In general, there are several types of Child Restraint System (CRS). List here are the types of CRS:
1. Infant carrier
This type of CRS is specific to newborns and can be used up to 9kg or 13kg (depending on the CRS model), which is around 9 – 15 months old. Infant carriers are also categorized as ‘Group 0+’. This type of CRS can only be installed rear-facing, intended to protect the baby’s delicate and rapidly growing spinal cord and spine.
Advantages of ‘infant carrier’:
1. It is specially designed for baby, suitable for its height and level of the harness.
2. It can be lifted in/out of the vehicle without moving the asleep baby out from it.
Disadvantages of ‘infant carrier’ :
1. The usage period is very short which is around 9 – 15 months.
2. You need to get a new CRS (other type) when your child has reached the maximum infant carrier usage limit (example: 13kg). However, infant carrier can be stored / used for other baby until they have expired.
This type of CRS can be used for newborns to the specified weight and/or height limit (depending on the CRS and ‘Group’ models). There are several group for CRS Convertible:
Group 0+/1: Newborn – 18kg (0 – 4 years *)
Group 0+/1/2: Newborn – 25kg (0 – 10 years *)
Group 0+/1/2/3: Newborn – 36kg (4 – 12 years *)
In addition, this type of CRS can be mounted rear or front facing.
Advantages of convertible CRS:
1. It gives parents the advantage of both rear-facing and forward-facing positions.
2. Can accommodate wide rage of occupant’s age and size. It can be used for newborns and will keep your child in a rear-facing position for at least one year (until child reaches 13kg). Some CRS with extended rear-facing limit may support a child in the rear-facing until child reaches 18kg (approximately age 4 years old).
3. Certain all-in-one convertible CRS models can be switched to booster mode once occupant passes the lower limit of booster usage.
Disadvantages of convertible CRS:
1. Heavy and bulky in size
2. May be a bit too large for infants and preterm babies.
These types of CRS are categorized into groups and can be used by children with the following weight:
Group 1/2/3: 9 – 36kg (4 – 12 years *)
This type of CRS can be installed forward-facing only.
Advantages of Combination CRS:
1. Suits for toddler (using harness) while transitioning to booster.
Disadvantages of Combination CRS:
1. Can only be used front-facing
2. Poorly suitable for very young children, although minimum usage weight can be as low as 9kg
This type of CRS is categorized as:
Group 2/3: 15kg – 36kg (4 – 12 years *)
Booster CRS can be used by children weighing 15kg – 36kg provided that user can sit in this type of CRS with discipline using the vehicle seat belt throughout the entire journey. The use of the booster can raise the child to an ideal height for use with a seat belt which designed for adult user.
Advantages of the booster CRS:
1. Cheaper than CRS ‘convertible’
2. Easy to install
Disadvantages of booster CRS:
1. Should only be used by children who can sit in properly for the whole trip
Why should you not choose CRS by user’s age only?
Parents are increasingly looking for CRS by age, but height and weight also need to be considered when buying a CRS. Some CRSs are approved for use by user’s weight, and some are approved for use by user’s height such as i-Size CRS.
Disclaimer: *refers to the estimated age of the user according to the normal child growth. It also does not apply to children with obesity. It also does not refer to CRS shelf life or expiry.