When buying a car seat, there are lots of options to consider. From rear-facing infant car seats to booster seats, it is important to use the right car seat for your child. Whether shopping for a new car seat for a newborn or deciding on the right convertible car seat for your growing toddler, safety is the most important concern. We’ve put together this car seat buying guide covering the four main types of car seats.
Rear-Facing Infant Car Seats
Rear-facing car seats are the safest, and for this reason, experts suggest using rear-facing car seats as long as possible. For most parents, this is the first car seat. Many rear-facing car seats for infants include a carrier that can be removed. This allows for the base to be installed in the car. Rear-facing car seats are the best fit for newborns and small babies, but they can be used for most children up to 40 lbs. However, most children will outgrow the height of rear-facing car seats before they reach the weight limit. Be sure to check the height restrictions provided by the manufacturer.
Convertible Car Seats
When a child outgrows their infant seat, the next step is typically a convertible car seat. These car seats can be forward or rear-facing depending on their intended use. The car seat must be rear-facing for children under 20 pounds. Many children use rear-facing convertible car seats during their first year, then they switch to forward-facing convertible car seats as they grow. Forward-facing car seats are recommended for children between the ages of 2 and 5 years old. Once a child is tall enough, they can switch to a booster seat.
After a child grows out of their convertible seat, they can use a booster seat that also uses the car’s own seatbelt. Children under 57” tall need to use a booster seat in order for a seatbelt to fit them properly. High backed models provide more protection, although backless models are available for easier installation. Most booster seats support children up to 90 lbs., and some states require all children under the age of 13 to still use a booster seat. Be sure to check your local safety regulations for using a booster seat with your child. While Colorado requires children aged 4 to 7 to use a booster seat, it is recommended to wait until your child is at least 4 ft 9 inches before transitioning to only a seatbelt.
All-In-One Car Seats
As their name suggests, all-in-one car seats cover everything from rear-facing infant seats through booster seats. These car seats offer a great value since they can be used for the entirety of childhood, but that also means they often cost more upfront, too. Additionally, because they are multi-use, these all-in-one car seats can be cumbersome for everyday use. Many parents recommend all-in-one car seats as a backup option.
Want to learn more about car seats or need help in choosing the right car seat for your child? Contact The Youth Clinic today for assistance!