If you are looking to buy a car seat for a newborn or for an infant, you are free to choose between two types of car seats if you have an infant less than one year old and weighing less than 20lbs: an infant car seat and a convertible car seat. Although by buying a convertible car seat you will be able to use it for a longer period of time, experts consider that it’s safer to buy an infant car seat for a baby who weighs less than 20 lbs. That’s because these car seats are specially designed to offer support in the places where a baby most needs it. Another advantage of the infant car seats is that you can use it for multiple purposes: as a car seat, as a rocker and even as a carrier. When you arrive at the destination you can use the car seat to transport the child. That means you won’t have to wake him/her up like it happens in the case of convertible car seats which require you to unbuckle the child and then use another stroller or carrier for transportation.
When you buy a car seat you should pay attention to a number of features. You should first of all make sure that the car seat is easy to install. If you feel that the installation process is too complicated, you shouldn’t buy the seat, because if you can’t properly install and use it you risk your child’s safety. The simplest option is to buy an infant car seat that has a permanent base which can be installed once and for all in your car. Afterwards, every time you will have to use the car seat you will just have to secure the seat in the base and buckle up the infant.
Also important for a car seat are the restraints. You should buy a car seat equipped with a harness with five points of safety. You should also look for a car seat that has straps and not plastic shields or other kind of restraints that are less effective and are commonly found in used car seats. There should be a strap for each shoulder and each thigh and one placed between the baby’s legs. Also important are the belt adjustments. You shouldn’t buy a car seat that involves adjusting the buckle from the seat’s back. More practical are those which allow front adjustment and if you are willing to invest more money you might even be able to find models that adjust automatically.
When you buy a car seat you should also pay attention to tethers. The more recent safety rules require parents to buy car seats which include the LATCH (Low Anchors and Tethers for Children) system. This is a good to have system, because it’s meant to ensure an easier and safer installation considering that the car seat will have to be attached to the vehicle and not secured by using the seat belt. Therefore, an infant car seat which faces rear will need only lower anchors, while a convertible car seat that can be faced rear and front will have to have both upper and lower anchors.
Also important about the car seat you buy is how easy it is too clean. It is a known fact that babies are messy by nature, but some manufacturer’s still forget and don’t offer seats with pad covers that can be removed and washed separately. You should definitely pay attention to this detail and make sure the car seat you choose is also comfortable for the baby.