Infant Car Seat Buying Guide For New Parents

Safety and comfort at all times are the primary concerns of parents. A new baby in the family is always a reason to go shopping. Aside from clothes and other basics, you need to find a perfect infant car seat for your precious bundle of joy. It is best to shop long before the baby arrives.

Searching for the best match for your baby entails a lot of research and study. You need to consider different factors before buying. As new parents, it can be overwhelming when prospecting for the best possible option.

To help you get through the ordeal, you can follow the following guide:

Know what the law requires

Almost all states require car seats for children including newly-born babies. From the time you and your baby are discharged from the hospital, you need to transport him/her safely. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants and children less than 2 years should be in a rear-facing seat. To guarantee optimum protection, buy a product that passed the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Learn the car set categories

Knowing what the group number in the car seat means will help you choose the appropriate one for your baby. The group categories are based on the weight ranges of children.

Group 0 – 0 to 10 kg. (birth to 6-9 months)
Group 0+ – 0 to 13 kg. (birth to 12-15 months)
Group 1 – 9 to 18 kg. (9 months- 4 years old)
Group 2 – 15 to 25 kg. (4-6 years old)
Group 3 – 22 to 36 kg. (6-11 years old)

Get familiar with different types of infant car seats

Car seats for infants are specially-designed to accommodate up to 26 inches long or 22 pounds. All of them are made to serve a purpose – protect and support the infant’s developing head, neck, and back.

  • Rear-facing baby car seat – This is for infants who weigh 22- 40 lbs.It is usually small with carrying handles and a base. The seat can be detached from the base when going out of the car. However, it is mainly used for travel only and not advisable for feeding or prolonged nap.
  • Convertible – It is customized to accommodate newborns to 20 pounds and then adjusted for 20-40 pounds. It can also be converted into a forward-facing car seat from being a rear-facing infant seat.
    3-in- 1 – This fits big infants and toddlers. It has a limit of 40-50 pounds. This all-in-one seat can be used in 3 ways – rear facing, forward facing and booster. A booster seat is used to raise the toddler to position the seat belt of the car properly.

Remember these tips

  • Always check if the product has a 5-star rate from National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The stars indicate ease of installation, the safety of the child and clear manual instructions.
  • The best car seats allow you to easily adjust the harness and straps. It should have quick-release buckles, single-hand height adjustable headrest, and no-rethread harness.
  • Make sure that your infant car seat is appropriate for his weight and height.
  • Choose a well-padded car seat which provides adequate head support to ensure a good ride for the baby.
  • Look for car seats with energy-absorbing foam that protects the infant’s chest and head against a side-impact accident.
  • A car seat with machine-washable, detachable cover is much easier to clean.