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As a parent, you want to have the safest car seat possible for your precious new baby. Of course, choosing a safe and reliable car seat can sometimes be a confusing experience. There are so many different models on the market, and it’s very important that you choose one that is not only safe and comfortable, but meets all of the specific needs of you and your baby. This is why we’ve taken the time to write a guide to tell you everything you need to know when it comes time to make the most well-informed child safety seat purchase possible.
In America, by law all children under the age of seven must be secured in a safety seat. Some states have further laws that require children to be in safety seats up to a certain age or weight, and you should inform yourself of the laws in your particular state so that you can purchase the most suitable seat for your situation. We hope that this guide helps you find the best car seat for your baby.
There are several different types of car seats that serve different purposes. You should be well informed of the differences between the two, as its very important that you select the ideal car seat; the one that’s most appropriate for your new baby. Here are the various types of car seats and what their main purpose is.
These are, as you would imagine, safety seats that are meant for infants only. This would usually mean from birth to about two years of age, after which they would need to upgrade to a forward-facing car seat. These safety seats are generally designed to be rear-facing while in your vehicle.
Depending on how fast your baby grows, an infant safety seat will generally last you up to 24 months. If your baby grows fast, he or she might need a replacement quicker than that, though.
Most infant safety seats will also double as a carrier for your baby. This can be convenient, as you can use it to carry your baby with you when you’re out and about. Most infant safety seat models either strap directly into the car itself, or attach to a base that you must attach to the car. In most cases, you are able to purchase additional bases for your infant car seat if you have more than one vehicle that you wish to use it in. An infant seat may be the best solution if having a small, portable child safety seat is important.
These seats are designed to be usable by your baby from birth until the point that they no longer need a child safety seat. This can be a great way to save money overall, even though that are often more expensive than standard infant car seats. Depending on the weight, height and age of your child, you can use them in either the rear-facing or forward-facing positions. There are usually no age limitations or parameters on convertible safety seats; they have weight and height limits and parameters.
The main downside to convertible car seats are that they are usually heavier and bulkier than infant car seats, and are generally not portable nor can they be used as a carrier. Some parents find these types of safety seats to be too large and unwieldy, especially for smaller infants. If you can handle these downsides, you’ll likely find that they are the best car seats, and you’ll get a much better investment for your money by choosing a convertible seat.
Booster seats are designed for older children, and are only to be used in the forward-facing position. When your child reaches 40 pounds, they should be using a booster seat which allows them to use the car’s safety belts or restraints. A booster seat should be used until the child is about 80 pounds and around 57 inches tall. For most vehicles, this is the height and weight in which the built-in seat belts can be used properly without a booster seat. Of course, you should check with your local laws to see if they make any special stipulations about how long a child should be using a booster seat.
There are specific guidelines on child safety seats written by the American Academy of Pediatrics regarding how long children should be riding in the specific types of car seats. It is extremely important that you have a suitable car seat for your child’s particular age, size, and weight, and have it installed correctly.
The AAP recommends that all infants should be riding in a rear-facing safety seats starting from their very first ride home from the hospital. All children should ride in a safety seat until they are 2 years old — or until they reach the limitations on the particular seat they are using.
Here are the guidelines regarding the type of safety seat that should be used for each child.
Children that have outgrown their forward-facing car seat should then use a booster seat until they can properly use a seat belt. This typically is at a height of 4 feet 9 inches and somewhere between 8 to 12 years of age.
|Age Group||Type of Seat||General Guidelines|
|Infants/Toddlers||Infant seats and rear-facing convertible car seat||All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing infant car seat or convertible car seat until they are 2 years old.|
|Toddlers/Preschoolers||Convertible seat or forward-facing seat with harness||Children over the age of 2 years & those that have outgrown the limitations on their rear-facing seat should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness. This should be used for as long as possible, or until they outgrow their forward-facing seat.|
|School-aged Children||Booster seat||Children that have outgrown their forward-facing car seat should then use a booster seat until they can properly use a seat belt. This typically is at a height of 4 feet 9 inches and somewhere between 8 to 12 years of age.|
Now that you understand the differences between the different types of car seats, you should be better equipped to decide on which is the perfect car seat for your particular needs, as well as those of your child. There are some other factors you should consider when it comes to choosing a car seat, and here is a list of things you need to think about.
When it comes to buying the car seat, you should keep the following tips in mind.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding finding the best car seat for you and your child, feel free to ask on any of the available comment pages and we would be happy to help.