When you are shopping for your baby's first car seat, there is always a lot of pressure. They are precious cargo and you want to offer them the best protection that fits in your budget. With the millions of options available on the market, how do you know which baby seat will be right for your little one? Take the following list of questions with you the next time you go shopping and you may just find the ideal seat for your little one.
Does it Fit Your Baby?
There are several different categories that car seats are divided into. The most important categories to recognize include infant, convertible, all-in-one and booster seats. If your baby is a newborn, you have several options of rear-facing car seats. The first, which most parents opt for, is an infant seat. This seat is designed specifically for use with infants only and is always used rear-facing in the car. This type of seat is lightweight and has a carrying handle so you'll find you can transport your baby from one place to another without disturbing their sleep.
Another choice of car seat for an infant is a convertible seat, which is used in the rear-facing position for infants, then converts to the forward-facing position for toddlers. Although convertible seats lack most of the convenience features common to infant seats, they're an economical way to provide protection, as one seat can generally accommodate your child up to 65 pounds.
Also, available are all-in-one car seats that offer protection for newborns up to 100 lbs. By converting from rear-facing restraint to a forward facing restraint using the internal five-point harness and then transitioning to a belt-positioning booster for children 40 pounds and up.
Read the specifications on seats you're interested in to see which is best to accommodate your little one.
Does it Fit Your Vehicle?
Not every car seat will fit every vehicle, particularly if you have several that you need to fit into your vehicle. To make purchasing a car seat easier, many stores will allow parents to check that the seat fits in their vehicle prior to purchase. It is important when you are checking the fit of the car seat in your vehicle that you take into consideration the needs of all the passengers.
Is it Easy to Use?
The best seat is one that fits your child, fits your vehicle and that you will use correctly every time. When browsing the product specifications on a car seat you're interested in, make sure you look for features that make installation easier for you. New advances in technology have made installation easier through the use of Lower Anchors and Tethers (LATCH), multiple adjustment harnesses, upfront recline and angle indicators.
While installation can seem complicated, if you choose one from a company that offers installation videos, the process doesn't have to be intimidating.
Your local fire department will even inspect your newly installed seat to ensure it will offer your child the protection it was designed to offer.
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