Infant Car Seat Reviews
One of the most important pieces of baby equipment you will buy for your child is their car seat. It is important to understand what makes a safe car seat for your child and to know how to sort through the dozens of choices accurately so you get what your baby needs. Because of the importance of this item it is not recommended to purchase a used car seat.
- Best All in One Car Seat
- Best Newborn Car Seat
- Best For The Money
- Best Rear Facing Car Seat
- Best Car Seat For Small Cars
- Best Cheap Car Seat
- Best Forward Facing Car Seat
- Best Convertible Car Seat
- Up and Coming
- Types Of Car Seats
- Toddler Car Seat Safety
- Toddler Car Seat Laws
- Features Of a Great Car Seat
- Read Next
Although some models can be very expensive, it is worth the investment to ensure that you have a car seat that is up to date on all safety regulations. Another issue that can arise in buying a used car seat is that it can have problems or defects that you don’t know about until it is too late.
There could also be recalls on older car seats that you don’t know about. If the car seat is being sold new, in the store or online through a major retailer, you can be assured that it passes all the necessary requirements.
Finding the right infant car seat can take a bit of research and patience. This guide is designed to introduce you to three of the top-rated car seats on the market by three of the giants in the baby equipment industry: Graco, Evenflo and Safety 1st. Read the reviews below to lean about these excellent, high-quality car seats to see if one of them meets your preferences and meets the car seat needs of your baby.
There are several types of car seats on the market. Some are for use just when your child is very little. Others are convertible car seats that can be used for children up to 10 years old. One of the decisions you will need to make is whether you want to purchase a convertible style car seat that can grow with your child or if you want to buy a couple of different car seats as they grow.
One thing to watch out for when purchasing a car seat that is made to last a decade, is that it needs to stay up to date on changing safety regulations. This guide is designed to help you sort through all of the choices on the market and find the perfect infant toddler car seat for your needs.
Infant Car Seat Buyer’s Guide
Types Of Car Seats
- Infant Car Seat – This car seat is not meant to be used beyond the early, rear facing stage of your baby’s life. They are not suitable for babies over 20 pounds. Most of these infant car seats have a handle on top for carrying and depending on the model; some can be snapped into bases in the car or onto a stroller. One of the cons to the infant car seats is that they are outgrown very quickly. If you don’t mind purchasing another car seat when your baby is around 6 months of age, the infant car seat is a great way for them to start out.
- Convertible Car Seat – This model is the most commonly purchased kind of car seat due to the fact that it grows with your child. The first stage of use is for newborns and rear facing conditions. Then as the child grows and increases in weight the car seat can be turned around and adjusted to the size of the child. There are models of convertible car seats that can last all the up through 100 pounds.
- Extended Rear-Facing Car Seat – This type of car seat can be used in the rear facing position longer than the traditional rear facing ones do. There are some recommendations from different sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics that children remain rear facing until they are two years old.
Due to this recommendation, manufacturers have started creating what is called an extended rear facing car seat. These will accommodate the child up to 45 pounds. There are some that have created extra leg room as well so the child’s legs are not forcibly bent. The reason rear facing seats are recommended is because of the extra support the child receives in the head and neck areas in the event of a car crash.
- High-Backed Booster Seat – Once your child reaches ages 4-8 they are ready for a booster seat. Booster seats are much safer than the child riding in the regular car seat. If your child is getting older and starts balking at having to ride in the booster seat, you can opt for the ones that are just the seat and that don’t have the backs. This makes it feel less “babyish” for the child. Bottom line though is that regardless of how much of a tantrum they might throw over having to ride in the booster, you should not budge on this very important safety requirement.
Toddler Car Seat Safety
There are sefveral safety tips that you should always keep in mind when you are traveling in the car with ytour chil. It doesn’t matter if it is a long distance trip or a trip toi the grocery store. These are safety tips that should be followed for the safety of your little one.
Make sure seat is installed properly
This is one of the biggest causes of injuries concerning car seats. Many parents are unsure of how to properly install the seat. With safety measures such as the LATCH system and Britax’s ClickTight system, installation is much easier to get right. Read the manual to make sure you have followed the directions. You can also have your local police department, fire department or sheriff’s department take a look at the car seat to make sure it is properly installed.
Make sure the harness fits the child properly
Harness straps should be in the slots that are right at or slightly below your child’s shoulder. The top of the chest clip should be fastened at underarm level. To ensure the proper tightness, you should be able to slide two fingers between the child’s body and the straps.
Avoid heavy or bulky winter clothing
You want the harness straps to be snug so avopid big, bulky clothing like snowsuits, heavy winter jacks and other bulky type clothing. Put the baby in the car seat and then lay the coat or a warm blanket over the little one and tuck in the sides. Sweaters are fine and will not interfere with the fit of the harness while still keeping the baby warm inside the car.
Lead by Example
Make sure that your little one sees everyone who rides in the car obeying seat belt laws. If you have older children still booster seat age, make sure the toddler/baby sees them getting strapped in as well. It’s always good for the child to see parents as well as siblings buckling up and following the safety rules.
