Once you step out of the hospital with your little bundle of joy, you will need to use a child car seat. These safety seats are essential to keep your baby safe and secure while you’re on the road. Furthermore, there are laws requiring infants to be in seats until they are old enough to use a vehicle’s seat belt.
These seats come in various models and types to fit the different needs of your growing baby. Prices, models, accessories, and styles may vary, but the most important thing you need to look for is the one that passed all the necessary safety standards set forth.
It is necessary to buy one that’s suitable for your child’s height, weight, as well as his age. It should also fit accurately in your car since you will be using it all the time. Do not forget to check the owner’s manual of your can and car seat to ensure proper installation.
Rear-Facing or Infant Car Seat
This seat is for newborns up until they are 2 years old. Depending on a brand’s model, the weight restriction is up to 35 lbs. It’s smaller and usually feature a carrying handle. It also has a base that’s removable so that you can conveniently detach the car seat anytime, making it easy for you to take your little one in and out of your vehicle. It should be installed semi-reclined and can only face the back of your car.
A 5-point harness is used to position your baby inside the seat. Majority of this model features a system for head support that will help center the head of your baby and prevent it from slipping side to side.
Rear-facing seat comes in the following models:
- Convertible. You can convert this model from rear-facing to a forward-facing car seat when your baby is older. This seat is a bit bigger that rear-face only and does not come with a carrying handle and detachable base. It’s a good option for bigger babies as some have a weight capacity of up to 50 lbs.
- All-In-One. You can use this model as a rear-face, forward-face, and booster by removing its harness.
Keep in mind that should only be use this type for traveling and not as a chair or crib substitute.
Forward-Facing with Harness
When your baby is too big or old for the rear-face type, it’s time to upgrade to a forward-facing child car seat. This seat is ideal for baby ages 2 to 5 years old. Your kid is required to stay in this type with a harness until he reaches its height and weight limitations. Most kids can use this safety seat longer as a lot of models come with harnesses that can accommodate kids for up to 80 lbs.
Forward-face comes in the following models:
- Convertible. You can convert car seats to forward-facing by making some adjustments to it such as moving its harness above your kid’s shoulders and changing its position to upright from semi-upright. The lower anchor or seat belt path is also used when installing it.
- All-In-One. It is comparable to a convertible model when used as a forward-facing.
- Combination. This car seat combines forward-face and booster harness features. You can use this combination child car seat as a booster by removing its harness. It also comes with a designated path for lower anchor or seat belt for installation. However, you can only use it as forward-facing.
This type helps in ensuring that the seat belt of your car is fitted correctly on your kid who has outgrown the rear-face car seat but still not big enough to adequately fit in your vehicle’s seat belt. It is recommended for kids starting at the age of 5 up or until the car’s seat belt is suitable for them.
A booster seat can usually accommodate kids for up to 100 lbs. It will lift your kid up so that your car’s seat belt fits him properly. Without this seat, a regular seat belt can cause injuries to his spine and stomach as it can ride up across his neck or stomach.
Booster child car seat comes in the following models:
- Highback. Highback booster comes with a back that will provide your kid with neck and head support. There are also some models that feature a built-in shoulder belt adjuster in the headrest as well as an adjustable headrest. This is ideal for cars with lower seat backs.
- Backless. Just as the name implies, this model does not come with a back. You should only use this if your vehicle can provide enough head support for your child.