Parents have been engulfed by a baffling trend in the manufacturing of car seats. Choosing a car seat for baby has become more complex with booster seats, convertible seats, combination seats and the like, being on offer in the market. To compound this, car seats laws in the US and England seem to change too frequently for parents to keep up. Most parents even wonder why their children need car seats. The fact is it is requirement by the car seats laws that, for instance in all 50 states of the US, all children below 18 months only ride in a car seat. In other nations, a car seat is required even for all children below the age of three years.
It should never rise as an issue that your child needs a car seat for his or her safety while traveling by car, since research studies have irrefutably established the high safety imposed by car seats for young children. In fact, your concerns ought to be choosing the best baby car seat for him or her. When you go shopping for the best baby car seat however, there is a chance that you will be overwhelmed by the range of choice available. There are however some key considerations that can make choosing the best baby car seat an easy task.
There are several types of car seats available based on their features. So at first, determine which car seat type serves your needs best. The first car seat type is called the rear-facing or infant-only car seat and is used for infants whose weights range between 5 and 20 pounds. These car seats include a handle so that you can take a seated infant on a drive, by snapping the car seat into a frame or a stroller. Most models feature a detachable base that can be left fixed in the car. This type of a car seat should be angled properly so as to protect the baby, at approximately 45 degrees, and that is why most seats have onboard angle indicators and adjusters.
Another car seat type is the convertibles. These can face both to the rear or fore side of the car and are meant for toddlers with a weight ranging in between 20 and 40 pounds. In Britain, convertible models can accommodate even 65 pounds.
The American Academy of Pediatrics directs that you ensure that your child faces the rear side until he or she has an year’s age and has also reached the highest bracket of weight or height indicated by a car seat’s manufacturer on the manual.
When choosing a car seat, prefer one that will enable you put the seat facing to the rear if your baby is under one year and then, after the baby is over one year of age, and has the maximal weight and height required by the manufacturer, the seat can be turned to face the front side. Again, before choosing a car seat, ensure that the shoulder straps that attach to the top most slots are as described by the manufacturer’s manual instructions. These shoulder straps should always be at exactly the same level or preferably above the child’s shoulders. Ensure that any additional detail and information concerning the placement of shoulder straps in that specific car safety seat has been considered.
Another type of car seat for baby is referred to as combination seats that besides being car seats, they can also be used as booster seats or with a harness. Combination seats hold one year-old children with a weight ranging in between 20 and 100 pounds. They are basically forward-facing car seats that can be changed from a 5 point harness posture to a belt level positioning booster seat. This type is closely followed by booster car seats which hold children with weights ranging in between 30 and 100 pounds. When choosing a car seat for baby, settle for the booster seats only if your child has outgrown a full harness by reaching the highest weight or height indicated by a car seat’s manufacturer.
Finally, the car seat type you must consider while choosing a car seat ideal for your child, is the built-in seat, also called an integrated seat. Volvos and Chrysler minivans include a built-in booster or child seat as part of the seating arrangement within the car. This makes life a lot easier, although you must also countercheck the manufacturer weight, height and age limitations.
Other considerations when choosing the best baby car seat include:
1. When choosing an infant-only car seat, check for the angle adjusters and the head support mechanism.
2. The best baby car seat should incorporate travel systems, that is, it is bundled together with strollers when the car seat is removed from the car.
3. Given the confines of space in the car, a perfect car seat should have minimal bulk and weight.