Choosing The Right Infant Car Seat: The Ultimate Guide
You want to protect your infant as much as possible, especially when they’re in the car. Here’s how to choose the right infant car seat for your child.
Are you currently expecting a bundle of joy? Do you know someone who is?
It’s an incredibly happy, exciting, and probably hectic time as a mother’s due date draws nearer and nearer. As potential baby names float around, other ideas probably come to mind, too. Like safety.
It’s natural to want to protect your baby from the harsh realities of the world. As soon as they’re born, we want to bubble wrap them and never let go! While that’s a bit unrealistic, there are steps you can in making sure your baby is safe and happy in this crazy world.
One of the steps you can take, though, includes making sure you have the right car seat. We use our cars so much, they are pretty much family.
Though our cars offer protection and transportation, you want to make sure you have the right infant car seat as soon as your baby arrives in the world. After all, they have to get home somehow!
But, with so many car seat choices out there, how can we possibly choose the best one?
Why Choose An Infant Car Seat
It may seem like the most convenient option would be to purchase a convertible car seat to meet every growing stage of your baby.
While this may be convenient when your baby hits their toddler stage, during your baby’s infancy, you’ll want to take advantage of the benefits of an right infant car seat . For example, using an right infant car seat means you’re less likely to disturb your little one.
Rather than having to poke and prod while unfastening and upsetting your baby, you can unlock the whole seat and take it with you.
This can be quite handy as you may be able to attach your right infant car seat to a stroller.
Plus, you’re going to be carrying your baby around in a baby seat wherever you go anyway – you can’t hold your baby forever!
What To Look For In The Right Infant Car Seat
When it comes to the right infant car seat for your child, there are 3 things you need to keep in mind:
- Your baby’s weight
- Whether the infant car seatmeets safety standards
- Whether the seat is rear-facing
- Your baby’s height
It is crucial that the right infant car seat is rear facing. The recommendation is to use a rear-facing car seat until your baby is at least:
- outgrows the manufacturer’s recommended height and weight.
You’re going to be using a rear-facing car seat for awhile, so keep this in mind.
A great to know if your baby has outgrown their right infant car seat would be if the baby’s head is within 1-inch of the top of the car seat.
But aside from height, make sure your baby is in the 22 – 35 pound or more range before making the switch to a new car seat. You do not want to switch car seat styles too soon as this could be dangerous!
It’s common knowledge that an infant’s neck is not yet strong enough to hold their head properly.
Consider looking for an right infant car seat that has a removable head cushion to support your baby’s head and neck until they’re able to hold their head up on their own.
Also, consider an right infant car seat that comes with a sunshade. This will make your baby’s journey more comfortable by shielding them from any light that may disturb them.
Keep an eye out for seats that have padding in places such as the shoulder and chest. Not only will this be more comfortable for your little one, it will also prevent the straps from digging and cutting into your baby’s skin.
Make sure you can clearly read the safety label on your baby’s infant car seat. Make sure it is up to current regulation codes. An infant car seat from 2000 is not going to be as effective or safe as a model made this year.
Type of Harness
There are two types of harnesses available. There is a less common three-point harness and a more common five-point harness.
The five-point style of harness is more commonplace for a reason.
A five-point harness is the most secure option when it comes to making sure your baby has the highest protection. This style of harness secures your baby with two straps over your baby’s shoulders and two straps at your baby’s hips. These four straps will connect to a buckle in between your baby’s legs.
You want to make sure that the shoulder straps are at or below your baby’s shoulders. This way, you know your baby is properly secure.
You’ll want to make sure your car seat fits in your car or any other car you plan to use, correctly.
There are many car seats out there which means everyone is different. Some may be too big for your car and work best in a larger vehicle. Some may be just the right size for a smaller car. Know whether or not your right infant car seat will fit perfectly in your car to maximize safety.
Car Seat Belt Path
If you’re planning on using your car seat belt as part of installing your baby’s car seat, it needs to be easily accessible and secure. That means your little one’s car seat is snugly in place and isn’t rocking about.
Car Seat Rating
When making an important purchase, we tend to conduct thorough research on the product. Your car seat should be no different. Check the ratings of the car seat. Better ratings typically mean easier use, installation, and overall satisfaction on baby’s safety.
New or Used?
New is always the best choice when it comes to getting the most out of your right infant car seat and safety.
However, if you are considering a used car seat, please make sure that:
- None of the parts are loose or torn
- The car seat is well used
- Has not been involved in any sort of accident
- It is still safe to use according to the manufacturer
Essentially, if you’re looking to use a used car seat, make sure it’s in “like new” condition otherwise doesn’t bother. It would be best to buy a brand new one. Even if it means upsetting a loved one trying to help by putting their old baby things to good use.
Your little one’s safety is utmost importance and you don’t want to take any sort of risk.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
As your baby’s safety is number one priority, there are several things you’ll want to keep in mind when dealing with transporting them:
- A car seat is to remain in the back seat of your car – especially rear-facing car seats.
- Know how much room is in your back seat.
- Do not dress your baby in bulky outerwear – this can decrease the security of the harness
- Make sure your baby is securely fastened. The seat may look locked and secure but double check – it may not be.
- Double check that your seat installation is secure. Again, it may look it but it may not be.
- Likewise, do not put a blanket behind or under your baby and then fasten them in – this will also decrease your baby’s safety.
- Register your baby’s car seat – this means that you’ll know if there has been a recall or if other safety issues have been discovered.
- Some car seats come with a base that will remain in the car, making fastening and unfastening much easier and quicker.
- Some right infant car seat s may come without a handle, limiting ease of using the seat. A handle can make a huge difference!
- Make sure to not keep your little one in a bucket-style carrier for too long.
- You don’t need the most expensive car seat on the market – all new, modern seats are safe. Check out these affordable car seats for ideas!
- Likewise, you don’t need all the bells and whistles that may come with the car seat, either. Not all the extras are worth shelling out for.
- Make sure the car seat you choose is easy to clean.
- Read over your car manual to see what method you’ll be using to install your car seat and determine the best spot for it.
Choosing The Right Infant Car Seat: Final Thoughts
Phew! That’s quite a list to go through. But your baby will thank you for it, especially if your little one ends up loving car rides.
In the end, all your baby needs is comfort and safety. Your baby needs to be firmly and comfortably locked in place to make any car journey safe. The same will hold true for any car seat until your little one is old enough to ride without one – booster seat included.
With all of this in mind, we wish you happy shopping! Feel free to share which car seat you’re going to go for and what you love about it!
Are you interested in finding more options? Check out these other buying guides we have created:
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