Some Helpful Hints For Choosing Infant Car Seats
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What should I look for when I’m choosing an infant car seat?
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.
- Kid's car seats come in three versions – infant car seats, convertible car seats, and booster seats. Knowing the difference in each will help you decide what to buy. Denise and Alan Fields of the Baby Bargains book series recommend you start with the rear-facing infant car seats, which detach from its base and come with a handle. They're better designed to accommodate a young infant or newborn's frame. And you'll be able to detach it from its base so when you have a sleeping infant, you won' have take your baby out – a process that could very well wake her up. Many infant car seats accommodate up to 22 pounds in weight and 26 inches in height.
- Convertible infant car seats work best for older infants and toddlers. As a rule of thumb, keep them rear facing until your infant is at least 20 pounds and over one year old.
- Don't assume that the more expensive car seats are necessarily better. What you tend to get with higher priced infant car seats are shock absorbent foam, upgraded fabrics, and user-friendlier seat adjustability. However, all car seats must meet minimum safety standards as mandated by the federal government. If you're concerned about safety, EPS foam, no-twist straps, a five-point harness, and the use of a tether in a car seat does make riding in the car safer for your infant.
- Check the safety crash test ratings of an infant car seat. One place to check is the Consumer Reports Web site. They perform crash test ratings on infant car seats, which undergo a 35 mph frontal and 38 mph side impact test – more stringent than what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tests at.
- Check the weight and height requirements of the seat. Some have weight limits right at 22 pounds while others max out at 20 pounds. Many infant car seats accommodate babies up to 26”, but some accommodate babies up to 30” in height.
- Find out what the weight of the actual seat is. When you're carrying around an infant car seat that weighs over ten pounds with a ten-pound baby in it, you might just wish you picked a lighter car seat.