Aside from the physical act of walking about outside, the other important item for an outing, if you own a private car, is the carseat.
In Singapore, it is mandatory that child below the height of 1.35m will be required to be secured with a child restraint appropriate for a person of that height and weight, use a booster seat to supplement the seat belt or an adjustable seat belt. Those with a height of 1.35m and above, irrespective of their age, will be required to wear a seat belt.
What this means is that even infants will be required to be in a carseat right up from birth, much to the surprise of many older folks. They seem surprised that we would have to restrain such a tiny little baby in a car; why not carry him? well the answer is fairly simple isn’t it? It’s all about safety. In the event of an accident, an infant/young child with his/her small and soft body is more likely to be flung forward and severely injured. its not easy leaving a kid in a carseat. They fuss, they cry, they might not always like it. But at the end of the day, it’s for the best.
So what carseat did we choose? We ended up with the Aprica Fladea Grow.
The above picture shows how it would lie for an infant, and is the primary reason why we choose it. The carseat isn’t the cheapest retailing for $899.00 at major retailers like Robinsons or Takashimaya, but as usual, you’d probably be able to get it for less at a babyfair (which seem a dime a dozen these days).
The Japanese are very interesting people when it comes to the development of baby essentials. They believe that infants should be allowed to lie flat, rather than the more conventional cup/capsule design we see in other products. I liked it simply because it looks so much more comfortable for the baby to lie in. No squishing of airways and such.
We decided against the more conventional carry seat that would fit either into a travel system or a frame. This was largely due to the weight of such a baby seat and some travel systems, and the fact that we didn’t really need a the portability of the baby seat. We did not need to carry the baby around in the car seat. Furthermore, most capsule car seats have a limited life span and you would still have to buy a full sized car seat after a few months, which would mean spending additional money and having an additional items lying around the house.
How have we found the seat? Well, we’ve loved it AND we’ve gotten many compliments regarding how “cool” the carseat looks and how comfortable the baby looks in it.
When baby first left the hospital, we had it in the lie flat mode, and while he looked so tiny in it, he was comfortable enough that he spent most of his time in the carseat sleeping. Indeed, having the carseat in lie flat mode was best in the first two months, as he would fall asleep in the car fairly frequently. However, as he became more aware of his surrounding and more curious, he began to fight being in the lie flat carseat. It became quite a cryfest everytime we had him in the carseat. We figured that since he was big enough (almost 7 kg and 60cm) and his neck was fairly strong (he could hold it up and move around) we could move it to the rear-facing mode. And you know what? He’s loved it. He loves being able to look out the read window in the moving car. And if he is even slightly sleeping, being in the carseat will put him straight to sleep. Impressive. The rotating mechanism is smooth and incredibly easy to use.
There are some downsides to this particular carseat though. Price aside, it is a heavy heavy carseat. Its not the type of carseat you can easily move from one car to another (which shouldn’t be a problem for most people). Also, its a bulky carseat. There is no denying it. In lie flat, it takes up 2 seats (side and middle). In rear/forward-facing, it does take up quite a fair bit of leg space. However, because we drive a regular sedan, the carseat does fit and the size isn’t a problem. I doubt it’d fit into a smaller hatchback though.
So, in conclusion, the Aprica Fladea is unique, unusual, and works really well for us and our lifestyle. The baby loves it and therefore we do too. Worth considering I guess?