There's no avoiding this purchase when you have a new baby in your life -- car seats are a vital safety device. In fact, you cannot take your baby home from the hospital if you do not own a car seat (unless you're planning to take the subway or train). Car seats are meant to protect your infant and older child from harm. These devices also come in handy for keeping your child restrained in the car so that you can keep your eyes on the road. There are many types of car seats; each design is suitable for a specific weight and height range. Most likely, you will first purchase an infant car seat and then when your child is more than 20 pounds, and you'll graduate to a larger car seat for your toddler.
Concerned that you won't find a safe car seat for your child? Don't worry, all new car seats must meet the current international safety standards - check for the "E" mark. As far as choosing the right car seat, it is all a matter of what fits in your vehicle, how easy it is to use and how long your child can use it. Here are the five types of car seats on the market today:
What To Look For
- Easy Installation -- A recent study showed that more than 80% of car seats are installed incorrectly. Avoid being a statistic and find a model that you can feel safe and confident about using. Child Car Seats has a page detailing the fitting of car seats.
- Convertible Seats -- If you buy an infant-only seat, you'll have to buy a rear- or forward-facing seat later. The convertible car seats are versatile and last the longest. However they don't offer you the ability to easily take an infant in and out of the seat. That's right, you may have to wake a sleeping baby.
- LATCH -- All car seats since 2002 are equipped with a tether system known as LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children). This system aims to reduce the risk of improperly installed car seats to maximize safety. No seatbelts are needed for installation. For more information, Amazon has instructions and FAQs.
- Easy Release Latches and Buckles -- The buckle should adjust easily from the front, not the back.
- Washability -- Find a car seat with a detachable, machine-washable cover . It makes for ease in cleaning up those inevitable car messes.
- Comfort -- There should be proper padding around the seat and additional head and neck support for infants (you can also purchase a head stabilizer ). Padded straps are also a nice feature.
Though all car seats meet the government safety requirements, there are a few added bonus features you may want to consider to maximize your child's safety.
- 5-Point Harness -- Usually gives the best fit and reduces the risk of ejection. Secures your child at both shoulders, both hips, and between the legs.
- Wide, Twist-Free Straps -- Maximizes the area that restrains the child.
- Head Impact Protection -- Padded "wings" or extra layers of EPS foam around your baby's head can improve crash safety, especially in side impact crashes.
- Infants must ride semi-reclined, at a 45 degree angle.
- Avoid used car seats. Worn seats, seats more than six years old, and seats that have been in accidents will be less effective in case of a crash.
- Keep your baby rear-facing as long as comfortably possible. Safety mirrors are available to keep an eye on your child while in this position.
- Always follow the manufacturers' instructions and read the vehicle owner's manual for installation tips.
- Make sure your baby has adequate "wiggle room." This will ensure your baby's comfort, especially on the colder days when your baby is bundled up.
Big Names in Car Seats
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NL: Kinderautostoeltjes Shopgids