What to think about when buying a car seat. It is a jungle out there. Many manufactories promise safety, comfort and low prices. First of all; always make sure you have the suitable car seat for your baby. Look closely at the weight and height for the seat of your choice. Weight is more important for safety than age.
Four Types of Car Seat
- Infant car seats face the rear of the car and carry babies up to 22 or even 35 pounds and 29 to 32 inches tall.
- Convertible car seats face the back of the car at first and later turn to face forward, carrying children from birth to somewhere between 40 and 80 pounds and up to 50 inches tall.
- Combination car seats can change from rear-facing to forward-facing, then into a booster seat for children up to 100 Pounds.
- Booster seats use the car’s seat belts and are designed for children who weigh at least 40 pounds. It is recommended that children use seats till they are 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall.
Look for safety stamps to get the safest car seat for you.
When choosing your car seat it is most important to focus on safety. The JMPA-approval and the ECE-approval, meaning they are safety approved in both USA and Europe. This means they have been through crash tests and user tests, and passed.
For many people the car is a second home and something that they use both in every day and for holidays and longer trips. To have a comfortable and safe car seat is important because the longer (and shorter) drives may become unbearable for all if the youngest travelers are uncomfortable. Make sure you have the right weight and length for your baby and children.
To have a car seat that is easy to install in your car is the best way to ensure you keep your baby safe. Your car seat needs to be installed in the car the correct way in order to be completely safe. The easies installations are the isofix installed car seats. But not all cars are offered fort isofix. Check your car first. For the baby seats you can buy a base for your seat, so that it easily clicks on and off when you need to bring your baby and car seat with you. Always look at a tutorial and read the instructions before you install your car seat. After buying you seat you can always go to a retailer or garage and ask professionals to make sure the car seat is installed correctly.
Tips for Buying a Car Seat
Obviously buying the convertible car seat is a money saver for you because you have the seat through toddlerhood, and safety wise they are fantastic. But the drawback is they are not able to be taken in and out of the car like the infant seat can. Now as parents we know that the ability to move our beautiful sleeping babies in an infant seat are absolutely priceless and very time efficient–even if it is in their first year.
If you want to purchase an infant car seat but want to save on cost, then take the time to consider doing some research for a travel system–which is an infant seat and the stroller that are sold together and saving you some money.
Of course you want to know which car seat is safest. Only the best will do for your pride and joy but you need not worry because all car seats on the market have been tested and approved for all current safety standards (make sure to check for the JPMA stamp on the box).
As safety and technology improves all the time you should not consider buying or accepting a hand-me-down car seat. It’s most important that you purchase the safest new car seat. Don’t compromise on safety ever…
The prices will range from $80 to $200,whether you are purchasing an infant car seat or the convertible car seat, make sure you look for a model that definitely has a 5- point harness (2 shoulder straps and 2 waist straps, and 1 strap that goes between their legs that meet in the middle), side-impact protection (extra foam or air pads at the side of the baby’s head), and compatibility with the LATCH system (which is a way to fasten the base tightly without using seatbelts).
Now if you can afford to purchase a premium car seat, priced above $200, you can expect additional features, such as an anti-rebound bar at the foot of the seat that will limit the amount of movement during an accident. Other features that push up the price include high quality more comfortable fabric and accessories like a larger canopy.
Looking to the future it is important to check if the car seat you will be buying has straps that are adjustable as your baby grows. Ideally you do not want to re-thread the straps all the time. Quite a number of the brands now have adjustment handles in the back of the seat, or you simply pull a cord between the baby’s legs, saying goodbye to re-threading the straps and saving you lots of time.
Now once your purchase is made you’re not quite finished. You can log on to www.seatcheck.org and find an inspector near you who will professionally check your work. Of course you will get an installation guide with your car seat but checking out www.youtube.com can also be of great help if you need more tips on your installation.
Check out the 10 Best Car Seats on the market right now:
1. Chicco Nextfit Zip, Sapphire
Engineered with innovative safety and convenience features, the NextFit is the easiest convertible car seat to install accurately and securely. The exclusive ReclineSure 9-position Leveling System provides the most recline options to accommodate a wider range of vehicles, and the SuperCinch LATCH tightener uses force-multiplying technology to help achieve a SUPER tight and secure vehicle fit with a fraction of the effort! Just like the KeyFit, two RideRight bubble levels accurately indicate correct seat angle in both rear-facing and forward-facing modes. And, when you’re ready to move to forward-facing, an integrated slide path makes it easy to re-position the LATCH strap without re-threading! NextFit Zip’s exclusive Zip & Wash seat pad detaches easily from shell for convenient machine washing. NextFit Zip also features ComfortFlex Harness Management with padding and flex-out technology that holds both sides of the waistbelt up and out of the way during loading/unloading and keeps them in the right spot once baby is ready to be buckled! Other features include a removable infant insert for smaller babies, 5-point harness with 2-position chest clip, 6-position headrest with integrated harness adjustment, built-in belt lock-offs for installation with vehicle belt, machine-washable seat pad, and insulated cup holder for use on either side of the seat. For use with children from 5-40 lbs in rear-facing mode, and from 22-65 lbs in forward-facing mode.
2. Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat and Base, Papyrus
The Key Fit 30 Infant Car Seat features one-pull harness tightening and loosening in the car seat to allow for quick fitting, and the thickly-padded infant insert gives extra support for a smaller baby. The shell is lined with energy-absorbing foam, and the vehicle base features the Recline Sure Spring-Loaded Leveling Foot, Ride Right Bubble Level-Indicators on each side of the base, and the Superrich One-Pull LATCH Tightened to help achieve a tight and secure fit. The base also features easy vehicle belt routing and a built-in lock-off system for vehicles without LATCH. An enclosed underside helps protect vehicle seats from damage. Conforms to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. (Usage: from 4-30 lbs, newborn insert from 4-11 lbs).
3. Britax USA Advocate ClickTight Convertible Car Seat, Circa
This convertible has a groundbreaking installation that leaves you with no doubt the seat is safely and correctly installed. 3 layers of side impact protection, a snug harness indicator, an impact-absorbing base and steel frame make for the best protection for your child. Typically up to 75 percent of car seats are installed incorrectly, but the revolutionary ClickTight Installation System is the safest and easiest technology on the market. Just open the front of the car seat, buckle the seat belt across and click the seat shut. That’s all you need to do for rock-solid installation – the seat won’t budge and you can travel worry-free with your child. Britax is the only child car seat brand that features world-class SafeCell Impact Protection. This integrated system of safety components provides unmatched protection for your child. These features include a steel frame, energy-absorbing base, V-shaped tether to minimize seat rotation and staged-release stitches that slow and reduce forward movement during a crash. Side impacts represent 25 percent of collisions and result in the most severe injuries. Britax designed the Advocate ClickTight with these statistics in mind. The seat has a deep foam-lined shell, quick-adjust head protection and side cushions, forming 3 layers of side protection – the best protection for your child. Almost 60 percent of car seat harnesses are too loose. Britax’s patented Click & Safe Snug Harness Indicator takes the guesswork out of seating your little one and lets you know that your child’s harness is within range of proper tightness with a click sound. Britax developed the Advocate ClickTight to safely and comfortably hold your child from birth all the way through the preschool years. The easy-adjust harness grows along with your child with 14 different positions. Change the height of the seat with just the push of a button – no inconvenient rethreading necessary.
4. Diono Radian RXT All-In-One Convertible Car Seat, Black Scarlet
Lovingly engineered with a full steel frame, the Dione radian rate all-in-one car seat provides unmatched safety for your child from birth to booster – and every marvelous moment in between. It comfortably seats rear-facing children from 5-45 pounds, forward-facing children from 20-80 pounds in a 5-point harness, then converts to a booster seat for children up to 120 pounds. Designed with your child’s security and safety as top priorities, the radian rate features a steel alloy frame, reinforced sidewalls, adjustable head support and Dione’s patented Safe Stop energy absorbing harness. EPS foam surrounds your child’s head and body to provide complete side impact protection. The unique Super latch system makes installation easy. Memory foam padding, infant support pillows, expandable sides, and a longer seat bottom provide extra room and comfort for your growing child. The seat is NCAP crash tested, the industry benchmark for verifying child seat performance in severe accident conditions. One cup holder is included, with the option to add up to 4 cup holders. The radian RXT folds flat for travel and fits 3 across in most mid-sized vehicles, making it the perfect choice for growing families. With a 10-year lifespan, the radian rate could be the only car seat you’ll ever need.
5. Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat, Matrix
The Graco Nautilus Car Seat is a 3-in-1 multi- mode car seat for children 20 pounds to 100 pounds. This is the last car seat you will need to buy for your child. The Nautilus is ideal for your children from one to ten years old. First, it is an extended 5 point harness seat for children 20 to 65 pounds that features an easy to install system with a lock off buckle for easy secure installation. Second, it works as a high back booster for children 30 pounds to 100 pounds, and finally as a backless booster for children 40 pounds to 100 pounds. The Nautilus Car Seat has a steel reinforced frame for durability, and has a 3-position recline for proper installation and comfort. The car seat offers easy access storage and cup holders for your child’s enjoyment. Nautilus transforms into three modes to go the distance.
