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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 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'll probably need one on the top and bottom of the stairs, 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 first child car seat - at around 15 months or 13kg, depending on the seat you buy - you'll need to get another one to fit their size and weight. Choosing the right seat based on your child's weight as opposed to age is important. It's best to keep your child in the lower-group child car seat for as long as you can, but make sure you don't leave it until your child is over the car seat's weight limit before changing. 

Our guide to choosing a child car seat will help you determine what you need and when. Our tests on child car seats go above the UK standard, and we've found big differences between good and bad ones. Find out more about how we test child car seats and see our Best Buy car seats to find the right 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 and infrequent use. Buggies don't tend to give a smooth ride on on bumpy ground, and don't have sufficient back support for younger babies, but they are lightweight (on average around 8kg) and easy to transport.

You can get some travel-system buggies that will work from birth up until your child is six, so choosing one that will last the longest may save you money. But these do tend to weigh a little more (around 11kg on average) and be bulkier.

You can use our compare features and prices tool to 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 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 concerns.

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

Lastly, whether on holiday or at home, we have rounded up to keep them entertained and you relaxed.

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, save money where you can on school uniform, and travel to school in the safest way will ease school-time stress - so take a look at our guide to the . We also have tips on how to make your child's lunch box healthy and interesting, to make sure their brain is fully engaged at school.

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.

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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