Baby car seats and infant car seats are a must safety feature for all children. In fact, most states have a car seat law, which require you to have a baby or child in a car seat up to 80 pounds or up to 4 years old, whichever comes first. Infant safety is such a major concern while riding in a car that hospital’s won’t even let a newborn leave without having a car seat installed properly.
It has been proven that having a car seat properly installed in the back seat, appropriate for baby’s weight and size will greatly reduce injury or even death if an accident occurs.
There are so many sizes to choose, like baby car seats, infant car seats, toddler car seats, car booster seats and convertible car seats. Then once you decide on the size then you have to choose a manufacturer, like Cosco, Graco, Century, Eddie Bauer, EvenFlo, Fisher Price and Peg Perego. Needless to say, it can be overwhelming.
So how do you choose the right baby or infant car seat?
Here are some tips:
Choose a seat that will fit in your vehicle. Make sure it’s easy to use and can be buckled tightly even when you have a kicking and screaming child in it.
Look for a car seat that can be used rear facing and can then be turned around to face forward. This is very helpful because you don’t know how quickly a child will grow out of a rear facing car seat. It could turn out to be a total waste of money if they only use it for 6 months.
Make sure you check the car seat weight limit. Car seats weight limits vary widely.
If you buy an infant seat, make sure you buy a toddler or convertible car seat at the same time. You never know when a baby will grow out of a car seat.
Check Consumer Reports for the best car seats and car seats with the highest car seat rating.
Here’s a list of the different types of car seats available:
Infant seats – Designed for babies and infants up to 22 pounds or 26 inches long. They support the infant’s back, neck and head. Some even include a “head roll”, which keep the baby’s head from moving side to side before their neck muscles have developed. The car seat should be installed facing the rear window, preferably in the center of the back seat.
Infant-Toddler or Convertible Seats -These car seats can be used for newborns but have the ability to be converted to a car seat for infants up to 40 pounds. They can be rear facing but then can be converted to forward facing, allowing for maximum flexibility. Most allow you to use them up to the child’s first birthday or up to 40 pounds. Make sure you buy one that has the L.A.T.C.H System. This system is required by many states and most new cars have the capability to connect the car seat this way. It’s a great way to make sure the baby is even safer.
Booster Seats – These car seats allow for a child, who has out grown his toddler seat but is still too small to use the car’s safety belt system. There are many types of booster car seats. Most commonly are for children ages 4 -8 years old and weigh between 40 to 80 pounds and the other booster car seats are for those children between 3-6 years old and weighing between 40 to 60 pounds. There are even booster car seats for children between 4-10 years old and weigh between 30 to 80 pounds.
The most important thing when it comes to choosing a car seat is safety. Make sure you follow all installation instructions and obey all car seat laws required by your state.