Right Car Seat

Buying your child a suitable car seat is one of the most important decisions that you will ever make in your life, especially if you are a new parent. A car seat can help keep your child safe and secure inside a moving vehicle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), securely strapping your child in a car seat can lower his/her risk of dying in a vehicular accident by 71%. It’s more than enough reason to hit the store and buy one.

But, don’t just buy any car seat. There are certain things that you must consider when buying a car seat. This guide can help you find the most suitable one.

Things to Consider when Choosing a Car Seat

Always bear in mind that a car seat can save the life of your child. It is imperative that you make it the top priority and buy it right away. First-time parents may be overwhelmed with the variety of choices that they see in the stores. There are car seats that have exorbitant price tags, although they have the same features as the ones that are less expensive.

To lessen the burden of choosing, you just need to think about these three things:
  • The age of your child
  • The height and weight of your child
  • The car seat meets the standards for safety that the government has set.
As the child ages, he/she will need a car seat that’s appropriate for her age, weight, or height. The CDC provides a guide to help parents choose the most suitable safety seat for their child at a certain age. 

Take note of the following:

1. The rear-facing or convertible car seat is the most suitable choice for newly born babies and children two years old and below.
2. The forward-facing car seat is suitable for 2 to 4 years old.
3. The booster seat is the right choice for children between 4 and 8 years old or with a height lower than 4 feet 9 inches.

Convertible and Rear-Facing Car Seats

It is prudent to choose a rear-facing safety seat for a newly born baby and children with an age of not more than 2 years. You also need to check the weight limit of a particular car seat. The weight of your child should not go beyond the allowed weight limit of the car seat.

There are two kinds of car seat for infants that you can choose from and they are the infant-only car seat and the convertible car seat. Both seats are safe, and the choice depends on your preference.

The infant-only car seat is best for babies weighing 20 to 22 pounds. This seat is portable and lighter to carry than the other type. Many parents also find this safety seat convenient and easy to use.

You can also use the convertible car seat from birth, but the infant-only seat provides better protection for the newly born baby. It is recommended to choose the one that can withstand the weight of up to 30 pounds.

The convertible car seat can be installed as forward-facing or rear-facing. Some reviews can help you find the most ideal safety seat among the convertible car seats in the market today. Experts recommend using a rear-facing seat for infants under two years old or until they outgrow the limit on height and weight that the manufacturer has set. 

Forward-Facing Car Seat

Children who are between 2 and 4 years old and already outgrow the requisites for the rear-facing car seat should already use the forward-facing safety seat. Many forward-facing car seats can carry the weight of a child weighing 65 pounds or more. Make sure to check the actual manual of your chosen car seat before making a purchase. 

Booster Seat

A child whose age falls between 4 and 8 years old must use a booster seat when occupying the back seat. Parents should utilize a booster seat with belt-positioning. This particular kind of car seat is suitable for children weighing 80 to 100 pounds. Basically, most children between 3 and 8 years old need a booster seat.

Remember that a child’s head must have proper support. You may choose a high-back booster if you have a low-backseat car, this way their neck and head will have the appropriate support and won't rock backwards if you need to stop suddenly. Depending on your car, you might even use the stock headrest as opposed to the booster seat one, as this one may be more adjustable to their height. You can even Click here for the best compact booster seat if you've got limited car space or if you have other family members who might need access to the seats at other times. This way you can easily fit in and remove the booster seat as needed, which means you can also put it into another car if you've got a second one you drive your child around in.

When a child is approaching 8 years old and/or 4 feet 9 inches tall, he/she may get rid of a booster seat and can use the seat belts of the car. If the adult seat belt doesn't quite fit them yet however, it would be best to keep them in the booster seat until they can securely fasten themselves in without issue.

To know if the belt fits, do the following:

  • Have your child take a seat on the car without the booster.
  • Fasten the seat belts and check the position of the shoulder belt and the lap belt on your child.
  • The belt for the lap area should be on the upper thighs of a child and not on her/his stomach.
  • The belt for the shoulder must properly fit the chest and not the neck.
If the test failed to meet any of the given conditions, your child is not yet ready to sit in the back seat of the car without a booster. It is imperative for children under thirteen years old to ride at the back seat of the car. The airbags may cause injury or even death to a child while he/she is sitting in his/her car seat in the front passenger seat at the time of an accident. The car seat can protect the child from falling off, but it cannot withstand the impact of the airbags.

Not all regions or localities implement the same rules or laws regarding the car seats of children. Some US states impose a fine of $100 or more when you fail to use the correct car seat for your child. If you have plans to go on a family vacation using your car to get to your destination, make sure that your child is using the correct car seat that satisfies the requirements of the region.

A car seat is essential during the early years of your child. Show your love by giving your child the most suitable car seat for his/her height, weight, and age. Keep them safe and teach them to grow into responsible adults. When they learned how you took time to care for their safety while the whole family is traveling, they will surely do the same to their own children.