Even though the enforcement of penalties and fines of the child seat law have been postponed, people are still up in arms about it. One of the reasons for that is cost, and during these trying times, families are trying to maximize every centavo in their bank account. It's also because these seats aren't exactly cheap.
How much, you ask? Well, depending on the model and the type, you're looking at a couple of thousands at the least. Sometimes seats even have five digits. The prices vary by brand, type, size, age limit, and even weight capacity. You can't just pluck any seat, say they'll grow into it anyway, and call it a day. Remember, the price tag on each kind of seat may go up as your child grows.
To understand how they're priced, we have to take a look at the classifications. There are four kinds of child seats out there: rear-facing, forward-facing, booster, and convertible.
Rear-facing child seat
A rear-facing seat is best for infants from newborns to fifteen months. These are designed to hold children 2'8” tall and weigh under 13 kilograms (28.6 lbs). Do not put children beyond the height and weight limit in this seat because it will not provide adequate protection for them. Prices range from PHP 4,000 (Joie Juva Infant Car Seat) to PHP 17,000 (Graco Car Seat Snugride I).
Forward-facing Child Seat
The forward-facing seat accommodates a wider age range compared to the rear-facing seat. That means these seats are larger than the standard rear-facing seat. So, who can use these? Children from 15 months to four years old may use this seat for as long as they are within the height of 2'3” to 4'4”, and weigh between 9 kilograms (19.8 lbs) to 36 kilograms (79.3 lbs). Seats in this class hover within PHP 9,000 (Chicco KidFit Car Seat Jasper) to PHP 25,000 (BESAFE iZi Modular).
Once your child has outgrown the forward-facing seat, it's time to move up to the booster seat. The booster is designed for children aged four to twelve years old. These can carry a child up to 36 kilograms (79.3 lbs). It can also accommodate children between the height of 4' to 4'11”. These are not as expensive as rear or forward-facing seats, and you can have a high-quality example as low as PHP 2,500 (Graco Turbo GO Folding Backless Booster Car Seat).
There is a way to skip all of that and go straight for a convertible seat. Some infants can use them, and so can toddlers and taller children. Some even have a weight limit of 45 kilograms or 100 lbs. Mind you, these are not cheap, as the most affordable one we found starts at PHP 14,000 (Aprica Air Groove AC) and the most expensive we saw was PHP 26,000 (Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat). That said, Graco says their products have a “useful life” of ten years, so you might only need one for your son or daughter's childhood. In some ways, it's the most practical in the long run, but that's if you can stomach the higher starting price. Interestingly, Volvo offers built-in booster seats as an option in their cars. Of course, we're not suggesting you buy an entire car just for those.
If you can't go straight for a convertible seat, it means you'll end up buying three seats at different stages of your child's growth. Looking at the minimum prices of each, that's over PHP 15,000 for these specialized seats. Of course, you can't buy them all at once because these eventually expire or lose their structural integrity over the years. These typically expire six years after the manufacturing of the child seat. As the years go by, the prices you see now will go up by the time your child is at an appropriate age. Opt for the pricier (and in theory, even safer) seats, you're looking at well over PHP 50,000.
If you have two or more children, well, you can do the math from there. Nobody said raising kids was cheap.