This celebrity baby has a R133 000 Rolls-Royce car seat - is it any safer than the norm?

Image: Volvo Cars
Image: Volvo Cars
Volvo

• Rapper Offset, husband of Cardi B, has bought their daughter a R133 000 car seat.

• Are fancy car seats safer than conventional ones?

• Volvo leads the charge in emphasising the importance of rear-facing car seats for infants.

• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za

Car seats are probably one of the last things you'd think would become a fashion accessory, and while it still serves an important function, it apparently has become more than just a device to keep your child safe. 

Well, at least it seems to be the case to US rapper Offset, husband to Cardi B's, and their two-year-old daughter, Kulture Kiari.

The star posted a picture of a Rolls-Royce car seat to his Instagram profile earlier in October and said: "8 thousand dollar car seat and I bet it has peanut butter and jelly on it in one week."

That's R133 000 to us, and food smudges on car seats, oh yes, we can attest to that.

While there's no price too high for your child's safety, one has to wonder what a car seat with that kind of price tag does?

The seat looks like any ordinary car seat you'd buy at a baby store, or even Game or Makro. However, we can't tell if the seat is just covered in Rolls-Royce upholstery used in the exclusive luxury vehicles, or if it's an actual seat designed en engineered by the automaker. It looks very different from other known car seats we've seen in previous images, so perhaps this is a custom job.

Either way, little Miss KK will still be driving in style while sitting pretty in her expensive car seat. She'll be safe, yes, but there are a lot more parents need to educate themselves about car seats when having children.

The interesting video from Volvo above shows how the automaker crash tested an XC60 to demonstrate the importance of child seats, and significantly the benefit of having infants in rear-facing ones.

Volvo has always been known for its advanced safety features, and for being one of the safest automakers of our time. Their focus on child seats is a real eye-opener, and the XC60 has enough room in the rear to fit your child seats the way it should be. It also comes with Isofix fittings to safely secure your little ones.

But, how much safer is such an expensive Rolls-Royce seat from a conventional car seat, and what should you look out for when shopping for one?

Here's what you need to know:

MasterDrive's Eugene Herbert says: "A number of vehicles have ISOfix seating. Because the manufacturer has these fitment attachments in place, the seat designed for this does not make use of a seatbelt. It's worth investigating this option, and if one can afford the increased cost, take the seat that it is paired with.

"One could reason that a seat is better than no seat. That sounds practical, but given that some have not met international certification standards, it could be a costly mistake.

"My advice is to identify the best you can afford and then save another month or so to buy the right one." 

Wheel Well founder Peggie Well says: "Car seats are vital items to purchase when you are a parent, but there are so many to choose from and it can get very confusing. Your Road to Health clinic card is a handy tool to assist you on your journey.

"Embarking on your car seat journey is pretty easy. All newborns should be in dedicated infant seats. These seats are specifically designed to keep your new baby safe during a crash. They have the correct angle to give maximum support for that vulnerable back and neck and superb side impact protection to protect the skull and spine that has not fused yet. They can only be installed rear-facing. It is also handy that they can be removed from the vehicle. 

"Infant seats can be used until your child is 13kg or 15 months. 

"The average kid, according to the WHO will reach this weight at two years-and-four-months. The thing is: here in South Africa we make big babies, and you don't want to invest a lot of money in a car seat that your child is going to outgrow in weight too soon, leaving you in car seat limbo and out of pocket."

Mars shares some pointers when shopping for a car seat for your child:

• Consider the weight, height and age of your child when you purchase a car seat.
• Make sure the seat will fit in your vehicle. This is especially important if you want to rear face past 15 months. Rear-facing seats take up a lot of space. Fit the seat in its highest harness and headrest adjustment to make sure the seat will still fit when used in that stage.
• Look at the installation stickers and orange ECE label on the side of the car seat. It will give you the weight/age limit for rear-facing and forward-facing. If you are still not sure, consult the car seat manual. Not all car seat salespeople know what you need for your child or car, and budget.
• Do not purchase a car seat that covers a group that you no longer require, for example: If you need a booster seat, do not buy a toddler and booster combination seat. A dedicated booster seat will serve you better.

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