There are many brands of car seats in the market today and they are very different in terms of design. It is because of that that we decided to scale down and make it is for you to choose the best that will suit you by writing a buying guide that will help you as a parent to make an informed decision. This will enable you to know what you must look for in an infant car seat to find the best.
Importance of buying an infant car seat
If you intend to travel with your baby in a vehicle then a car seat is a must thing to have to make sure that your baby will be safe even when there is a collision or a crash. Once you have buckled it and fastened the straps, you will have full concentration on the road because you will be assured of your baby’s safety.
Size and weight limitation
Different car seats have size and weight limits. Some can withstand a weight of up to 40 lbs with most kids destined to use one with 30 lbs weight and 32 inches height. This is enough for your baby and you should consider going for it. If your baby outgrows it, then you can opt for a convertible car seat.
Types of car seats
Car seats include infant and convertible car seats. As a mother of a newborn baby, either an infant or convertible car seat is ideal since they have the same features and do a similar job.
Infant car seats
They are designed with small kids in mind, thus, different from convertible seats. This kind of a seat only supports kids with smaller bodies making it ideal for infants.
Infant seat features
Detachable seats – its seat and the base are detachable, therefore, perfect for infants. Install the base in the car and then click the seat onto it. The two parts feature will allow you to leave the base in your car and take the carrier with you hence your baby will be restrained and comfortable if asleep. You may also click it into a stroller and carry on other activities while pushing your baby.
Rear-facing seat – Infants car seats are rear-facing meaning your baby will face the back. This is the best position for your baby’s safety in case of a crash.
Canopy – this blocks the rays of the sun from his peepers which are very sensitive. You can use it whether your baby is in a car or when walking outside if using it on a stroller or only carrying it. Convertible seats do not have this.
Height and weight restrictions – infant car seat weight and height restriction are smaller compared to a compatible car seat. This will be perfect for infants with small bodies and height. This should not deter you from buying it since it is perfect for newborns when traveling.
Convertible car seat
When your baby attains 9 or 12 months, then it is the appropriate time to move him to a convertible seat. If you are planning to have another kid then you can use the infant seat when the time comes. It can be used by infants and kids who are between 40 or 70 lbs. The seat can be used in the rear-facing position and later transformed to forward facing seat. Even though it can be used as an infant seat, do not be tempted to buy it but rather opt for an infant seat because it has been designed for infants. Unlike an infant car seat, this cannot be taken out of the car not unless you remove the whole harness system.
Things you should never do
- -Never leave your baby in an infant seat unattended since the baby may be injured or even die when asleep.
- -Avoid leaving the baby’s carrier in any soft surface since your baby may roll over and suffocate or fall
Important features to consider
This is an important feature to look at because it will protect your baby in case of an accident. Just like a helmet, this will give your kid maximum protection. There is also a layer of hard foam that absorbs energy between his head and the shell.
The type of foam
Hard foam –protects your baby in case of a crash mostly on the head’s back and side.
Soft foam – some have a soft foam on the hard foam or around the head. This only helps in comfort or well-baby positioning but not protection from a crash.
This is located on top of a foam and a padding on the seat which helps in positioning your small baby and making sure his head is in the right position and does not rub the straps.
Visual installation indicators
This indicates whether you have installed the car seat properly or not or if have tightened the anchor well. It may be in form of a rolling ball ora line on the base that becomes parallel with the ground under the car if well installed.
How secure your infant car seat is or not is determined by how easy it is to adjust harness height. An easily adjustable seat when baby grows reduces any errors. Some may require rethreading while others may not.
- -There are some which may need rethreading for you to be able to adjust height which may be hard. You will have to remove the straps and then reinsert in a different height for easy adjustment though occasionally which can be tiresome. It can inconvenient you because it may be until you place the baby in it when you realize the height needs to be adjusted.
- -Seats that do not require any rethreading are easy to adjust. You can adjust the height easily without rethreading the seat’s harness straps or detaching them. You can adjust it while the baby is sitting on it.
- -Once your baby has sat, you have buckled in and adjusted the height, pull the strap at the seat’s foot in order to tighten the harness.
A buckle that is easy to use is the best especially when you are in a rush. First test it to make sure that it is easy to open or close.
The carrier’s weight
A lightweight seat is crucial to have because in many cases you may need to carry your baby from one place to another or lifting him.
This differentiates infant seats from the convertible seats. A large canopy will protect your baby from the sun.
Load leg and anti-rebound bar
The anti-rebound bar is perfect if the seat is high to ensure it holds it in place and offer extra protection.
The storage must be good to make sure that it tucks the whole of it and straps are far from the point of connection.
Compatible with stroller
Make sure your choice meets your needs and put into consideration if it is compatible with the stroller later. The best you get means your baby will be safer.