You need to be very careful what you give your toddler to snack on whjile inside the car. You should opt for water bottles or juice rather than food. Things like whole grain crackers, unsalted pretzels or dry cereal like cherrioes are the safest choices if you must give them something to eat. Avoid common choking hazard foods such as grapes, raw carrots, nuts, popcorn, raisins and messy snacks like yogurt, pudding or applesauce.
Never leave your child in the car unattended
The car is a dangerous place for a toddler if they are alone. It can be fatal to leave a child in a car that heats up quickly. Don’t even leave your child in the car when getting gas if you have to go into the store. Aside from heat dangers, there is also a danger of someone seeing the child alone and simply opening the car door and taking them.
Toddler Car Seat Laws
There are many laws regarding child safety and car seats. We have provided the car seat laws regarding babies and toddlers below. Not following these laws not only endangers your child, it is against the law so make sure you follow them for the safety and protection of your children.
Rear-Facing Car Seat
Your child should be in a rear facing car seat from birth to age 2 in the back seat or when they reach the height/weight limit of the rear facing position. Most infant car seats have a range of 5-35 or 40 pounds in the rear facing position.
Forward-Facing Car Seat
Children are usually in the forward-facing car seat position from age 2 to about 5 depending on their height and weight. The seat should always be placed in the back seat.
Booster seat position
From 5 to age 8 or 10 your child should be in a booster seat. Most booster seats allow for up to 100 pounds or so with some going as high as 110 pounds. Some booster seats are backless and others have backs. As long as the booster is an approved child booster seat, it doesn’t really matter which style you choose. Make sure that the chest strap goes across the chest and not across the neck.
Install the car seat properly
Installation is one of the most important factors in car seat safety. Read the instruction manual and make sure that you follow the directions to the letter. If you have trouble or want reassurance that you have the seat installed properly, check with your local fire department, police department or sheriff’s department.
Put the Car Seat in the Back Seat
All children 12 and under should be in the back seat in an approved car seat, a booster seat or a seat belt if they are old enough. Air bags can kill a young child so it is important that you never place a car seat, rear or forward facing, in the front seat.
Use Proper Restraints every trip
Your child should be in an approved car seat, approved booster seat or seat belt every single time you take a drive anywhere, even if it is literally just down the road.
Features Of a Great Car Seat
With so many choices available in car seats, choosing one might be overwhelming, especially if this is your first child. There are some basics that you will want to look for when you start researching and shopping for the right car seat for your baby. We’ve listed the most important things to consider ensuring that you choose the perfect car seat for your needs and preferences.
5 Point Harness
The 5 point harness securely straps the baby into the seat so they are safe when riding in the vehicle. A 5 point harness means straps go over the shoulders, over each thigh and between the baby’s legs. These are excellent for preventing the baby from scooting out underneath the straps.
Newer models’ straps are much easier to adjust that the older model’s straps, which is a good thing since you will have to adjust the straps several times as the baby grows. Another positive change is that the straps are adjustable from the front rather than having to turn the car seat over and adjust them from the back the way the older models require. Some have one handed belt adjustments that have quick release buckles as well.
Easy to Clean
Babies can be messy and they can spit up and have diaper accidents as well. Having a car seat that is easy to clean is very important so the seat stays looking as good as new for as long as possible. Look for a car seat that have removable pads or covers that can be washed in the washing machine. Being able to clean the seat properly will enable you to have a nice looking car seat even longer.
Comfort is an important feature even for a young child. The more comfortable they are in their car seat, the less they will mind being in it. This is a positive thing whenever you have to take the baby on longer road trips. A screaming baby is not easy to drive with. Look for proper head support and comfortable harnesses and seats regardless of the age they are when they are riding in it. Also be mindful of material. In the summer months, certain materials can be very uncomfortable so make certain that you have as comfortable a car seat as you can find for your baby. Riding in the car will be much nicer for them and anyone riding with them.
Side Impact Protection
The term energy absorbing foam is used in many car seats these days. This is a special foam that reduces impact injuries from accidents especially if the impact is on the side of the vehicle. Some models even have front and rear energy absorbing foam as well.
Integrated cup holders
Built in cup holders are very common additions to newer car seats. They are great for older babies that are able to hold their own sippy cups and bottles. They can grab a drink whenever they get thirsty.
This installation system is found in a lot of the newer models of car seats due to the fact that it makes car seat installation much safer and easier. Putting the car seat into the vehicle correctly is one of the most commonly found difficulties that new parents have. The LATCH system helps eliminate the guess work and can make a big difference in the safety of your child in the event of an accident.
A car seat is probably one of the most important decisions you will make for your baby. The right seat makes them comfortable and keeps them safe, even in the event of an emergency. The information in this guide is designed to help you choose the right car seat for your child, whether it is an infant car seat to start and then a bigger one to accommodate toddler-hood and child or you decide to go with the convertible car seat that lasts for 8-10 years.
The objective is the same; purchase the best car seat you can afford to buy and don’t scrimp of look for low cost seats. Since you will be using it so often, making sure that it has the features listed above can make a big difference in the experience you and your baby has with it.
The price range can vary but over all, this is not an area where you should try to go cheap. Look for excellent brands and the features that fit your lifestyle and you will be very happy with your purchase.