise it again in the future.