If you don’t have a car in Singapore, the only options are public transport and taxis. But what do you do in a cab with a small child who has outgrown an infant car-seat but is too small for an adult seatbelt? How exactly are you supposed to get around safely? We found three options: Ride Safer Travel Vest, Trunki Boostapak and Sit’n’Stroll.
But, first, what’s the law in Singapore? As of 1 January 2012, anyone below the height of 1.35m, rather than of a certain age, must be secured with an appropriate restraint, booster seat or adjustable seatbelt. Anyone 1.35m or taller will be required to wear a seatbelt, irrespective of age. Note that taxis are exempt from child safety seat requirements.
The Ride Safer Travel Vest from Safe Traffic System is a padded vest that optimises the existing seatbelt system for a small child’s body. It basically secures a car seatbelt across the child’s chest and across the pelvis and thighs, preventing the belt from sliding up on to the stomach.
Officially, the minimum weight and age for use are 13.6kg and three years; these are similar to the requirements for most booster seats. The smallest crash-test dummies used to test the vest simulated a three-year-old child in the 50th percentile for weight and height, so my personal decision was to use this for my very stocky and tall toddler who weighed 11.8kg at around 18 months. This was on the basis that he would only be using the vest for short trips of up to15 minutes, and that he was physically able and happy to sit upright for the entire journey with an adult beside him.
While it’s not officially recommend by the manufacturer, if you’re in the grey zone between a Maxi-Cosi or similar car seat for infants and the three-year minimum age for most safety devices, and if you choose to use this vest, it’s wise to have someone sit next to the child at all times to be sure that they stay in the correct, upright position.”
• Weighs less than 500g and is easily portable.
• Unlike booster seats, which elevate the child, the Ride Safer Travel Vest allows him or her to sit directly on the car seat, which has a lower centre of gravity, making the head less vulnerable in a car crash.
• The vest offers no side-impact protection; nor does a backless booster seat, however. Protection from side impact – for both children and adults – relies on vehicle technology such as the presence of side-impact airbags and the strength of the pillars in the frame of the car.
• It takes a few extra minutes to install once you’re seated in a cab.
Available at Motherswork, $249.
– Beate Baldry
#2 Portable booster seat
The Trunki Boostapak gets glowing reviews. It doubles as a backpack, making it somewhat easier to carry, although it is still fairly bulky to lug around. Handy for holidays too. Available at Motherswork, $115.
#3 Convertible car-seats
Some car seats convert into a version of a stroller, such as the Sit’n’Stroll, for newborn babies to children up to 18kg. It’s bulky and weighs 10kg, but it’s versatile – you can use it as a car seat, a booster seat, in planes and as a stroller. Available at babyfair.com.sg, $388.
This article first featured in the October 2015 issue of the magazine.