6. RECARO Performance SPORT Combination Harness to Booster, Knight
The RECARO Performance SPORT meets all new FMVSS 213 standards. It has a new upper weight limit of 65 pounds, which accommodates an average 9.5 year old child. The Performance SPORT has all-new features such as HERO harness system technology and comfort enhancing memory foam. HERO is a new, exclusive and innovative safety feature by RECARO. HERO ensures the highest level of protection and comfort by positioning the shoulder pads to appropriately fit the child’s neck, head and shoulders while resisting harness twisting and ensuring proper chest clip positioning. The Performance SPORT includes the RECARO Safety Stripe System, which is a racing-inspired white stripe that is clearly visible on the outside edge of the five-point harness. This stripe is designed as an easy alert to parents that a twist could occur, or has begun, thus preventing a safety hazard. Additional features include added mesh for breathability, improved comfort pad with memory foam, enhanced cup holders and stylish trim details. The Performance SPORT Combination Harness to Booster Car Seat has twist-resistance straps and a five-point harness system that accommodates children 20 to 65 pounds in harness mode and 30 to 120 pounds in booster mode. The Performance SPORT incorporates RECARO Side Impact Protection technology inspired by four decades of racing seat safety.
7. Graco My Ride 65 LX Convertible Car Seat, Ezra
Help keep your growing child safe in this innovative convertible car seat. The American academy of pediatrics recommends your child ride rear-facing as long as possible, so my ride 65 stays rear-facing up to 40 lbs. longer than most other car seats in the us. Then, it secures your forward-facing child in a 5-point harness until he is 65 lbs. (the American academy of pediatrics recommends your child stay harnessed as long as possible). Other features like EPS, energy absorbing foam, side-impact testing and removable infant insert help keep your child snug and secure on all his journeys.
8. Disney APT Convertible Car Seat, Mouseketeer Mickey
The Disney Baby Mickey Mouse Apt 40RF Convertible Car Seat allows babies to remain in a safer rear-facing position from a tiny 4 pounds up to 40 pounds and 40 inches in height. Need a safe seat for your toddler? The Apt moves into a forward-facing position for children 22-40 pounds and 43 inches in height. The adorable Mouseketeer Mickey fashion will have your little mouse riding in style. The mouse-ear head rest keeps heads extra cozy, and the subtle, sweet silhouettes in the premium red fabric help make every ride both extra comfortable and fun. Mickey’s signature adds a special touch that completes the seat perfectly!
9. Graco Affix Youth High Back Booster Car Seat with Latch System, Pierce
The Graco AFFIX Backless Booster Car Seat provides a secure connection to your vehicle seat with its unique one-hand front-adjust latch system. The connection uses your vehicle’s tethers to keep the booster steadily in place and makes self-buckling easier for your independent child. One-hand front adjust booster seat with LATCH System secures booster to vehicle seat. Secure connection keeps big kid booster seat properly in place. Keeps backless booster steady for easy self-buckling for your independent child. Front adjustment allows you to quickly and easily tighten the booster to the vehicle seats.
10. Graco Affix Backless Youth Booster Car Seat with Latch System, Kalia
The Affix Backless Youth Booster Car Seat features the LATCH system, which stays secured to your vehicle’s seat, for easy self-buckling . Give Your “Big Kid” a boost with this seat, designed to help keep kids from 40 to 100 pounds, from 40 to 57 inches tall, and from 4 to 10 years old safe while riding in a vehicle. You’ll love the LATCH system on the Affix Backless Youth Booster, which allows you to secure the booster firmly to the seat simply and easily. With just one hand, you can create a secure connection using your vehicle’s anchors to keep the booster properly in place. Once the seat is properly secured to your vehicle’s seat with the LATCH system, it is easier for your independent little (or big!) one to self-buckle. Kids love to feel grown up, so they especially love this feature. Of course, Affix Backless Youth Booster is designed to help keep your growing child safe. So, it has been engineered and crash tested to meet or exceed standards, including: U.S. Compliance Standard FMVSS 213 New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). Your child will love the integrated cup holder, since it keeps his or her drink or snacks close at hand while riding along with you. Kids always seem to be happier riding along when they have their favorite things at their fingertips, so they really appreciate the hideaway storage compartment for small games and toys. A happy child is a happy mom, especially on longer car trips! You’ll really appreciate the removable, machine-washable soft goods on the Affix, just remove and toss them in the washing machine. That way, your child will always have a tidy place to ride.