Car seats provide important protection for your children as they grow and develop. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children ride in a seat designed for their size until they reach the height and weight limits set by the manufacturer of their seat, usually around age 2.
There are many different kinds of seats, ranging from infant-only rear-facing seats to convertible seats and booster seats. All of them provide the same essential safety benefits, but some models may have specific features that make them better suited for certain types of vehicles or family lifestyles.
A great car seat should be easy to install and use. Having a trained expert help you do it is one way to make sure you get it right. And if you don’t know how to do it yourself, there are inspection stations that will take your seat and double-check it for you.
It’s also a good idea to read the car seat label and owner’s manual before buying a new seat. These guides will tell you all the important details about the car seat’s safety and features.
You should only buy a seat from a reputable manufacturer and make sure it has the recommended height and weight limits for your child. This can be found on the label and on the inside of the car seat’s shell, or you can call the manufacturer for more information.
Most seats come with a label or manual that lists the height and weight limits for your child’s age and size. If you’re unsure, contact the manufacturer or your local car seat inspection station and ask about the proper height and weight for your child.
The car seat should fit your child properly, with the harness straps lying flat on her shoulders without twisting or sagging. To test, pinch the straps at the collarbone vertically; if they can be pulled too loosely, you’re probably not using it correctly.
Rear-facing car seats protect babies up to 40 pounds and children up to 65 pounds, depending on the model. They’re the safest option for most newborns and infants, as they reduce the risk of injury in a crash.
Forward-facing car seats offer more protection for older kids. These seats are typically designed for children who weigh 20 to 80 pounds, though some of them can accommodate heavier weights, as well.
Some parents choose to start their child in a rear-facing seat from birth, and then switch them to a forward-facing car seat when they’ve reached the seat’s maximum height and weight limit. This can be a time-consuming and expensive process, but it’s important for your child’s safety.
All in one seats are a great option for families who want to save money and effort by having only one car seat that they’ll be using from birth until their child outgrows it. They’re also popular with parents who don’t want to carry their baby or toddler in a separate carrier or backpack while traveling.