Today the car seat I had ordered via Amazon in the US arrived.
I know what you think:
You: Why the heck did he order a car seat from the US?!
Well, kids: Singapore is a great place, but many things are hard to get by or are simply ridiculously more expensive than elsewhere.
You: Now he wants to tell me it was cheaper to buy and ship a car seat from the US?!
No, I don’t! But hear me out (and stop interrupting… that’s really annoying!).
We had been looking for a new car seat for a while. So far we had continued using the baby car seat, which already had become hopelessly too small, of course, and in fact was not safe (talking about bad parenting). We did a quick check on car seats online and all the brands that are considered good in safety (based on the ADAC in Germany) are of course not available in Singapore. And the cost of the seat plus the cost of shipping was quite crazy. We found different car seats at the local Mothercare shops, but I did not like any of these. But: they had one own brand, the Mothercare Malmo Highback Booster, which seemed to be okayish for around 80 Singdollar.
Eventually, I ditched my reliance on the ADAC safety tests and broadened my research. Interestingly, if you search more internationally, there is a lot of material that clearly indicates that a front facing car seat (like most of the ones rated highly by the ADAC and virtually all of the ones we saw in Singapore) is a really shitty option when it comes to safety. The highest safety standards for car seats are apparently to be found in Sweden, where for a certain age bracket a non-rear facing car seat cannot make the highest safety rating (the ADAC has a 50% weight on safety and a 50% weight on ergonomics in their ratings).
Just watching a safety video of what happens when you have a frontal crash and your toddler sits in a front facing car seat scared the shit out of me.
I then searched for reviews of rear-facing car seats and came across sites like this one here. What you want to look for is a convertible seat, i.e. one that lets you seat your child rear-facing as long as possible and then enablea to adjust the seat and continue front facing. Britax seems to be a great company and I loved the click-tight feature – really amazing! It’s likely the kind of seat I would seriously consider if – well: if we were driving more often. But in Singapore we use seats only occasionally and in cabs. So we had to find the right balance of seat weight (must be easy to carry, because we will always remove it from the car), comfort (comfy to sit in for short rides… we never drive longer than 20-30 minutes) and total cost.
The Evenflo Tribute was the best option for these choices in the end. I felt a little weird, because I basically picked the cheapest seat, but for the occasional ride this seemed to be the right choice. The cost of the seat was 54 bucks on Amazon. Shipping to Singapore was another 70 bucks.
When I took the seat out of its box, I could hardly keep Oskar from climbing into it. I guess that’s a good sign – he seems to like the seat a lot (well: the old one must have been quite uncomfortable now for him).
Tomorrow we’ll have a little family trip to the Singapore zoo and can try out the new seat.