Best Car Seats in 2017
Choosing the best car seat for your infant, baby, or toddler. Of all the purchases you make for your baby a car seat is one of the most significant and you'll need to obtain a completely safe and comfortable fit. Every car seat we rate is put through careful evaluations. Our guide will give you expert knowledge to help you choose the best car seat for your baby.
Lots of expectant parents are really surprised by all the car seat details. Car seat laws have come a long way since we were young. Your child will probably be in a car seat until his/her seven or eight years of age. Now children have to be in boosters until they're tall enough for the seat belt to fit them at the right height.
You can use a car seat from the day you take your newborn baby home from the hospital. The first thing that's important when selecting a car seat is to make sure that it will be appropriate for whatever size baby you take from the hospital. About half of the infant car seats which are also known as rear-facing only seats start at 5 pounds.
Ironically, most of the seats that start at 4 pounds also have a higher weight limit than the ones that start at 5 pounds. At least 10% of babies leave the hospital weighing less than 5 pounds. Therefore it's often a good idea when you purchase a car seat to get one that starts at 4 pounds.
This way whether you take home a baby that weighs 4, 6, 8, or 10 pounds you won't have to worry that the car seat will not be of an appropriate size.
All newborn babies must remain rear-facing until their first birthday.
CAR SEAT TYPES
Convertible Car Seats
A convertible seat is the next step after your child grows out of infancy or until his/her first birthday.
Booster Car Seats
When your child reaches the weight and height limit of the seat harness system, it's time for a booster seat.
Scientific research shows that almost 80% of car seats are poorly or incorrectly installed. Keep in mind that a car seat leaves the baby in vulnerable circumstances.
INFANT CAR SEATS
A rear-facing only infant seat will likely be the first car seat you buy for your baby. Always install these seats rear facing. These seats have a base that stays installed in your car and a removable carrier that will let you move the baby in and out of the car without disturbing its sleep. Some types of car seats won't accommodate newborns.
Infant car seats are designed for the youngest babies and typically provide the best fit for them. Infant car seats typically take the weight of 22 to 35 pounds. Most have height limits of 32 inches or less. It's likely that your baby will be too tall for his seat before reaching the weight limit.
A child is too tall when s/he exceeds the seat height limit or his/her head is less than one inch from the top of the carrier shell.
CONVERTIBLE CAR SEATS
A convertible car seat is the next step after an infant car seat. Convertible car seats can be positioned either rear or forward-facing. They have a similar harness system to infant car seats with higher weight-height limits.
In some states children should remain in a rear-facing car seat until 2 years of age. When your child meets the requirements for age, weight, and height, a convertible seat can be turned around and installed in a forward facing direction until a child is ready for a booster.
The main difference between infant and convertible car seats is that an infant car seat clicks into a base in your car. You can remove the car seat from the car with the baby in it, whereas a convertible car seat will stay in your car once you install it.
Lots of parents really appreciate the advantages of being able to remove the infant car seat bucket particularly in the first year of life. You can move your baby when s/he falls asleep in the car and carry him/her into the house which can help him/her stay asleep for much longer.
BOOSTER CAR SEATS
When your child reaches the weight and height limit of his/her car seat harness system, it's time for a booster seat that uses the car’s seat belt system. Boosters come in 2 styles: high back and backless. Boosters raise a child up in the car so the seat belt can pass correctly over his/her sternum and collarbone, not the neck and low across the upper thigh area, not the abdomen.
Backless seats are easy to transport and install, but we recommend high-back boosters because they better position the shoulder belt and provide some side impact protection in a crash.
Many states have booster laws some of which require children as old as eight and as heavy as 80 pounds to use a booster.
All children under 13 should ride only in the back seat of the car.