Read these 12 Baby Car Seats Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Baby Travel tips and hundreds of other topics.
If you've been reading our section on car seats, you know how important it is to have your infant in a car seat anytime your car is in motion. But beyond that, it's not only a safety issue – it's a legal issue. If you're traveling anywhere in the United States, you are required by law to have children up to three years of age ride in a child safety seat. Even more stringent are requirements in states like California and Oregon, which require children under six years in age or 60 pounds in weight to ride in appropriate child safety seats. Some states like New Jersey and North Carolina require car seats for a child who is under eight years old and under 80 pounds. Fines can vary state to state from $10 to $200.
However, we think the repercussions of safety issues are much bigger than the fine you'll have to pay. If you're not sure what the requirements are for the state you live in or are traveling to, check with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (www.iihs.org) for comprehensive information.
If you've ever tried lugging your baby car seat from your living room
out the door to your car, you're aware of just how bulky and cumbersome
it is. Although it's an essential part of safety for travel on the road
or plane, it's a heck of a pain to transport – unless you use one of
these nifty ideas for convertible infant car seats.
your baby car seat into a stroller. It's possible with the use of an
attachment such as the GoGo Kidz Travelmate. It's a lightweight, flat
apparatus with a telescopic handle and razor wheels. You just screw the
GoGo Kidz Travelmate to the back of your car seat, pull the handle, and
go. It retails for about $90. Parents we know think the price is a bit
steep, but well worth the ease of use and convenience.
Use a car
set bag with wheels. We've heard good things about the Wheelie Car Seat
Carrier by JL Childress. Put your car seat in, zip up the shaped bag,
and attach it to your luggage or pull by the D-ring handle. Though your
child can't sit in this one, it's protects your car seat from dings
when you're loading it in and out of the car, plane, or train.
Riding unrestrained in a car is the biggest cause of death and injury among children. Want to hear a sobering statistic? In 2004, 50 percent of the deaths in kids younger than 14 were caused by accidents where kids were not using safety restraints while in their vehicles. Follow these tips on toddler car seats to protect your child from harm in an automobile.
There are some instances when lugging around your infant car seat
is just not as convenient or practical. However, you can get around
without taking your own car seat with you everywhere.
When you rent a car, you can also rent a car seat for your infant or toddler. Rates vary, but they usually range from five to ten dollars per day on top of your normal car rental fee. Be prepared to tell them the age and weight of your infant so they can select the appropriate model. Since you won't have your usual infant car seat, there are a few things you can do to check on the safety of the car seats.
Helpful Hint: You have another option besides renting car seats from rental car agencies if you're not satisfied with what they have to offer. A number of companies offer car seat rentals, among other baby items. Baby's Away is one major rental equipment service provider with locations
throughout the United States that rents car seats and other baby items.
Figuring out what to look for when shopping for infant car seats could put you in a sea of confusion. There are so many styles, models and features to choose from. To make your shopping process a little easier, check our handy guide to help you pick the right one.
Evenflo manufacturers a large range of products from car seats to toys. The Evenflo infant seat line includes the Embrace and Discovery models. Evenflo convertible car seats include the Triumph, Titan, and Tribute. Here's the scoop on their current models.
Evenflo Embrace – A more recent offering in Evenflo's infant carseats, this model features a “z” shaped handle intended to make toting around a sleeping little one much easier. The Evenflo Embrace replaces the older PortAbout model. Other features include a three-position adjustable base along with a one-button push release system, allowing you to release the handle one-handed.
Evenflo Discovery – The Evenflo Discovery seat is a basic no-frills model infant car seat. Although it's affordable at about $50, buyers should exercise an air of caution. In a recent article published by the Associated Press for 2007, the Evenflo Discovery scored the lowest on Consumer Reports crash test ratings.
Evenflo Triumph – The Evenflo Triumph remains a good value for the design. This car seat features EPS foam padding and up to five reclining positions. Choose from the Premier version with padded harness, padded pillows, and upgraded materials, the deluxe version, or the basic version.
Evenflo Titan – The Evenflo Titan comes in a standard and deluxe version. You'll find the basic difference in upgraded EPS foam, padding, and materials in the deluxe version. You'll pay almost a hundred bucks for the upgrades in the deluxe version versus a more affordable $60 for the standard car seat.
Evenflo Tribute - Choose from the Tribute or the Tribute Deluxe car seats. The Tribute works as an overhead harness system and has a two position recline. Get the deluxe version if you want upgraded fabric and the head pillow.
Does this scenario sound familiar? You have to get to and from the airport in a taxi, but you don't want to tote 20 pounds of car seat with you. According to the American Automobile Club of California, transportation vehicles like taxi cabs and shuttles don't have the same requirements that passenger vehicles have for child safety seats. State laws regarding putting a car seat in a taxi do vary. For instance, in Massachusetts, it's the parent's responsibility to provide a car seat, although drivers can be fined. However, requirements are one thing and safety is another. You do have some alternatives.
Baby car seats are an important safety item for trips in the car as well as on the plane. We're assuming most of you already have an infant car seat or convertible car seat for your baby, but in case you're prepping for travel and wondering what's appropriate for your child, read on.
If you have a toddler, s/he most likely should be in a convertible car seat. The best time to turn toddler car seats forward is when your little one is at least a year old and more than 20 pounds.
Use the LATCH system or the seat belt to restrain toddler car seats in your vehicle. A car seat should move no more than an inch in either direction.
If your car seat has a tether and your car seat can accommodate it, it's a good idea to use it. A tether will limit the forward motion of a car seat in the event of a crash.
When your toddler's shoulders are above the top slots of the car seat, she's outgrown it. Most children outgrow toddler car seats around four or five years of age.
This European manufacturer touts safety and style as two of their main strong selling points. Britax products include infant car seats, convertible car seats, boosters, and strollers. Parents and industry experts have lauded the Britax convertible car seats in particular for solid crash test reviews, versatility, and the features of the seat.
In particular, the Britax Roundabout is the 2006 winner of Consumer Reports Best Convertible Car Seat. The Roundabout model is noted on Consumer Reports as one of the safest seats on the market. In addition, their 20-pound rear facing weight limit and 40-pound front facing weight limit make it a model moms and dads can use for a long time.
Think your child is ready for a booster car seat? Booster car seats placed in the backseat of cars are the safest environments for your child -The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends the rear seating arrangement for all kids 12 and under. If you're wondering when to move your child from a forward facing car seat to a booster, take these guidelines into consideration:
If you want to get the low-down on which car seats are better to install or how to make travel with car seats safer for your baby, try one of these Websites.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (www.nhtsa.dot.gov) – Go here to find the latest guidelines and news about car seat safety. Concerned about product recalls? You can find that info here too.
Safe Kids Worldwide (www.safekids.org) - Their site contains some great safety information on the basic requirements for infant car seats. If you need some statistics to help you appreciate the value of a good car seat, you can find it on their site as well.
American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org) - They are an excellent resource for what's safe and what's not for infants, toddlers, and children in child safety restraint systems. Their comprehensive car seat guides should tell you just about everything you want to know about keeping your child safe in a motor vehicle. You can also find a guide to many of the products available on the market.
CarSeatData.org (www.carseatdata.org) - If you want to find a car seat safety technician near you or just want to know if a car seat is compatible with your car, they have a large database from which you can do your research.