Valuable Tips in Choosing a Child Car Seat

June 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Newborn Care

All parents agree that keeping their newborn safe and protected is the number one goal. While there are many ways of accomplishing this, choosing the right child car seat is without doubt one of the more important decisions. There are many options on the market so to make the process less complicated we have provided some valuable tips.

For one thing, you need to look at the age and weight of the child. It is important to understand that any child one year or younger should always be securely placed in a car seat that is made for the age, size, and weight of the child. Additionally, anytime the car seat is used, it should always be in the back seat and facing toward the back, never the front.

If your child is between the ages of one and four, the average weight would be anywhere from 20 to 40 pounds so keep this in mind. Height would also be important: obviously a child at four would be taller than that of a child at age two in most instances. The older the child is the more options you will have for placement of the car seat. For instance, once a child is older, he or she may be able to have the car seat facing forward although still in the back seat.

Parents often worry about being inconvenienced in needing to buy different car seats. However, there are new models on the market, some that are specially designed to convert from a rear facing to forward facing seat. Of course, the child’s age, height, and weight would still be considered.

One thing we wanted to address is the ongoing confusion between a child’s seat and a child’s car seat. This might sound simple but for new parents, things like this can be confusing. Simply put, a child’s seat is a carrier in which the baby is placed and carried around whereas a car seat is an actual seat used whenever the baby is in the car.

Interestingly, manufacturers have come up with innovative designs that now allow a car seat to be strapped securely into a car seat. As you can imagine, this offers convenience for the parent while still keeping the child safe.

Just remember that any seat used in a car has to meet strict legal standards. The best option is what they call a five-point harness attachment. With this, you would be able to secure your child in five different places to include hips, shoulders, and legs. This type of car seat is comfortable but it also adds a higher level of protection.

You might also consider choosing a car seat with an overhead shield, which is a padded cover that can easily be rotated over the baby. Another type of system similar to this is the T-Shield, which is a padded design that attaches to the shoulder straps.

We strongly suggest you consider car seats with a tether on top. With this design, the tether attached from the top portion of the car seat to an anchor point. As a result, the child is secured even more. The best design has a LATCH system; otherwise known as the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children model. With this, no car seat belts are needed but the child is very secure. Although the tether system is not available in all cars, if your car was made any time after September 2002, then the tether system is in place.

Of course, having the right car seat is not only safer and comfortable for the child but also far more convenient for the parent.

Since every child is built differently, it is imperative that you work with a professional when choosing a car seat so you get the exact seat that will work best for your child.

When buying, look for a car seat that will keep your child safe and secure, but also one that gives you a little extra room for blankets. This way, when you make a trip across town, or to visit relatives your baby is more comfortable. You will even find that some of the newer car seat designs come with a ravel vest that simply buckles in around the child for the ultimate in comfort.

You want a car seat that is easy to insert the straps and make any necessary adjustments. It can be a challenge to go through the routine of securing a child in a car seat but never give in to shortcuts. The new car seat designs being sold are made so the child is perfectly safe but also so the child can be strapped in quickly, making it easier for the parent.