Statistics have shown that 3 out of 4 baby car seats are improperly installed in cars, which accounts to 75% safety seats potentially causing injuries or failing to protect your child. With all the belts, latches, anklets and buckles while keeping track of weight, height and age, shopping for a baby car seat quickly become overwhelming.
Well, it shouldn’t be. Let’s break down this seemingly complex yet absolutely essential kid gear, according to kids size (age, height and weight), to flush out the complexity.
Birth to 2:
This category is for infant seats, which are required to be rear-facing to safeguard your baby in case of impact/ accident. Maximum weight limit for this category is 20 to 35 lbs, depending on the maker. However, height is an equally important determining factor, so upgrade to a convertible seat, when you feel your child is outgrowing the seat and belts don’t fit comfortably or snugly.
Shopping for a baby car seat is tricky in this category because you might be purchasing one for the first time and the options available to them. But we are here to help you know the differences. A baseless car seat for infants is fixed, strapped into car seats, so you’ll be unbuckling the baby or the whole seat every single time. Seats with base offer convenience, as the base is strapped into seat and frame acts as a child carrier. You have to strap the little one in the carrier and fix it in base. The child can be taken out by simply unlocking the carrier from the base. Seats with base are relatively expensive, and choosing one depends solely on you. On the safety front, both are equally effective.
From 2 to 4 years:
Ideally, this age line is for convertible seats that can be used as rear-facing ones and later as forward- facing and possibly as boosters. You can go with non-convertible ones too, but they will only put an extra strain on your budget. For kids 2 to 4 years old, the best option is forward-facing baby car seat where the weight limit is usually around 40 lbs.
Ages 4 to 8 years:
Kids under this age need booster seats. These are always used on rear seats as per law and safety guidelines, up until the age of 12 years, though the age limit varies in other countries. Kids exceeding the weight of 80 lbs, with height less than 4 feet and 9 inches are supposed to use booster seats. Always go for ones that allow proper positioning of belts; shoulder strap should not be on neck and lap strap should be on lap, not on belly of your kid. Same positioning principal applies to convertible and infant safety seats.
Evaluating Baby Car Seats:
Now let’s talk about finding the safest baby car seats. It is important to mention that you should choose the safest option available, not the cheapest or smallest. Small seats are not the most convenient ones, and since this is a relatively long term investment, as you’ll be using each seat for a minimum of 2 years, so don’t compromise on your kid’s safety by saving pennies. The safest, five-star rated safety seats can be accessed at nhtsa.org.
Featured Image by Flickr