When it comes to purchasing an infant car seat, you want to be sure of your choice. Not only are you trusting it with the safety of your little one, car seats can be moderately expensive. Paying for an expensive infant car seat is obviously worthwhile if it saves a life, but is the most expensive always the best choice?
Here are some tips to help you decide which infant car seat is right for you.
Look at Your Car Before Looking at Seats
Your first step should be to take a look at your car.
Will you install the seat using the seat belts or the LATCH system? If using the latter, make sure you know where the attachments are located. The safest spot for your child is the middle, rear-facing position, but your car may not have attachments in the middle. This might change your method of installation.
Measure your back seat to get an idea of how much space you have. If you have a small car, it may not accommodate a car seat with a large base. If you have multiple children in car seats, measure to be sure that they all fit securely. Have the measurements in mind when shopping and bring your tape measure to measure the seat bases in the store.
Convertible Car Seats Will Grow with Your Child
If your budget is tight (and even if it’s not), you would probably prefer to only buy a single infant car seat. Investing in a convertible seat means your child can start with the seat rear-facing seat when they are little, and then turn it to face front as they grow. This one seat can serve your child from birth through toddlerhood, saving you money.
When Trying to Save Money, Consider a Car Seat Stroller
There is one disadvantage to a convertible car seat. It cannot be taken in and out of your car like an infant seat can.
You may decide that you are willing to change your car sear after a year if it means that during that year you can easily move your sleeping baby in an infant car seat. If that is the case, but you are still trying to save where possible, consider looking at a travel system—an baby car seat and stroller combo sold together at a reduced price.
Determine Which Features Matter Most
No matter what sort of car seat you choose, look for a model that works with the LATCH system, has a 5-point harness, and side impact protection. If you are purchasing a premium car seat, look for extra features, such as an anti-rebound bar.
You may also want to examine the straps. Several brands now feature adjustment handles in the back of the seat or a pull cord between your child’s legs, meaning that you will not need to re-thread the straps as your child grows.
Look for Easy-Cleaning Fabrics
This doesn’t impact your child’s safety, but it’s something that you will appreciate. Smooth fabrics are much easier to clean than textured ones. Don’t underestimate the messes that your child can make or how much you will be grateful for an easy clean up.
Check the Instruction Manual
Ideally, your instructions should include ample diagrams to help you determine if you are installing the seat correctly. The process of installation is something companies try to simplify but having clear diagrams in addition to text helps to clarify the steps of installation.
Even once installed, your best bet is to have it checked by a professional. You may seek out a Child Passenger Safety technician to inspect the installation. They can often be found at police stations, fire stations, or hospitals. If you are having trouble locating one, you may try searching online here.
Choosing the right car seat is important for your child’s safety and your peace of mind. Come talk with our experts at Active Baby and we’ll make sure you find the right seat for your needs!
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