Baby and Toddler Car Seat Buying Guide
Types of car seats
The car seat you buy will depend on the height, weight and age of your child. Your baby will go through different stages that require different types of car seats. Don’t switch to the next stage too quickly. It is important to keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible.
When you are starting out, you have the option of placing your newborn in a convertible car seat or in a special infant seat. Although the convertible types can be facing forward and backward and will hold your baby until he has two tears, the infant car seat is a much safer and more comfortable option.
Child car seat
The best and safest type of infant car seat is a rear-facing infant car seat. They are convenient with an easy-to-use bracket that is detachable and mounts to a base that remains in the car. When it’s time to get out of the car, just click and take the seat with the baby in it. You can also buy additional bases if necessary.
All infants should use a rear-facing seat until they are two years old or have reached the height and weight limit of the seat you are using. Weight ranges for infant car seats can start at 4 pounds and go up to 35 pounds maximum. The baby seats are equipped with five-point harnesses that offer good safety for your baby and can only be used in a rear-facing position, which is much safer in the event of an accident. The seat should also be adjusted to recline at a 35 to 45 degree angle.
You can install some seats without the base, but the installation is not as secure and often reduces the weight limitation of the seat. Buying a stroller travel system which includes the car seat, stroller and base is also an option.
This is a good way to save money if you plan to buy a stroller and car seat.
Convertible car seat
Like the kid’s model, this type has a five-point harness system and is rear-facing, but it also has the option of being forward-facing, hence the convertible name.
Some convertible models can accommodate a baby from birth to 45 pounds. There are some companies that offer convertible models for young children weighing up to 80 pounds and a height range allowed from a minimum of 19 “to a maximum of 53”.
A convertible car seat will allow you to change from a rear-facing to a forward-facing position once your child grows into the toddler range. Although this can save you money, this type of seat does not offer the same comfort or fit as an infant car seat. They are also not stroller compatible, which is inconvenient if you take your baby in and out of the car frequently.
All-in-one car seat
An all-in-one seat has the same characteristics of a convertible seat. It can be forward or rear facing and has a five point harness system. However, this type can be used, after removing the harness, as a booster seat with a belt. As the name implies, this seat is designed to meet all your car seat needs from birth to the moment you transfer your child to a booster seat (40 lbs.). And a longer seat. The increased length makes it easier to keep your baby in a rear-facing position for longer without having to worry about weight limitation.
The forward-facing weight limit for this type of seat is 50 to 65 pounds while using the five-point harness. This allows young children to take advantage of the five-point harness system, which is a much safer and preferred method than your vehicle’s three-point seat belt system. An all-in-one will definitely save you money because it could be your child’s only car seat. The larger size allows your child to stay rear-facing and secure for longer, but may not work as well for a newborn as an infant car seat.
Toddler Combo Car Seat
This model is designed to be used as a forward-facing seat only. These seats can be forward or rear facing and have five point harness systems and will easily convert to a toddler booster seat after your child grows out of the harness.
When your child has reached the upper height and weight limits of the five-point harness, it is a simple task to remove the harness. You now have a booster seat that will raise your child to the proper height to use your vehicle’s seat belt.
There are a few things to keep in mind when opting for a combination toddler car seat. Some manufacturers will certify that the weight range for a particular model is between 20 and 65 pounds. It is not recommended, nor is it a good idea to place any child or infant weighing as little as 20 pounds. in a forward-facing car seat. Often times, some children under the age of three will weigh enough to meet the minimum weight requirements of a belt-mounted booster seat. Research has shown that this is not as safe as a five-point harness when facing forward.
It’s easy to mistake a toddler booster combination for a high-back booster seat and vice versa. The simple difference is that a high-back booster seat has no harness and is designed to be used with your vehicle’s 3-point seat belt.
A belt-mounted booster seat or “booster seat” does not have a built-in harness. It is designed only for use with your vehicle’s seat belts. A booster seat does not require any installation. Some of the more recently introduced models come with LATCH (“Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children”). LATCH will keep the thruster safe and prevent it from flying forward in the event of a collision. When using a booster seat, it is the vehicle seat belt that keeps your child safe, not the booster seat. Some of the high-back booster seats have slots or guides that help you better position your child’s belt, but a backless booster seat is just a cushion that elevates your child enough to allow for the use of a seat belt. .
A quality booster seat will position the shoulder section of the seat belt over the strong bony part of your child’s collarbone and chest and allow the lower belt strap to pass over their hips and thighs, rather than across the stomach or upper body. chest. abdomen. When properly adjusted, your child’s back should rest comfortably against the back of the vehicle seat (or the back of the booster seat, if using one). Your child’s knees should bend comfortably at the edge of the seat. The seat belt must also remain on when your child moves in the seat.