Finding the best car seat for your little one is probably the most vital things you need to do as a parent.
Shopping for one can be quite stressful with so many options available out there.
There are several factors you need to consider, such as safety, comfort, convenience, crash test ratings, budget, and ease of use, to name a few.
On top of that, you also have to take into consideration the continuously changing recommendations and requirements of car safety seat experts.
Worry no more, we will provide you with all the information you need to find the right car seat for your baby and family on our buying guide.
How To Choose The Best Car Seats For Your Baby
The Importance Of Car Seats
From that time, you step out of your hospital room, you need an infant car seat to transport your newborn home safely.
For this reason, you have to be prepared even before the big day arrives.
You have to do your homework to ensure you’ll get the appropriate seat. It’s not just for your peace of mind and the safety of your baby.
You are required by law across 50 states to have one.
Car Seat Laws You Need To Know
All US states and its territories require car seats for babies and older kids according to specific criteria with requirements varying in weight, height, and age.
This usually happens in the following stages:
Rear-facing only infant car seats for infants.
Forward-facing safety seats for toddlers.
Booster seats for older children.
Numerous laws will require your child to be in a rear seat as much as possible.
The majority of the states also allow kids over a particular weight, height, and age to use your vehicle’s own seat belt.
Not complying with the child passenger safety law of a state can slap you with a fine ranging between $10 to $500.
There are also states where they’ll use the points of your driver’s license as an added penalty for not complying.
49 states except for South Dakota have booster seat laws where you will be required to place your child in a booster seat when he has outgrown his child car safety seat.
California, New York, Nebraska, Connecticut, New Jersey, Oregon, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Rhode Island will require you to have your child who is below two years old to be in a rear-facing car seat.
Things To Remember Before Making Any Purchase
Before looking at different types of car seats and before you get too excited with features, remember these guidelines that can help you a lot when choosing the right safety seat:
Double-check the recall campaign listing to ensure the seat you’re eyeing is not a part of the recall list.
Select a car seat that’s easy to use and install, as well as fits well in your car. Make sure that you can buckle it tightly.
When buying an infant-only car seat, keep in mind that you’ll need to purchase a convertible seat once your baby outgrows it.
You should keep your baby in the rear-facing position until he’s at least 24 months or even longer.
Look for a seat that can be used in the rear-facing position for as long as you can.
Switch to a forward-facing seat after that and let your child use it for as long as possible.
Your child should use a booster seat until he’s between the ages of 8 to 12, with a height of at least 57 inches, or until he can fit into your vehicle’s car seat like an adult would.
Never use a damaged seat or have been involved in an accident. Replace it right away.
Make sure your child rides at the back seat of your car until he’s 13 years of age.
If using a secondhand or used car seat, check its history from the previous owner and expiration date, which can be found on its manual and label.
Car Seat Types
You will be switching from one safety seat to another as your precious angel grows.
Once you’ve determined the size of your child and car, your lifestyle, and local regulations, you can now look for the seat that best suits your family’s needs.
There are car seats that you need to upgrade as your baby grows, while there are others that will grow with him for a long time.
Here are the different types of car safety seats with essential information about them to help you find the perfect one:
Infant Car Seats
This type is mostly for new parents. You can only install it in the rear-facing position.
It comes with a base that you’ll install in your car and a removable carrier as well.
It provides a great fit for preemies and newborns.
Depending on the brand or model you’ll buy, it can usually accommodate babies weighing 4 to 40 pounds.
Your child will most likely be too tall before he becomes too heavy for it.
You’ll know this when the crown of his head is less than an inch from its carrier shell’s top or when he exceeds the seat’s height restriction.
Convertible Car Seats
When your young child outgrows his infant safety seat, you can now transition him into a convertible car seat.
You can purchase this type not later than his first birthday and can be used both as rear-facing and forward-facing which you can discover this info here.
It has a harness system like that of an infant seat but with a higher weight restriction, which means your child can use it longer. It can hold children for up to 40 to 50 pounds.
You can simply turn it to forward-facing when your toddler is ready for it.
A lot of convertible seats can accommodate kids as heavy as 65 pounds.
However, it does not have a convenient detachable carrier and may not provide your smaller baby with the best fit.
Once your toddler has outgrown the height or weight limitations of his forward-facing safety seat, you can now let him use a booster seat that uses the own safety belt of your vehicle.
This type of car seat will raise your older child up in your vehicle so that its seat belt fits him correctly, over his sternum, the center of his collarbone, and low over his upper thighs.
You can choose either a backless or high-back booster.
Backless models may be easier to install and portable, but high-back versions are more recommended since you can position the shoulder belt much more easily.
It also provides more comfort for your child and side-impact protection.