Being a parent is a full-time job that can be quite overwhelming. While you want your children to have fun and explore, you’re inclined to keep them safe. Sometimes, it’s impossible to have fun without risks, and because there are factors you can’t control, you have to invest in equipment that will keep your children safe at all times.
Top on the list of safety equipment you should get is a toddler car seat. While long drives are fun and are perfect for bonding, the roads are unpredictable, and accidents can happen at any time. With a good quality car seat, your child is safer, and you’re at ease when on the road.
Choosing the Right Car Seat
Baby car seats are not built equal. There are factors you need to consider when choosing the right car seat for your baby. The quality, design, and safety ratings are among the factors that you should carefully consider before you commit to any specific car seat. To help you secure the safety of your child, we will look at the different factors of a car seat and help you choose which car seat will work best for your little one.
What you need to consider
Before you start looking into the features of the car seat, there are a few things you should think about your child. The first is the age of your baby. The younger the baby, the more delicate and fragile they are.
This requires top of the line safety ratings, and the design of the seat is also different to providing as much protection as possible to the young one.
You also need to consider the weight and height of the baby. Each of these factors will significantly determine the type and design of the car seat.
One last thing before you head out to shop for a baby car seat is checking your car and reading the owner’s manual. Car seats can be anchored using the seat belt or the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system. Most new vehicles have the latter. It’s vital to check if your car has the latch system.
Choose the Right Model
The first step to a safe car seat for your child is to choose the right model. It should be age and weight appropriate.
As your child grows, you will need to transition from one car seat to the next. Other than safety features, the right model also ensures comfort for your baby and supports their body frame to prevent stress on under-developed parts.
-Infant car seat – The infant car seat is the one most new parents will buy. It’s ideal for babies under two years old, and the baby should not weigh more than the indicated weight limit.
Infant car seats are installed rear-facing and come with a removable carrier that connects to the base installed in the car.
-Convertible seat – When the child is all grown up and can’t fit the rear-facing seat, the next car seat is the convertible seat. This one is ideal for babies aged 2 – 4 years weighing up to 40 pounds (this rating depends on the car seat manufacturer). The convertible car seat can be installed rear or forward-facing.
-Booster seat – Between ages 4 – 8 years, most children will have outgrown the car seats. They can use the safety belts in the car, but they need a booster seat to make sure the belt fits properly. A properly fitting safety belt should be on the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt should be on the chest, not the neck. Before you buy a travel booster seat make sure to check this review first.
Once the child is eight years or older or at least 4 feet and 9inches tall, the child can use the safety belt without a booster seat. But, you shouldn’t be in a hurry to get the child of the booster seat. You should ensure they are tall enough and strong enough, and the safety belt fits properly before you get them off the booster seat.
-All-in-one car seats – The cost of transitioning from one car seat to the next can be substantial. If you’re looking for an affordable solution that will not compromise the safety of your child, all-in-one car seats are the ideal solution. The seat grows with your child and transforms from an infant to a booster seat as the child grows into the different stages.
Now that you know what type of car seat you should be looking into, you should focus on the safety features the seat provides. Some options are premium options, which can be expensive. Knowing the bare minimums will ensure you can keep your child safe even when you have to juggle a tight budget.
Some of the features to look out for include:
-Adjustable harness slots
-Quality 5-point harness straps
-Lower anchor attachments
You can also check for additionals like harness strap pads, anti-rebound bar, a larger canopy, and a little boot around the baby’s feet. Some of these are available as aftermarket alternatives. But, you need to check before you settle on which chair to buy.
One of the ways you can tell if the car seat is quality and meets the set standards is if the seat has a label that clearly indicates that it meets or exceeds the Federal Motor Vehicles Standards 213.
If the seat doesn’t have such a label, there’s no guarantee it can provide the needed protection to your child.
Additionally, make sure the seat has four or five stars from the NHTSA. With a high rating, the seat will be easier to use and will have clear instructions.
Easy to Clean
Last but not least, the car seat needs to be easy to clean. Since your child will use it, the seat will likely have spills, spit, and burp. If not properly cleaned, bacteria can thrive on the seat. You need to pick a model that is easy to clean to ensure it is hygienic and doesn’t take up all your time.
There’s no shortage of car seats in the market. However, not all of them check on all the right boxes. When it comes to your children, you can’t afford to take any risks. With this guide, you will find it easier to avoid car seats that promise heaven but don’t have the quality or features to match.