Shopping for a car seat can be intimidating for a new parent. There are many different styles of baby car seats to choose from. Two types of rear-facing baby car seats on the market today are the Convertible Seats and the Infant Seats.
Convertible seats offer the most versatility. They can be used rear-facing and tilted backward for infants under one year old and less than 20 pounds, or forward-facing for children at least one year old and over 20 pounds. These types of seats often have higher rear-facing weight limits making them ideal for bigger babies. The convertible car seat needs to be adjusted prior to using it in a forward-facing position. The shoulder straps should be moved so they are just above your child’s shoulders. Also, the seat should now sit in the upright, rather than reclined, position. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure all adjustments have been made correctly.
Infant seats are best for small babies from birth up to 20 or 30 pounds, depending on the model. They are positioned rear-facing only. Most are small and equipped with a handle. Many come as part of a stroller travel system. The detachable base remains secured in the vehicle and the carrier is removed. This way a sleeping baby does not have to be disturbed to get in and out of the car. An added bonus is that you can install a base in more than one vehicle for easy transporting.
Which car seat is right for your baby? No one car seat is the best or the safest. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the car seat that is right for your baby. Following are some guidelines to help get you started:
1) Start shopping early! A car seat is a must-have for all new parents. You can’t leave the hospital without one.
2) Look for one that has high maximum height and weight limits. The new Infant SafeSeat by Graco is one of the only car seats on the market that will accommodate a child rear-facing up to 30 pounds and 32 inches.
3) A mom-friendly buckle that is easy to fasten is a must! Some are so difficult to secure that it can be frustrating with a wiggling baby.
4) Locate a baby car seat that has a pull strap in the front of the seat that is easy to reach and pull with one hand. This will allow you to tighten and loosen the straps in a hurry.
When installing baby car seats in a vehicle be sure that the level indicator is balanced. To be sure your car seat is properly installed, attend a free inspection site near your home.
The best car seat for your baby does not have to be the most expensive. Instead, it is the one that is the right size for your child’s height and weight, is fairly easy to install correctly, and is used properly during each and every road trip.