Choosing the Right Infant Car Seat
When you are preparing for the birth of your infant, one of the most important things you need to consider is purchasing a safe and proper car seat for bringing your baby home from the hospital. Not only is having a safe car seat required by law, but it will protect your infant in the event of an accident. Choosing the right kind of infant car seat can be an overwhelming task, especially with all the different styles, brands, and types of infant seats on the market today. Picking out the the right seat does not need to be a daunting task if you know what to look for. Start your search for the perfect seat by looking at rear facing car seats, the type of seat required for all infants under one year of age.
Rear Facing Car Seats are the Safest Option
Almost all of the states in the U.S. have laws regarding the positioning of a car seat for infants, requiring that infants under 1 year old should be placed in a rear facing (or backwards) position. According to Consumer Reports and the American Academy of Pediatrics, a rear facing position is the safest position for your infant in the unfortunate event of a car accident. Your infant should remain in a rear facing car seat until your child has either exceeded weight and height requirements or the child is 2 years of age; which ever comes first.
There are two common types of rear facing car seats, including the infant seat and a convertible car seat. It is recommended that infants are placed in infant seats until they reach at least 22 pounds and up to 32 inches tall. An infant seat is smaller and fits infants better and may offer more initial protection. A convertible seat is a seat that can be used for a longer period of time and can be placed in a rear facing position until your child exceeds weight and height requirements (then the seat can be used as a front facing car seat).
What to Look For in a Safe Car Seat
When shopping for a reliable, safe, and age appropriate car seat for your baby you want to look for specific features, such as:
• Harness: Any car seat should be equipped with more than one slot for the harness and should be adjusted directly at or just below the shoulders of the infant. Additionally, a 5 point harness is the most safe and secure type of harness.
• Easy to Use: An infant car seat should be relatively easy to use and figure out. You can find helpful tips and ratings on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website.
• Adjustment: As your baby grows, you will need to make adjustments to the car seat (i.e. with the straps). When looking at car seats, it’s important that you can easily and safely adjust a car seat to fit your baby’s needs and size.
• Latch Straps: In 2002, vehicles were manufactured with latch straps, specifically made for car seats. The latch strap allows you to install the car seat directly to the vehicle instead of using the adult seat belt.
Keeping Your New Baby Safe
When anticipating the arrival of your bundle of joy, there are many things to prepare for and think about. Your infant’s safety should be a top priority. Choosing the a safe car seat can ease some of your anxieties that come with being a new parent.