Six Tips for Buying the Perfect Car Seat

Six Tips for Buying the Perfect Car Seat

  1. Always Buy A New Car Seat

When making a purchase, there are two rules you should follow: always buy name brand peanut butter and always buy a new car seat. You can fill the closet with hand-me-down clothes and toys but should stop at using a handed-down car seat. A second-hand seat lives a whole life before it makes it to your car. There is no way to be completely positive it hasn’t been in an accident or lost some crucial pieces along the way. Plus, car seat technology advances at such a rapid rate you don’t want to miss out on improved safety features.

2. Choose the Seat that Fits Your Child

As your kids grow, so should their car seats. The appropriate car seat for your child will vary depending on their size – you need to make sure the seat you have is appropriate for every age and weight. Keep in mind what age you’re buying a seat for and the weight limits of each seat. Infant car seats like the Coral XP are exactly what the name implies – car seats designed specifically for infants. Convertible seats like the Pria Max All-in-One, on the other hand, fit a range of weights and ages, starting at infancy and going well into toddlerhood. But the key point is the importance of following age/height/weight limits to ensure the car seat fits best for your child.

A girl sitting in a car in her convertible car seatA girl sitting in a car in her convertible car seat

3. Prioritize Your Features                                       

A child smiling and sitting in her car seatA child smiling and sitting in her car seat
Different seats come with different features, so knowing what you want helps narrow down your initial search. If you’re worried about spills and stains, look for a seat with easy to remove fabric to make cleaning a breeze. If you live in a warmer climate, look for seats with a breathable fabric to keep your child is comfortable on even the hottest days. If you’re worried about your child’s desire to be Queen of ALL Sippy Cups, there’s seats with multiple cup holders. There will be a seat out there that has everything you’re looking for!

4. Have a Timeline in Mind

One of the first decisions to make when shopping for a car seat is how long you need the seat to last. If you want to use a single seat for as long as possible, you might want a convertible seat that grows with your child. Convertible seats can go rear-facing as well as forward-facing, and in some cases, can stay rear-facing longer. Some people know they want an infant seat and a separate forward-facing seat, while others want to get one car seat that lasts for as long as possible. Car seats do expire, so when you’re planning make sure you account for that date as well.

  5. How Mobile is Your Lifestyle?

Does your car seat need to move in and out of the car or are you planning on installing the seat once and leaving it? Infant car seats secure into a base that stays installed into the vehicle. If your little one finally falls asleep in the car, you don’t have to risk waking them to run into the grocery store. Infant seats come with a handle on the top of the seat to help aid movement in and out of the car. Infant seats also click in and out of compatible strollers so you have more options for movement. If mobility is key, look for seats that have a smaller footprint and are lighter – seats range from 10 lbs. to a hefty 30 lbs. (and that’s before you put your child in the seat). If you’re planning on leaving the seat in the car, then a convertible car seat is the way to go.

6. How Many Car Seats Do You Need?

Sometimes your child needs to ride in more than one car, be it your partner’s car, grandma’s car, or the babysitter's car. It's important to think about whether you want to move a single seat between multiple cars or buy more than one seat. If you’re thinking of buying an infant seat, you have the ability to buy one seat and multiple bases for ultimate mobility. Consider your schedules and determine whether moving seats is workable. If you decide to move one seat between cars, look for a seat that is easy to install/uninstall and is on the lighter side. No one likes dealing with a finicky car seat right before dealing with a squirmy kid.
A baby being carried in its infant car seatA baby being carried in its infant car seat
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