How to choose the right car seat for your child
Age, height and weight are important factors when choosing a child car seat. As a parent, it’s vital to know what each age group needs in terms of vehicle safety and protection. Our article shares some car seat tips.
Keeping your child safe in the car is one of the ultimate responsibilities that parents face. It’s important to gather as much information as you can and to select the right child car seat for your kid’s age and needs. Knowing that you have the right car seat for your child can make the difference between life and death if you are involved in a traffic accident. Being well-prepared to make this choice is the best way to feel reassured and to know that you are keeping your children protected on the road.
Selecting a Child Car Seat: Age Appropriate Requirements
Choosing the right child’s car seat has a lot to do with your child’s age, height, and weight. Parents should be aware that the requirements for what their child needs in a car seat change over time. This means that you will likely have to invest in different types of seats as your child grows.
Choosing a Car Seat for Baby
For new parents, a child car seat is one of the first things you need to take the baby home from the hospital. For infants, there are a couple of options you can choose from. However, the most important thing you should know is that infants and babies must sit in a rear-facing car seat.
In fact, when it comes to your car seat baby position, you should keep them in a rear-facing seat until the height, and weight specifications on your seat say otherwise. Some companies go by the rough guideline that babies are old enough to be in a front-facing seat at two years old. However, it is safer, in general, to go by height and weight rather than arbitrarily by age.
Baby Car Seat Options
Infant-Only Car Seat
Many new parents opt for an infant-only car seat. These seats are better for smaller babies and usually clip onto a stand that is fixed into the car. This means that the baby seat itself is portable and can be used as a handy carrier.
Convertible Car Seat
Another option for new parents is to invest in a convertible car seat. Unlike infant-only car seats, convertible car seats are not portable and are designed to grow with your child. This makes them a great option as a long-term purchase. Many convertible car seats allow children to ride rear-facing until they reach the appropriate height and weight and then convert into front-facing seats. As with any product, you should always check the instructions on how to use a car seat for an infant safely before you install, to make sure the seat is safe and secure.
Car Seats for Toddlers
By around two years old, many children are ready to safely use a front-facing car seat. Again, you can choose a car seat that is specifically designed for young children, and that has a built-in harness. Or you can choose a combination child car seat that has a harness for younger ages and that turns into a booster seat for older children.
It is extremely important to check the age/weight/height advice on your specific make of car seat as these vary across all models. Make sure to check this and to carefully read instructions on how to put a car seat for an infant in your vehicle. If you’re worried about long-term car seat use doing damage to your upholstery, you can also invest in a car seat protector. This can protect against scratching and against general wear and tear in your car.
Car Seats for Older Children
Once a child weighs more than 65lbs, harness-equipped car seats should be replaced by a booster seat. This can mean converting your front-facing child seat to its booster form or purchasing a new seat. It is recommended that children continue to use a booster seat until they are tall enough to use an adult seatbelt correctly. Children younger than 13 should also not sit in the front seat, even if they are tall enough to do so without a car seat.
Picking the right child car seat can seriously impact your child’s safety when you drive. Doing your research beforehand is a great way to start. This way, you can ensure that your family is protected on the road.
How did you choose the right car seat for your child? At what age did you switch your child from rear to front-facing? Let us know in the comments!
Joe Labonte is a blogger, parent, and DIY enthusiast. He specializes in all things technical and loves to take on projects around the house. Joe has three kids and lives with his wife and their golden retriever, Sampson.