Like everything baby and child related there is so much to choose from when picking a car seat. I have so far come across 16 different brands of car seats in America alone and I’m sure there are loads more that I have missed.
Then to make it even more confusing within these brands there are multitudes of different types of car seats.. So how to make the choice on what you should pick when choosing a car seat that is right for your child?
Firstly and most importantly you must choose a car seat that fits your baby, toddler, child correctly.. So choose it based on age, weight and height.
All seats in America have to pass federal crash tests for safety.
There are three main categories when choosing a car seat
Infant car seats – usually used up to age of 12-18 months old depending on weight of your baby usually 22-35 pounds
Convertible car seats – can be used from newborn then after 2 years or reaching the weight requirement usually 40 pounds rear-facing then this seat can be turned around to be a forward facing seat usually up to 70 pounds.
Booster seats – for older children at least 3 years old with a minimum weight of 40 pounds.
Tip 1. Do your homework on the brand you are looking to purchase. This can be done by reading reviews of actual customers either on the manufactures website, Amazon and reviews on a particular model like my travel system review.
Tip 2. Ease of installation. You want to make sure that you are going to be able to install it correctly. You can find instructions on the manufactures website, you tube demonstrations and you can also go to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) website. Here they give you a 5 star rating on how easy it is to install.
Tip 3. Buy brand new unless you really can’t afford it… If you do need to buy a second-hand one please be very careful as you need to know the full history of the car seat.. Seats are only designed to withstand one crash not several. Also make sure the date of the seat is less than 10 years old preferably 5 years.. Plastic does get brittle as it ages.
Tip 4. Choose value for money. Buy a car seat that can be used for a number of years like a convertible car seat or used as a travel system. That way you are getting more wear and value for your car seat. More expensive car seats usually have higher weight limits therefore you can use the infant seat for longer.
Tip 5. 5 point safety harness is best.. Read why here.. Also for ease of use look for a car seat that you are able to adjust the harness at the front or if you do have to do it though the back, make sure you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to change or adjust it. That way you know your seat is still safe as you haven’t had to re-feed the straps though the seat. One thing you could do is go into a shop that sells it and review the seat first before you purchase it online – (online is usually cheaper with free shipping options)
You can also read child recommendations from NHTSA here.