6 Tips for Choosing the Right Car Seat for Your Baby
You’re a first time mom, looking for the best possible car seat out in the market for that little bundle you will be bringing home.
You visit the baby stores for what you believe will be an easy task when all of the sudden- you are standing in the middle of the car seat zone aisle and you hear crickets. Or, you are possibly hearing a lot of the questions fluttering through your mind in what seems like 100 wpm:
What in the world? Why are there so many car seats? How do I know which car seat is for my baby, he or she isn’t even born? And so many other questions.
Am I right? Don’t all raise your hands at once. So, which direction do you go? Here are our 5 tips for choosing your perfect car seat. For your baby, I mean.
If your baby is securely strapped in a car seat, his or her risk of dying in a car accident goes down by 71%, according to the CDC.
Tip #1: Make sure you are using the correct car seat for the appropriate age.
You will want to consider and take note of:
Your baby's age
Your baby's weight and height
Whether the car seat meets safety standards
Here's a quick guide from the CDC on how to choose a seat based on your child's age, weight, and height:
Birth to age 2. Use a rear-facing seat. Your child's weight should be no higher than allowed on the seat's weight limit.
Age 2 to 4 AND no more than 40 pounds. Use a forward-facing child safety seat.
Age 4 to 8 OR up to 4 feet 9 inches tall. Use a belt-positioning booster seat. Always keep kids in the back seat.
After age 8 AND/OR 4 feet 9 inches tall. Seat belts (without a booster seat) are OK. But your child should keep using a booster seat until adult seat belts fit properly. How can you know? Check the position of the lap belt and the shoulder belt on your child. The lap belt should be on the upper thighs -- not the stomach. The shoulder belt should be on the chest -- not the neck.
Tip #2: Quality
Think that for the first few years of life, your child will be sitting in this chair more often than we think. Car trips, weekends out and so on… you get the point.
We personally recommend a great quality car seat with enough cushion. The support around the head is always important to us in the event of an accident. So keep this in mind when looking at the quality of materials used, fabric, etc.
Tip #3: Safety label.
Make sure the seat has a label stating that it meets or exceeds Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213.
Tip #4: Five-point harness.
It will protect your baby better than a three-point harness or seatbelt.
Tip #5: Ratings.
This is one of our favorite things for almost any products. Ratings. Check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) five-star ease of use ratings system. A seat that's earned four or five stars will have clear instructions and be easy to use.
Tip #6: Always keep in mind that you need a new car seat.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends buying a new car seat - unless you know the accident history of a used car seat.
Also, always check reviews and ratings by fellow moms and parents in general. They can be the best at giving you advice on what to purchase or not based on experience.
Check out this video on properly buckling your baby into the car seat.
We hope you feel a bit more secure on what to look for when you go back to the aisles at your local baby stores. Hopefully, a bit less overwhelming.
Below you can see some of our recommended car seat brands. Do you have any favorites? Tell us below.