All You Need To Know When Purchasing A Car Seat

careastInfants and children need to ride in approved car seats while in a moving vehicle.  Since there are so very many choices on the market deciding which car seat to purchase can be daunting.  There are seats that serve just one function and there are seats that are convertible and serve several functions.  You may think that purchasing one convertible system will be all you ever need.  Probably you will need to purchase more than one seat during the time a child needs the protection of a car seat.  Most car seats are rated for a life span of only 6 years while a child uses a car seat for a longer period of time, maybe eight years.

For a newborn the infant only car seats probably fit best.  They are small and portable.  They are installed to be rear facing and some models come with a removable seat and a base which straps into the car.  If you have a sleeping baby it makes it easy to remove the seat while leaving the base.   There is a system which provides for infant seats to attach directly into a car seat rather that simply using a seatbelt to hold them in place.   The infant seats come with restraints for the baby.  Some are shields or T-bar restraints while others have safety harnesses.  The safety harness may be the safest model.  Since a baby will make a mess it is a good idea to have detachable pads for the infant seat that you can remove and wash.  Infant car seats are not as solid to use in the house as the in-house baby carrier.  An infant car seat will need to be replaced by a larger car seat when the baby gets to be about one year old.

If you don’t want to purchase just an infant seat there are convertible model car seats available.  These car seats can accommodate babies and then toddlers up to 35 pounds.  They can be used as rear facing seats while the child is very young and then when he is old enough it can be front facing.  If you only plan to purchase one car seat the convertible model is probably a good choice.  Some convertible car seats are made to snap into a stroller.  There are also convertible car seats that will later become a booster for an older child.  These 3 in 1 convertible seats can be bulky and take up more space in the car.

If you do not have a system that converts to a booster seat then when the child  has outgrown his car seat you will need to purchase a booster seat.  Booster seats are less expensive than the car seats and they come  in two styles.  If your rear seat does not have headrests then a  high back car seat may  protect the child’s head in the event of a crash.  The other style booster seat is backless and these are the least expensive and the most portable.

Car seats are not inexpensive.  Basic models can run from $80 and up while the more deluxe models can run several hundred dollars.  Car seats available on the market today should all be in compliance with the federal guideline standards.   It is extremely important to be sure the car seat you have purchased is installed correctly in your car.  A poorly installed car seat, no matter how safe the seat itself, will only protect your precious cargo if the seat is properly installed.