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Having a baby: what you need and when

Active baby to young child

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Active baby to young child

Our expert guide to what you'll want to consider as your child grows from an active baby onwards.

 

Child safety at home

You'll want to make sure you baby-proof your home before your baby starts moving and exploring, which could be any time between seven and 10 months. Our guide to essential  baby safety equipment tells you all you need to know about how to keep your baby safe at home, from installing window locks to compiling a first aid kit.

Stair gate

An essential part of baby-proofing your home is installing a stair gate (assuming you have stairs, of course). You may need one on the top and bottom of the stairs, depending on your house, and they can cost anything from £10 to £80. See our stair gate reviews to find a safe stair gate that's easy to use.  

You can unlock all our reviews and find great prices online all for just a £1 trial subscription to Which?.

Not sure what to look out for when buying one? Make sure you find the best for your baby by taking a look at our guide to buying a stair gate.

Child car seat

Once your baby has grown out of their baby car seat - at around 15 months or 13kg, depending on the seat you buy - you'll need to upgrade to another one. It’s vital to get a car seat that not only fits your car, but also fits your baby’s height or weight, rather than choosing by age. It's best to keep your child in a lower-group child car seat for as long as you can, but make sure you don't leave it until your baby’s head is past the top of the seat, before changing.  

Our guide to choosing a child car seat will help you easily work out what you need and when. Which? crash tests every car seat we review in a front impact and a side impact, which goes above the current ECE UN standard requirements. This is why we've found big differences between good and bad ones that are on sale in the UK.

Find out more about how we test child car seats and see our Best Buy car seats to find the best one for your child.

Pushchairs

Depending on what type of pushchair you buy initially, you might find you want a simple buggy (also known as stroller) when your child is a little older, or even as a second pushchair for travelling on public transport, or for stashing in the boot. Buggies don't give as smooth a ride on bumpy or uneven ground – think parks or gravelly car parks. Some don't have sufficient back support for very young babies and can only be used from six-months onwards, but they are lightweight (on average around 8kg) and easy to transport.

There are more and more hybrid travel-system buggies appearing on the market now. These are super compact and lightweight buggies that are suitable to use from birth up until your child probably no longer needs one, but can still take a car seat. Some can even take a carrycot, or come with a newborn accessory to turn the buggy into a pram format. Choosing one that will last the longest may save you money, but there are some compromises to be made such as non-adjustable handlebars and a lack of shopping basket space.

You can use the handy filters on our pushchair reviews page to compare features and prices, or to help find the right pushchair for you by filtering by type, age, weight and price.

Travelling with children

Travelling with children can be stressful, but there are ways to make it as smooth as possible. Our Baby products to take on holiday talks you through what products you need to take on holiday, tells you what you need to know about flying with children and answers your food and health concern.

If you like camping holidays, then buying a good tent is a must. Whether you camp regularly or occasionally, check out our guide to other  outdoor accessories you may need.

Childcare

There are no two ways about it, childcare is expensive. But there are ways to save with childcare vouchers, children tax credits and free childcare - see our tips to help you save on childcare.

Going to school

Heading to school for the first time or going back to school after a long summer can be a scary experience for many children and parents. But being well prepared can make a big difference.

Making sure you stock up on all the essentials such as the best head lice and nit treatments, save money where you can on school uniforms, and travel to school in the safest way will all ease school-time stress.

Recording memories

Before you know it your child will be off to university. So think about recording the important memories with our pick of the best digital cameras and camcorders.

And if your child becomes as tech savvy as you - and a lot of children these days do - you might want to consider a tablet or smartphone that is suitable for them to play games on, too. Take a look at our apps for kids and toys with apps for a range of games to keep them entertained.

Family budgeting

No matter how much you try to keep costs down, raising a child is expensive. But there are things you can do to make sure you don't overspend or run into trouble. 

First and foremost is making sure that you claim everything you're entitled to, so take a look at our guides to free and cheap baby stuff and childcare vouchers.

Take a look at our baby products you need guide and see what parents’ voted the 10 most useful baby products. And save money by avoiding the 10 products voted least useful.

Another great place to start is by making an effective budget - our tips will help you do so. And, if you can, putting money away safely in savings or investments will help you be prepared for those unexpected costs.

You also might want to think about saving for your child and their future - our guides to Junior Isas and child saving accounts are the perfect starting point.

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