Car seats are so important for babies and children, but it can be a hard task to pick out the right car seat for your vehicle and child. Car seats are essential if you want to leave the hospital with your new little bundle of joy. If your baby is going to travel in a car, by law she must have an appropriate car seat.
All infants and toddlers should ride in a Rear-Facing Car Seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat's manufacturer. You can purchase a Rear-Facing Only, 3-in-1 seats, or Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seat. Baby car seats have evolved in recent years, with bolder designs and new features adding to their versatility. Make sure to read the owners manual with your car seat to find out if it will be safer to have the handle down on the car seat while your child is in the vehicle or if it is safe to have it in the upright position.
The priority with all car seats is safety, so check the seat will be secure in your car. Some manufacturers list compatible vehicles on their website. It’s also crucial that you know how to install the seat, so ask for a demonstration. It is estimated that 80% of car seats are used incorrectly. Have your car seat inspected to make sure it is installed and used correctly. Click here to make an appointment to have your car seat inspected.
Car seats may be installed with either the vehicle’s seat belt or the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system. Both are equally safe, but in some cases, it may be easier to install the car seat using LATCH. LATCH is an attachment system for car seats. Lower anchors can be used instead of the seat belt to install the seat and may be easier to use in some cars. The top tether improves the safety provided by the seat and is important to use for all forward-facing seats, even those installed using the vehicle seat belt. Read the vehicle owner’s manual and the car seat instructions for weight limits for lower anchors and top tethers.
Vehicles with the LATCH system have anchors located in the back seat, where the seat cushions meet. Tether anchors are located behind the seat, either on the panel behind the seat (in sedans) or on the back of the seat, ceiling, or floor (in most minivans, SUVs, and hatchbacks). Car seats have attachments that fasten to these anchors. Nearly all passenger vehicles and all car seats made on or after September 1, 2002, come with LATCH.
SEAT BASEMost car seats have a base that stays in the car. Parents ‘click’ the infant carrier onto this to secure it. A few car seats also have the option of a base, fitted using the adult seat belt.
Newborn seats have a three- or five-point harness; the latter can feel more secure.
Means you can use the infant carrier as a rocking seat for your baby out of the car.
RECLINE AND ‘LIE-FLAT’ CAPABILITY
Some seats have an adjustable back so you can alter the position your baby sits in.