There is only one way to bring your newborn baby home—using a car seat. However, there are a few features that you must consider when getting a car seat for your baby to make sure you get the best one. Well, choosing a car seat is very challenging. Apart from being one of the most essential purchases that you’ll ever make, it’s also one of the most costly. Thus, you must make the right choice to get the value for your money.
With that, let’s look at some of the top tips that will make your search easier, and make sure you go home with the right car seat. Read on for more information!
Check out your car before you go out shopping
The first thing to do is to read the car’s owner’s manual before if you want to buy a car seat. Typically, you can use either of these two attachment methods when installing a car seat in your car:
- Seat belt
- LATCH system, which means Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children—all new vehicles come with this system
Therefore, it’s important to decide which system you want to use before buying your car seat and then search for a seat depending on the installation system that you choose. If you opt for the LATCH system, ensure you know where the attachment points are in your car.
Moreover, it’s important to measure the back seat to get the available space—this will help you to avoid buying a car seat that cannot fit in the car. If you have a small car, opt for a car seat with a narrow base.
Go for a convertible car seat
Avoiding buying another car seat for your baby within the first two years will save you a lot of money. Today, there are two options for newborn car seats:
- Rear-facing infant car seats
- Convertible car seats—these start in the rear-facing position and then turn forward when your baby grows
Convertible car seats come with numerous benefits because they grow with your child, and they are very safe. The only challenge with convertible car seats is that they cannot be taken out of the car like rear-facing infant car seats.
Go for a new car seat
Reasonably, everyone wants to buy the safest car seat in the market. However, it’s important to understand that all the car seats in today’s market are tested and approved according to modern safety standards. Therefore, always check for the JPMA stamp on the car seat’s box—a car seat with such stamps means it’s been ratified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA).
But, since the safety technology keeps on changing so rapidly, the best thing to do is to get a new car seat—always avoid secondhand car seats.
Choose a seat that’s easy to clean
Car seats with a smooth fabric are easier to clean compared to seats with textured fabric, like corduroy. Well, this one focuses more on cleanliness than safety—please remember that cleanliness is as important as the safety of your baby.
Focus on the essential features
Whether you are purchasing a convertible car seat or an infant car seat, go for one with the following features:
- 5-point harness (two waist straps, two shoulder straps, and a single strap between the legs, which meets in the middle)
- Side impact protection (extra air pads or foam at the sides of your baby’s head)
- LATCH system (this is the best way to secure the base tightly without using seat belts
Premium car seats also come with extra features, like an anti-rebound bar at the bottom of the seat, which limits movement in case of a crash. Additional features that increase the price of a car seat include accessories like a larger canopy and cushion fabric.
Another important feature to consider is the straps. Always check to see whether the straps of the car seat are easily adjustable as your kid grows. The last thing you’d want is straps that require rethreading. Most car seats today come with adjustment handles behind the car seat or pull cords between the legs of the baby, and these make rethreading unnecessary.