Find The Best Safest Convertible Car Seat For 2016

How to Keep Your Child Safe in a Car

As any responsible parent, your top priority is to keep your baby safe at all times. This includes getting your little one all buckled up during a car ride no matter how long or short the trip is. After all, you should never take any chances when it comes to your baby's safety. A dependable baby car seat can make a massive difference between life and death in the event of a vehicular accident.

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However, choosing the right baby car seat may seem like a lot of work for any parent. There are several options to choose from and different prices that come with each product. What's more, the installation process is another area to consider. You have to take into account the weight and height restrictions, latches, buckles, and the process of installing the seat in the car.

So, before you get overwhelmed by the wide selection of car seats available and features to look for, check out this simple and practical guide on how to purchase the right product for your baby. Here, we outline the type of car seat to buy and clear steps on how to install it properly.

Which Baby Car Seat Should You Buy?

Before we go over to the different options available, you might want to be clear about your purpose of buying a baby car seat best. According to the CDC, a baby's risk of dying in a vehicular accident decreases by up to 71 percent if he or she is strapped securely in a car seat. As a parent, the last thing you want to do is to jeopardize your child's life. This is why buying the right car seat is a priority that you must make.

When it comes to choosing the best car seat for your child, there are only a few things to keep in mind such as your child's age, height, and weight. It is also important to make sure that the car seat meets or exceeds safety standards.

The CDC provides a helpful guide for parents when buying a car seat based on the factors mentioned:

0 – 2 years of age: A rear-facing car seat is ideal. The weight of your child should meet the restrictions set by the manufacturer.

2 to 4 years of age: If your child weighs under 40 pounds, a forward-facing safety seat is recommended.

4 to 8 years of age: A booster seat that is belt-positioning is suitable for children under 4 foot 10 inches tall. Be sure your child stays in the back seat.

Children who are 9 years old and above should always wear their seat belt even without a booster seat. However, if the adult seat belt does not fit snugly, a booster seat is still required. A way for you to check the proper fit of the seat belt is its position. The lap belt should rest comfortably on your child's upper thighs and the shoulder belt must be on the chest instead of the neck. 

Whether your child is in a booster seat or car seat, it is important to keep him or her in the back seat. This applies to children under 13 years of age, even if they use an adult seat belt. The CDC states that airbags can seriously hurt or kill young children who sit in the front seat of the car.

Babies under 2 years of age must use a rear-facing car seat throughout the ride. This is recommended until they outgrow the weight and height limit set by the car seat manufacturer. During a car crash, a rear-facing seat can protect the neck and head of your baby.

Keep in mind that there are different safety laws on car seats for babies. There are some states that issue a $100 or higher for non-compliance to these laws. Thus, it is important that you are aware of your state's laws on baby car seats to avoid massive fines while securing your child's welfare.

Determine the Quality of the Car Seat

Now that you are aware of the best type of baby car seat to buy, you may want to look into the following features to consider:

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1. Safety Standards

Not all baby car seats are created equal. Before you buy one, be sure to check the safety label, and it must meet or exceed the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 213.

View a Car Seat with Safety Standards

2. Ratings

Aside from looking at the aesthetics of the car seat, be sure to check the ratings. Ideally, the baby car seat must have a 5-star ease of use rating from the NHTSA. A 4-star rating is also decent and relatively easy to install.

3. Five Point Harness

Although a seat belt and a three-point harness are good, you are better off choosing a car seat with a five-point harness. This offers excellent protection to your baby when accidents strike.

4. Overall Quality

A brand new baby car seat is always a better choice than a used one. If your budget restricts you from purchasing a new seat, just be sure the product you wish to purchase has no issues. Steer clear from used car seats that are obviously worn, have been in a vehicular accident, or have torn and loose parts.

How to Install a Car Seat

Here comes the tricky part – installing the car seat properly. It is also a crucial process that requires your full attention since poorly-installed seats cannot spare your child from injury or death during a crash. This is why you should follow this guide on how to install a convertible or rear-facing car seat:

1. Read the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer. Familiarize yourself with the right way of using the LATCH and the seat belts before you begin installing the seat.

2. Install the seat in the back seat of your vehicle since younger children are not supposed to stay in the front seat unless they are 4 foot 9 inches in height or 13 years of age.

3. When threading the seat belt through the belt path of the car seat, be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

4. Tighten the seat belt and lock it securely.

5. Secure the seat in place by pressing it down. It should not move over 1 inch from one side to the other or backward and forward once you have finished installing it.

6. Recline the seat at the proper angle and check the instructions as you do so.

7. Check your child's position while seated on the newly-installed car seat. The harness straps should be below the shoulders, and the straps should rest flatly against your baby's body. If there is no extra material that you can pinch at the shoulders, it means the harness is comfortably snug enough. Also, the chest clip must be located at the armpit level.

Never stress yourself out when installing a baby car seat. Always remember that you can always drop by the nearest NHTSA car seat inspection site if you are having problems with the installation process. You can also consult a certified technician for the proper way of installing your child's car seat.

Lastly, be sure to follow safety guidelines to prevent your child from being trapped or left behind in a vehicle. This includes leaving a cell phone or purse in the back seat, which should give you a reason to check in the seat before you leave the car. Moreover, you should always lock the car trunk and the doors even if your vehicle is parked in the driveway at your own home. By doing so, you can prevent your little one from wandering in the garage and getting in the car without your knowledge.

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