Buying a car seat requires much more attention and commitment from parents than you might think. Among the enormity of products and brands, colors, information, and opinions about them, it is tough to find one. This is just the beginning, because – and this is much less talked about – there are still issues of fitting the car seat to the car, its professional assembly, and proper fastening of the child in the seat itself.
You don’t have to worry, it’s not surprising – the choice of car seats is so broad, that without basic knowledge about them, it is difficult to decide on a specific model. We believe that we will help you navigate better in this almost enchanted world of seats. If you look for other information about car equipment, please visit MyCarNeedsThis website.
The main indicators are: your child’s age, weight, and height
Depending on these indicators, you can choose an appropriate seat for your child. Let’s start from the beginning. Having a newborn, you certainly know that your child is at the stage of spinal development; therefore, the position in the seat is critical. Wrong position can disturb this process, e.g., by transferring too much weight of the child’s head from the seat backrest to the cervical vertebrae. Small children should be carried with a head supported, and for the same reason, we need to be sure that the child is in the correct position in its seat.
Choosing and buying a good car seat is just the beginning. Now it is important to use it correctly. The assembly should be carried out following the instructions, and before fastening the harness on the child, we should remove the thick, winter jacket. Outerwear forms an additional layer between the child and the harness, preventing the correct positioning and fastening of the inner straps. It is also crucial not to exceed the time during which the child can safely stay in the seat. For a newborn, it is 30 minutes, for an infant – two hours. After this time, we should take a break from traveling.
Rear-facing seat for infants and toddlers
An infant transported in the first car seat always travels backward. This is due to the fact that with the anatomy of a small child (big head, small torso), this direction is the safest. Newborns’ car seats look a bit like a cradle (always placed rear-facing).
Now, imagine an accident and a child sitting forward-facing during a frontal collision. This exerts huge forces on the neck and shoulders as well as the child’s head, which can lead to death or permanent injuries as paralysis. The force will be spread over a greater area of the body if your child is sitting rear-facing in a collision, causing less pressure on the head, neck, and inner organs. The risk of injuries is decreased by more than 90%, that’s why we recommend that model of seats for as long as possible or when your child is turning 4 years old.
Do you really need an infant seat at the beginning?
Typically the first car seat that you are going to use is an infant car seat. But you don’t have to start with this type. It is a big misconception, and if you want, you can start by using a convertible car seat. This solution is a bit more budget-friendly, but you need to make sure that your convertible car seat has all the infant inserts in order to do that. Some models have it included, and some have it as an additional accessory. However, if you skip an infant car seat, you are loosing out on the convenience of an infant car seat. It is designed with the base that you install in your car. In case when your baby falls asleep in the car, you can easily click in and out your infant seat, and carry the baby with you. An infant car seat is also convenient because you can click it into a stroller creating a travel system.
As you can see, there are a few reasons why parents choose an infant seat because you can’t do most of those things with a convertible one. A convertible car seat is going to stay in your car, and you can’t easily take it out with you. Most parents will start with an infant car seat because they want those convenient features.
Forward-facing and booster seats for older children
Laws concerning car seats for children vary from state to state, but there is some general practice you want to follow. When your child weighs at least 30 pounds, you have to buy a convertible rear-facing seat that can be changed into a frontal-facing one. The convertible car seat is now going to keep them safer. The biggest question is when do you switch from a rear-facing to forward-facing seat. The minimum standard is 2 years and at least 30 pounds. Once your child reaches this limit, you can turn them forward-facing. But the best practice is even longer. Traveling forward-facing will be much more interesting for your child, who is already curious about the world around it. Little human seated in such a car seat feels a bit more comfortable and independent. When your kid outgrows their forward-facing convertible seat but is not big enough to use an adult-sized seat belt, there is the third model you can use: a booster seat. This is the last stage of a car seat before transitioning to the regular seat belts, and your kid will stop using it when being 10 or 12 years old.
A car seat is an essential element of your car’s equipment that largely determines the life and health of your child during the trip. A good car seat is a seat that matches the vehicle in which it will be installed and, at the same time, is the one that fits your child’s age, weight, and height. It is necessary to visit a good stationary store with properly trained staff and with the right assortment. Remember to go to the store by car, in which you will carry the child because thanks to this you will be able to check if the seat fits your vehicle.