As a first time parent, every decision you make can seem overwhelming when you only want the very best for your baby and choosing a car seat is no exception. Of course safety is a number one priority, but there are just so many colors, textures, features and types of car seats to choose from that making a decision is no simple task. Fortunately, narrowing down the selection to find the right age appropriate car seat is relatively simple with a few tips kept in mind.
Consider a Car Seat that Grows with Baby
It is recommended and even required in most states that a child be placed in a car seat or booster seat until the age of 8 or 80 pounds, whichever comes sooner. Odds are, you aren’t going to want to dish out money for a new car seat each time your baby hits a growth spurt, so consider saving some extra money by choosing a 3-in-1 age appropriate convertible car seat that can be used throughout the years. Many parents will choose to start with an infant car seat that detaches from the base for the portability of getting your sleeping baby easily in and out of the car, or putting it on a stroller. The next seat can be a convertible seat that will last your child for a long time.
Setup and Mobility
An often overlooked consideration when choosing a car seat is how frequently it will be moved and the car it will be used in. Though every car seat endures the same standard safety tests, every car seat is not designed to fit every car. As a general rule, avoid car seats that are big, bulky and take forever to setup as they will likely only become a headache if you must move them. Additionally, keep in mind that getting baby in and out of a two-door car can be a tricky task, so take the time to choose a car seat that does not make it harder.
Know Which Features to Look For
With so many different features available for car seats these days, it can be a little tricky to weed out the good from the unnecessary. First and foremost, a secure harness is essential both to protecting your child and ensuring that he or she doesn’t venture out and explore the car while you are driving. Sun shades, cup holders and neck supports are all great features to have in a car seat.
With a little careful selection and the initiative to take care of it, the right car seat can keep your baby safely protected in the car for years to come. What’s more, you may even love it so much that you decide to hang onto it for the day when your second baby makes an arrival.