Choosing a Car Seat: What to Look for When Buying a Car Seat

Car seats are designed to keep your child safe in the event of an accident. According to the CDC, as many as 500 lives are saved per year as a result of car seat use, and experts believe that these car seats reduce the risk for injury or death by as much as 71%. Car seats for your infant or toddler are a valuable way to keep your child safe.

Yet simply using a car seat is not enough. You need to make sure you’re choosing the right car seat for your child. Below are five tips for selecting the right car seat for your baby.

5 Car Seat Tips

  • Look at Safety Ratings

Parents often trust their eyes when it comes to the safety of car seats. But your eyes can be misleading, as many of the “safest looking” car seats have received poor safety ratings according to nationally sponsored tests. How a child’s car seat will hold up in an accident may be different than how it responds to general wear and tear, with the former being far more important for the safety of your child.

  • Pay Attention to Expert Recommendations

Car seats are not “one size fits all” safety methods. Children are advised to be in rear facing car seats until they are at least 2 years old, followed by a five-point harness seat, and finally a booster seat until they are either 12 years old or 4’10, whichever comes first. You’ll need to change the type and style of car seat you use based on the age and size of your child.

  • Ease of Use is Important

In addition to safety ratings, it’s also important that you know how to put on your child’s car seat correctly. Some estimates put the number of families using car seats incorrectly as high as 70%, putting their child at greater risk for injury. Make sure that you choose a brand and style that you understand how to use properly.

  • Restraint Type

Although car seats come with many different types of restraints, experts strongly believe that the five point restraint system is safer and more secure than a three point system, so it’s advised that you go that route, especially when your child is an infant or toddler.

  • Consider Safe Features

Features are a nice aspect of car seats, but always make sure that the features you’re choosing on your car seats do not interfere with the safety of your child. External harness adjustments and push-on latches are all extra features that are safer and more convenient for your child, but avoid any feature rich car seats that have not undergone significant safety testing. Just because something is a safety feature does not mean it is necessarily safe.

Choosing the Right Car Seat

Car seats are an important part of keeping your child safe in the event of an accident. Yet that safety also depends on choosing the right car seat for your child. Follow expert recommendations, check safety ratings, learn how to use the devices, and always replace the car seats when your child has outgrown them to ensure that they will be well protected in the event of an accident.

car-seat-recommendations-flier
Source: Alaska Injury Prevention Center

The Best Car Seat Reviews has taken a look at several top rated convertible car seats – the Britax Marathon 70, the Britax Boulevard 70, the Britax Roundabout 55, the Safety 1st Alpha Omega 3-in-1, and the Evenflo Tribute 5, Kristy.  To see a selection of infant car seats visit here.

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