Out of all of the things you’ll purchase for the child, a car seat is one of the most important investments you will ever make. With all the choices and changing recommendations, it’s hard to know which seat to select for every phase of your child’s life. Our Toddler Car Seat Buying Guide will take some of the guesswork out of it, so you’ll save money and time in finding the ideal car seat.
From the moment your newborn leaves the hospital to the moment they’re ready for an adult seat belt, then they will require a child safety restraint. Yet, there are many various factors to look out when shopping for car seats.
Safety ratings are important, obviously, but so are your child’s age and size, your finances, your vehicle type, your lifestyle, and much more.
Why is it so important to find the perfect car seat & How This Toddler Car Seat Buying Guide Will Help You?
The local city and state regulations will even decide what car seat you’ll have and the way you use it. As your child grows, their car seat needs will probably change as well, which means you can have to buy extra seats based on what kind you purchase.
Know the basic guidelines.
Car seat recommendations have changed a good deal over the years, thanks to research by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other agencies. Car seat principles from childhood are probably out-of-date now.
Here are the general recommendations from the AAP as of 2019:
- Babies must be kept rear-facing until at least two years old.
- Utilize a forward-facing harness for as long as you can after that.
- Children should be in a booster seat until they are 8 — 12 years old, 57 inches tall, and until the vehicle, belt matches them since it would an adult.
- Replace any seat that’s damaged or involved in a wreck instantly.
- kids must ride on the backseat until they’re 13 years old.
- Gently used seats that have not been included in a crash could be reused, but always check the expiry date (usually 7-10 years from production date) both on the tag and in the manual.
- Never utilize a recalled seat. Check the Child Seat Recall listing to remain up-to-date on product recalls.
Once you decide your local regulations, your child’s size, your car’s size, your budget and lifestyle, you’re ready to locate a car seat that is right for you.
Some car seats will develop with your child for a long moment. Others need to be updated as your child grows.
Here are the basic types of seats. We have detailed reviews for several versions of each type here on Best Car Seat Hub.
1) Infant (rear-facing only) Car Seats
Infant seats are made to only be rear-facing. Weight ranges run from approximately 4 — 40 pounds, depending on the model. Often children will get to the Max height prior to the max weight reduction.
If the peak of your child’s head is less than one inch from the top of the car seat’s shell, it’s time for an upgrade.
Infant seats are suitable because they have a separate base and can detach for use for a baby carrier.
This is very good for getting to sleep infants in and out of their car without disturbing them. However, since they can simply be used in a rear-facing manner, your child will grow out of them quickly.
Cost range: < $100 to $500 +
2) Convertible Car Seats
These seats can be used rear-facing for babies and then converted to forward-facing as your child grows. You can either begin with or switch to a convertible car seat, based on taste.
If you would like to maintain your child rear-facing for as long as you can, these seats have higher rear-facing weight limits (up to 50 pounds).
Convertible seats have forward-facing with weight limitations of up to 65 pounds or even more. Though they are designed to hold newborns from 4 — 5 pounds, they are often still too large for a very small infant.
Many specialists recommend beginning with a rear-facing only infant seat for this reason. While those seats allow longer usage, they can help you save money. However, they cannot be utilized as a detachable carrier such as an infant seat can.
3) Booster Seats
When your child surpasses the size limitations of a front-facing harness seat, she’s ready for a booster seat. Booster seats lift your child so that she may use the car’s seat belt system without a harness.
A booster seat ensures that the automobile belt matches because it would on an adult to keep your child safe — within the sternum, throughout the middle of the collarbone, and then across the upper thighs. It is possible to get either a high back seat or even a backless version. Some can function as both.
Backless boosters are popular because they’re cheaper, lighter and more mobile. But, they don’t place the car belt in addition to a high back version. High back models also provide more side impact protection and give a place for your child to rest her mind.
Some countries have legislation requiring youngsters around nine years of age and 80 pounds to ride in a booster seat. Always check the local laws before you decide to ditch the booster seat.
Price range: < $20 to $300 +
4) Toddler Booster Seats
Toddler boosters are somewhat different than a conventional booster. They may be used from the time your child is prepared for a forward-facing seat (with a harness) until they could use a booster seat (without a harness).
They fit children anywhere from 20 — 90 pounds in harness style and 30 — 120 pounds in booster-style. All these are good options if you’re upgrading from an infant car seat.
Price range: < $60 – $250 +
5) All-in-One Car Seats
These are similar to convertible seats and are true money-savers that can be used from birth through booster seat age. Rear-facing, they can hold infants everywhere from 4 — 50 pounds rear-facing, 20 — 65 pounds forward-facing and 30 — 120 pounds as a booster seat.
While their multi-tasking functions can save yourself money and time, sometimes they do not perform in each mode as well as one-task seats.
They can also be bulky and heavy, difficult to fit into smaller vehicles also don’t function as a carrier. But they can be a fantastic option for grandparents or people who will not transfer your child all that often.
Price range: ~$100 — $300 +
Know these 5 things before you buy a car seat for toddler.
