There is nothing the kids love more than hopping into the car and going for hamburgers, except maybe heading for ice cream. You will find that you will spend a lot of time playing chauffeur for your kids which is why having a child seat that is built to be safe and comfortable will go a long way to making your life easier. In the US, all 50 states have some sort of law on the books that require children to use a safety seat while riding in a vehicle. But what should you look for in a car seat? Which aspects are the most vital to offer the maximum protection for my baby? We will break down some of the features found on today’s best car seats to help you better understand how they perform and to make sure that the seat you buy is something that will put your mind at ease.
Side Impact Protection
Riding in the backseat is a crucial step in using a car seat correctly, but this is the area of the car that is susceptible to side impacts. Which ever car seat that you purchase should pass the minimum standards for protection in this area. A seat which has wings that are padded with extra support will not only help sustain any forces from impact but it will also help protect your little one from flying debris such as glass. An infant seat, or convertible car seat in which your child seats deep will help guard them in the event of this type of collision.
Energy Absorbing Foam
This is another thing that most safety seats make use of. The material and padding can help absorb the forces of impact and reduce stress on your child in the event of a crash. Not only is this important for safety, but it can also help contribute to the overall comfort of your child. Extra padding can help take the edge off of various bumps of the road and make the ride a little more enjoyable.
This is the apparatus that secures your child safely into the seat. Some of the higher end models offer various points of adjustment to guarantee that your child will fit snug and proper while in use. A misaligned harness strap can be very dangerous so it is important to read the manual to ensure you are using it correctly. These harnesses are strong and they are what hold your child in place during a crash.
This is a system that uses tethers and anchors to secure the seat to the back seat of your vehicle. This is an alternative method to using the vehicle’s seat belt. This method was invented to help make things easier for parents as getting the car seat to stay tight and secure can be somewhat of a challenge. Again for the seat to function properly, everything must be snug. A lot of modern seats use this but not all. It is not really any safer than using the car’s seat belt, it is just for convenience.
This is something that is used on Britax model convertible car seats. It is a super simple way to secure that seat to the vehicle with the seat belt. The safety seat area lifts up giving you access to the base and lets you strap the seat belt across the back. When this is done, the seat is the lowered and it “Clicks tight” in place. Again this is a design feature aimed to take some of the hassle out of using the car seat.
All seats being sold today from reputable stores should pass all of the required safety standards and meet the laws of your state for minimum protection. There are added features that you can get depending on budget. Options like a steel frame, energy absorbing frame, energy absorbing base, height adjustment, seat recline, cup holders, colors and patterns are all things that can make picking a car seat difficult. There are a lot of quality choices out there and factors such as price, the weight of the seat (for moving back and forth between different automobiles), style, ease of use, how easy it is to clean, and how comfortable it is for your child, are all important aspects that ultimately make finding the perfect option for your family a tedious choice.
The best place to start would be reading reviews from parents who have actually used the car seat and have experience with it. Owner feedback, which most online retailers provide, will give a strong baseline and a sense of what is good or bad about a particular convertible, booster, or infant car seat. You can then narrow the field by cost or any other criteria that is on your list. Finding the best convertible car seat for your children is not something to take lightly, but it is something that is also easy to do. Going over the latest child safety seat reviews is a smart place to start your search.
Keep in mind that car seats have expiration dates, and they should only be bought new from a store that you can trust. Buying a used seat off of Craigslist may be a good way to save money, but you have no idea if what your getting has already been in an accident or if it even works properly. Price is always a concern, but buying a car seat should not be an area where you should try and skimp if you can avoid it.
With some minor homework it should be rather easy to find a seat that suits both your and your child’s needs and can offer enough protection and safety that you will drive with a little more peace of mind that they will be protected in the event of an accident.