Which Baby Car Seat Do I Use??

Choosing the correct baby car seat or child car seat for your child is undoubtedly one of the most important and thus daunting decisions you will need to make as a parent. If you opt for the incorrect option or one that does not suit your child’s and your families requirements you can actually end up causing more severe injuries to you and your child in the event of an accident than you would if you chose correctly. This fact makes the decision making process all the more stressful. We have broken down for you a few main things that you need to take into consideration when choosing your infant or child car seat.

How much do I need to spend on my infant car seat?

This is the question that most of you will be asking yourselves as soon as you find out you are expecting a new arrival. The honest answer is that you can spend as much or as little as you like on your new child car seat. There are options out there to buy for as little as $40-50 but you can also spend over a $1000 if you wish. The bottom line is that you do tend to get what you pay for, it is very rare that we review a child car seat that hits top marks on everything (looks, safety, durability, side impact protection, lifespan etc) BUT comes in the cheapest or best value. However, this does not mean that if you buy the most expensive car seat that you will definitely get the safest one for your baby. We advise that you start to plan and budget for buying the best possible car seat you can from the minute you find out you are pregnant, this way you will have a great choice of options when it comes to buying your infant car seat. We feel that you can get a really good and reliable car seat for between $200 and $300 depending on the age group that your child is in of course. For example, booster seats can obviously be a little cheaper than rear-facing infant car seats.

What size car seat should I be buying for my baby/child?

If you have already started your search for the perfect car seat you will know there are plenty to choose from. To keep it as simple as possible, remember there are 3 main groups or sizes of child car seat to choose from so first you need to make sure that you are looking for the right one.

Rear-facing infant car seats

If you have a newborn baby you will need to ensure that you are looking to buy a rear-facing infant car seat. The large majority of these car seats will come with a base unit to secure your seat into the car. If the one that you are looking to buy does not have a base unit please make sure the seat can be safely secured into your car using just the seatbelt. Securing the baby car seat into the vehicle is the most important part of car seat installation. Your baby will need to remain rear-facing from newborn up to around 30 pounds in weight or around 30-35 inches in height (this will of course vary from brand to brand so please double check these measurements). We also recommend that you leave your baby in the car seat up to the maximum weight and measurement requirements to get the most usage out of it and also to ensure you do not go up to the next size too quickly as this can also be dangerous.

baby car seat buyers guide

Forward-facing child car seats

If your child is aged between 18 months and 4 years you will be ready to upgrade to a forward-facing child car seat or possibly a convertible infant car seat. These car seats will most probably have a base use for you to connect/install your seat into your car. We recommend that you go for the rear-facing then upgrade to the forward-facing rather than going for a convertible car seat from the get-go. The reason for this is we feel the car seats specific to a particular age group are much safer than ones that try to “do it all” by accommodating many different age groups. Your infant rear-facing car seats will also have the function to remove the seat and use as a carrier whereas the convertible car seats will not have this function.

Child booster seats

Once your child reaches 4 years old or their head/eyes are level with the top of the forward facing car seat you will be ready to buy a child booster seat. This kind of seat will now last you all the way up to 12 years old (again this does vary a little from brand to brand but most will last this long). This means it will be the last child car seat that you buy. There are plenty of different types of child booster seat available but we recommend that you go for a high backed child booster seat. These options provide a great deal more support and protection to your child in the event of an accident whereas the backless child booster seats do not give this protection to the key areas of the head, neck and spine. High backed booster seats are much better value than rear-facing and forward facing car seats, you can buy a good quality one for around $100-$150 which is a small price to pay for your child’s safety.

Does it fit in your car?

Surprisingly, this is something that most of you will overlook when you are searching for the ideal car seat. It is easy to assume that ALL infant and child car seats comfortably fit into ALL cars/vehicles. This is simply not the case, especially if you and your partner happen to be taller than average and thus will need to have your seats relatively far back in order to sit comfortably in the car. We really recommend that you “try before you buy” if possible from your location. Most high street stores will allow you to try and fit the car seat(s) that you are thinking of buying into your car before you buy. If you have children already and thus have one or possibly two car seats in your vehicle already it is very important that you have these seats in your car when you go to try out your new one. It may be that you cannot fit your desired car seat in your car because your front seats are too far back, your existing car seats are too wide or your car is not compatible with the connections. Check, check and triple check as much as you can before you buy your child car seat online.

 


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