You've probably heard the cliché "safety first" at one point or another. But should safety always be first?
Thankfully, the answer to this heavy question is quite simple when it comes to car seats. The reality is that putting safety first when it comes to car seats can make the difference between saving your child’s life or not.
When it comes to the safety of your child, it's worth it to spend more on a quality car seat.
But it’s not quite as simple as simply buying a car seat. There are several factors to consider when buying a car seat and this guide should (hopefully) make your job as a parent easier by outlining four things to look for when buying a car seat.
1. Safety First
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of car seat hunting, let's nail down the basics of what every car seat should have. Not only will this make your search easier, but it will also give you peace of mind in knowing that your kiddo is safe.
• 5-point harness - this is a staple that most car seats already come with. However, make sure to double check if the car seat you want to buy has one of these. A true 5-point harness should come with two shoulder straps, two waist straps, and a strap between the legs.
• Impact-resistant headrest - foam cushions or air pads should protect your child from whiplash and side-impact injuries.
• Brand new - avoid buying a used car seat at all costs. Unseen cracks and such can seriously lower your child's chances of surviving an accident.
Extra features that are nice to have but are not necessary include:
• Cushy fabric
• Smooth fabric (for cleanliness)
• Anti-rebound bar (to limit movement during a crash)
• Large canopy
These options can be a lot to take in but worry not. If you stick to the three basics of car-seats, you should find the other features easy to decide on.
2. Which type?
A variety of different types of car seats are available on the market. Here's a brief look at which ones are available so you can know exactly what you need (and want).
• Rear-facing - these are often cheaper but need to be replaced within the first two years of use as the child grows out of it.
• Convertible - adjust from rear-facing to forward-facing as the child grows. These can be more expensive but are often a worthy investment. Here is a resourceful guide if you're looking to invest in one of these.
• Booster - a different style that accommodates growing children in a safe way.
• Car seat stroller - this futuristic design makes it cheaper and easier to take your sleeping child in and out of the car.
These options are heavily dependent on your needs. Do a quick assessment of what your kid needs and you should arrive at your decision in no time.
It's all fine and dandy to have the car seat of dreams but what will it matter if it doesn't fit in your car?
A sure way to make sure a car seat is compatible with your car is to grab a tape measure and head out to your local store. But don't forget to measure your car's back seat dimensions before doing so.
When looking at compatibility, make sure to see if your desired car seat is LATCH compatible. Most new cars and car seats are compatible with this modern securing system. LATCH car seats are particularly nice because no seat belts are needed to fasten them. Best of all, LATCH is approved by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) so you sleep soundly knowing your child is well protected.
Seats can range anywhere from $20 (the used ones you don't want to buy) to upwards of $200.
Knowing what your options are within your budget is important in order to get the best bang for your buck while keeping your kid as safe as possible. Make sure to do some thorough searching before making your pick.
There's a Car Seat for Everyone
What are you waiting for?
Head over to your local store or visit a trusted online store like Amazon to take a look at your options.
Picking a new car seat doesn't have to be burdensome, and hopefully, this guide has taken some load off your shoulders in your search for a car seat.
For more lifestyle tips and DIY guides, make sure to check out our blog. Now that we've discussed how to safely get your kid(s) around, remember to do yourself a favor and look at how you can enjoy your time off by checking out our traveling tips.