1.Know whether your vehicle is compatible. LATCH was designed to install a car seat properly in the easiest way without using the vehicle belts.
When you’ve got a vehicle built after 2002, you should have two lower LATCH anchors and one top tether.
You should also know the dimensions of your car interior. many car seats won’t fit properly in some vehicle models.
To ascertain what seats are harmonious, locate the car seat dimensions and compare them for your inside dimensions. Read customer reviews to find out what other parents recommend and call the manufacturer to ask if your specific vehicle model will operate with their car seats.
2.Know your financial plan. Car seats can cost anywhere from less than $100 to well over $500, so it’s a considerable investment for a number of families.
Know what you can invest and look for seats within that budget. The fantastic thing is that the cost does not determine the safety of a car seat.
Look for alternatives that will help save you money, such as a convertible or all-in-one seat which will grow along with your child from birth through booster era.
Travel systems are just another way to save so that you won’t have to obtain a separate stroller.
3.Know your lifestyle. Not every car seat fits with each lifestyle. If you travel or commute a lot and need to regularly change your car seat from one vehicle to another, you want one that’s lightweight and fast to set up.
If walk or jog often, you are going to need a car seat that fits nicely on a stroller.
Planning on more children? Find a car seat that has a long lifespan so it is possible to pass it on into the next baby. Also, start looking for seats which will allow you to match more than one in your backseat easily.
4. It’s easy to keep track of your child’s age, however, weight and height can change quickly over the course of a few months. Keep track of these measurements so you know when it is time for an update.
All car seats have height and weight ranges. If you are on a tight budget, try to find seats with greater size limitations so you can use it as long as possible.
Also, because the AAP recommends maintaining your infant rear-facing as long as possible, a baby seat with a high maximum weight and height limit will make it possible for you to do exactly that.
5.Know how to install a car seat. The majority of child seats are not installed properly. So regardless of how much you really spend to a seat, it’s useless if you’re not using it correctly. You must read your car seat AND car owner manual prior to install. Or You Can Watch Video Below. Source: Baby Center
Visit your local car seat technician
If you are having trouble, see installation videos, call the manufacturer, or visit your local car seat technician.
When putting your child in the seat, harness straps should be at or below baby’s shoulders at a rear-facing seat, and also to get a forward-facing seat, they should be at or above the shoulders.
Chest clips should be positioned at armpit level. You should be unable to pinch any fabric on the straps once your child is buckled in. If you can, that means that the exploit is too loose.
Car Seat Buyer’s Guide Glossary
Here’s a fast guide to some of the most common car seat terms you’ll run across in user manuals and product descriptions. It’ll help you better understand safety systems, accessories, and other terms that might be confusing at first.
This is a system that makes it a lot easier to fix a rear-facing car seat so that it could be customized to the right angle.
These are replacement bits sold for a used car seat or one that’s been broken. Steer clear of these products no matter what.
This lock sets seat belt in such a position which keeps the seat belt tight around the passenger (or the car seat) and locks to hold you in place in a crash.
Best Positioning Booster Seat:
A conventional booster seat, usually high rear, that uses built-in belt guides to position the vehicle seat on your little one.
This is the route by which the seat belt threads through the car seat. It totally depends on how the seat is utilized. Forward-facing and rear-facing will frequently have different belt avenues. Be certain to use the right one. They aren’t always clearly labelled.
That is a restraint used for infants who are too small to get a conventional infant car seat or have a medical need that requires them to lay flat.
Chest Clip is a plastic buckle goes from chields chest and placed at armpit level.
There is a detachable base for the rear-facing car seat which keep the car seat protected.
Emergency Locking Retractor:
This is really a retractor that locks the seat belt when the vehicle slows or stops.
This helps you to identify whether or not you have the incline of the seat adjusted correctly. Make sure to pay particular attention to the recline angle, especially for newborns who can not hold up their heads.
Horizontal bars embedded in the crease of your back seat which gives more support for your car seat.
Lower Anchor Attachments:
These are attachments onto a car seat. This attachment fixed at lower anchors of your car seat of the seat belt.
Once a child is over 65 lbs, you can normally switch into the vehicle belt for setup.
Keep checking your car seat on a regular basis.
Once item sold NHTSA & Manufactures work together to solve problems in it. All repairs or replacements must be free, so it is well worth your time to get them.
You can get a prompt notification immediately if you fill and return your card.
A mechanism which gathers and stores additional seat belt webbing in order to keep system compact.
Seat Belt Syndrome:
Should you enter a crash or suddenly brake, you or your child could suffer injuries from the seat belt such as bruising, internal injuries or fractures. However, these injuries are far less intense than that which can occur with no seat belt.
Smart Airbag System:
This is an airbag system which may detect the burden and/or position of a passenger in the car and disables the airbags in case the passenger is under a certain weight, very close to the dash, or in a car seat. This isn’t available in every car.
This really is really a tether strap and hook system that anchors the surface of a forward-facing car seat into the tether anchor in the vehicle.
It holds the seat from moving forward which protects u have an influence against head injuries.