My son had his first car seat before he was even born. It was a baby shower present from my friends here in Korea. He is almost 5 years old now and we’ve already had four car seats. Our latest is the Graco High Back Turbobooster car seat that we got from Toys R’Us last year.
There is a car seat law in South Korea but most parents still prefer to carry or have their children sit on their laps. I am guilty of this too since there have been a few times that my son didn’t use his car seat, usually when my parents-in-law ride with us.
Car seats are so expensive in Korea. Actually, baby products are so expensive here. I believe that we’ve been wise when it comes to prioritizing our “investment” for our child. We’ve spent mostly on my son’s vaccinations (all of them he had at Samsung Cheil Hospital), car seats and winter clothing. A lot of his things were either hand-me-downs (clothes mostly) and a few of them we bought from other parents at Dawa.
KBS’ Friday night TV program “Consumer Report” said that only 20% of Korean parents use car seats for their children. That’s a really low percentage and to think that South Korea is second (to Greece) among OECD countries in car accident ranking.
“Consumer Report” had sixteen brands of car seats available in Korea tested by the Korea Consumer Agency. They were tested on four criteria: head-on collision, convenience (편리), fixation and overturn. Here is a screencap of the best car seats in Korea based on the tests and their corresponding prices:
1 – Daiichi Dualwell car seat – 420,000 won
2 – Safe Organic – 350,000 won
3 – Combi Coccoro – 240,000 won
4 – (Yuarang) Cruise car seat – 170,000 won
5 – Recaro Smart Plus – 720,000 won
6 – Kiddie Cardian (?) Pro – 495,000 won
7 – Britax Royal Extreme – 635,000 won
8 – Forb – 460,000 won
On head-on collision, these car seats performed best:
* Recaro Smart Plus
* Daiichi Dualwell Car Seat
* MaxiCosi Tobi
* Safe Organic
* Combi Coccoro