Your child’s safety is the most important part of car travel. For this reason, investing in the right toddler car seat is critical.
Did you know that infants can grow out of their first car seat as early as 6 months old? The requirement to transition to a toddler seat is dependent on your child’s height and weight. A toddler car seat is needed earlier if your child is growing faster than average.
Read on for 5 expert tips on buying a car seat for your toddler. With your child’s safety on the line, do not go shopping until you read these tips.
1) Determine If You Need a Rear or Forward-Facing Car Seat
Before you purchase a car seat, the first step is to determine if a rear or forward-facing car seat is needed. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a rear-facing car seat until the child’s second birthday.
In addition, many states have laws on the books requiring children to remain rear-facing for a set period of time. In New Jersey, for example, children are required to be rear-facing until age 2 or exceed 30 pounds.
Many parents buy a forward-facing car seat on the child’s first birthday. However, this could be a bad investment depending on the baby’s weight and state laws.
2) Safety Features
Continuing with the safety theme, there are many added features to protect your toddler. Bells and whistles are nice, but the true objective of a car seat is child protection.
Start off by researching the car seat’s safety rating. The government requires car seats to be extensively tested before hitting the sales market.
Several safety features, such as side impact protection and a 5-point harness, come standard on most car seats. However, many parents elect to invest in advanced features like impact-absorbing bases and a steel frame.
3) Check the Height and Weight Ratings Before Buying a Carseat
There are a few different ways to screw up a car seat purchase. One common mistake is buying a car seat with a low weight rating.
Consider a scenario in which you purchase a forward-facing car seat at age 2. The car seat you selected has a weight rating of 40 pounds.
This car seat is not going to last very long until your toddler outgrows it. Instead, opt for car seats with a weight rating of 60 pounds or more for longer usage.
4) Splurge on Comfort
While safety is paramount, you do not have to settle for an uncomfortable car seat. The last thing you need is a cranky toddler on a long car trip that cannot fall asleep.
There are a couple of easy things to look for. Check the cushions to make sure they are comfortable. In addition, make sure the fabric is breathable for those hot and sweaty days.
5.) Measure the Available Space in Your Car
This is another important consideration to keep in mind. How much free space are you working with?
How many passengers typically sit in the back seat with your toddler? These questions are going to drive your purchasing decision.
Perhaps you have a small, 2-door vehicle. If this is the case, you should search for some of the best car seats for small cars.
Wrapping It Up
There are a lot of variables to consider when buying a car seat. Safety is the most important consideration.
Make sure to do your research before making a purchase. Check state laws to see when you can buy a forward-facing seat. Measure the back of the vehicle to make sure the car seat will fit.
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