Where To Buy Car Seats
Car seats and boosters provide protection for infants and children in a crash, yet car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. That's why it's so important to choose and use the right car seat correctly every time your child is in the car. Follow these important steps to choose the right seat, install it correctly and keep your child safe.
where to buy car seats
Infant car seats are designed for babies who weigh between 4 and 40 pounds. These seats are installed in a rear-facing position in a car's back seat to keep your baby safe and comfortable. These car seats often come with a base and a carrier to make it easier to get the child and the seat in and out while also making it easier to transport your child as you run errands.
Convertible car seats offer a bit more flexibility because they can often accommodate children up to 65 pounds. Because it is larger, babies and toddlers can ride in the rear-facing position longer. Parents can then turn the seat around and use the car seat in the forward-facing position when the child is old enough and ready.
Toddler booster seats are similar to convertible car seats in that they transition with your child from one stage to the next. They come equipped with a five-point harness for smaller children to wear in the forward-facing position but also work with the car's own seat belt system once the child reaches the appropriate weight. Typical weight limits for toddler booster seats are 30 pounds to 120 pounds.
A booster is the last type of car seat your child needs. These are not appropriate for babies but for larger children. Booster seats can have a high back or be backless. High-back boosters or belt-positioning boosters use the car's seat belt once put into the appropriate position across the child's chest. A backless booster sits the child up high enough to keep the seat belt in a safe and comfortable position. How long a child must sit in a booster depends on the child's size, age and state laws. Many states have requirements for children up to 9 years old.
Baby car seats and other gear often use a lot of confusing descriptive terminology. Many of these features are important for your baby's safety so you should familiarize yourself with them as well as how to properly use them when installing the baby seat that choose.
The top tether strap offers additional security for forward-facing car seats. It anchors the shell of the car seat to the vehicle to keep the seat even more secure and to help reduce the risk of neck or head installations. The top tether strap works in conjunction with LATCH connectors or seat belts.
The adjustable, or five-point, harness comes on all infant, all-in-one and convertible car seats. The harness secures around the baby's hips, shoulders and between the legs. You can continually adjust the fit of the harness as your baby grows. One of its most prominent features is the chest clip, which sits at armpit level across the baby's chest. Proper position is important to keep your baby safe and to reduce injuries.
Several qualities distinguish dedicated infant car seats from larger convertible and all-in-one car seats, many of which have been designed to accommodate a wide range of weights and heights (from newborns on up). For starters, while convertible and all-in-one seats start out in a rear-facing position for younger passengers and then eventually get turned around (we have tips on when to make the switch), an infant seat is designed to be used rear-facing only. And with good reason: This position is the safest, and it provides the most protection for small children.
For the first version of this guide, published in 2018, we elected to perform independent crash testing on the infant car seats that we considered as our top contenders. We commissioned MGA Research, a lab in Burlington, Wisconsin, to conduct the tests, and we factored the results into our final recommendations.
The sun canopy on the Liing is made from a stretchy material that unzips to expand, providing more coverage than the sunshade on any other infant seat we tested. At the rear of the shade is a peek-a-boo flap that opens to a mesh window, so you can check on your baby through the canopy. Note that in 2021, Clek issued a recall on the Liing concerning a canopy stay that could be forcefully broken and introduce a choking hazard. The company has addressed that design flaw, and the seats it sells today use a different, more flexible stay. If you already own a Clek Liing, you can find out whether your particular seat is affected and request a replacement canopy stay (PDF).
It is becoming increasingly common for caregivers to keep their children rear-facing beyond the age of 2 because research indicates that children are safer in rear-facing seats. And policy experts believe that the longer a young child remains rear-facing, the safer they are. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (PDF) both recommend that children remain rear-facing for as long as possible, ideally until they reach the rear-facing height or weight limit of their car seat. (Before 2018, the AAP had advised that it was fine to turn a child around at 2 years of age.)
Although individual states are responsible for regulating how car seats are used, any car seat sold in the US must meet federal safety standards set by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The NHTSA requires that all car seats be subjected to a set of regulated crash-testing protocols to confirm that they meet or exceed established benchmarks.
Currently, the NHTSA compliance testing has no side-impact standard. However, there has been a push to create side-impact tests for car seats. Many car seat manufacturers voluntarily conduct their own side-impact testing, and a standard is already in place in Europe.
Each year, thousands of young children are killed or injured in car crashes. Proper use of car safety seats helps keep children safe. But, because so many different seats are on the market, many parents find this overwhelming.
Here is more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about choosing the most appropriate car safety seat for your child. Also, find links to 2023 car safety seat product information with weight and height limits and other details for different types of car seats throughout this article.
All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer. Most convertible seats have limits that will allow children to ride rear facing for 2 years or more.
Children who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their convertible seat should use a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer. Many seats can accommodate children up to 65 pounds or more.
Car safety seats may be installed with either the vehicle's seat belt or its LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) system. LATCH is an attachment system for car safety seats. Lower anchors can be used instead of the seat belt to install the seat, and many parents find them easier to use in some cars. The top tether should always be used with a forward-facing seat, whether you use the seat belt or lower anchors to secure it. The seat belt and LATCH systems are equally safe, so caregivers should use one or the other, whichever works best for them, for their car safety seat, and their vehicle. In general, caregivers should only use 1 of the 2 options unless the car safety seat and vehicle manufacturers say it is OK to use 2 systems at the same time. 041b061a72