For every parent what car seat to buy is an important question given the different features and functionalities they offer. Car seats will usually come in three types: booster seats, convertible car seats (these include 3-in-1, combination car seat and all-in-1 seats), and infant car seats.
To ensure you children’s safety while traveling , it is important to select a car seat that is appropriate for their weight, height and age. as a parent you should avoid buying second hand seats whose history you do not know or cannot verify. It is also important to ensure that the car seat that you buy is one that allows the child to remain in the rear facing position for as long as is practical.
Types of Car Seats
Infant Car Seats
Depending on the size of the baby, they will fit snugly in a infant car seat during their first year. They are usually rear facing and will be appropriate for children weighing 4-35 pounds and a height of between 29-32 inches.
They usually come with a handle that makes them very convenient for carrying into and out of the car when traveling. An infant car seat is also advantageous in that it has a sunroof to protect your child from that summer sun.
Due to their portability, they can be easily snapped out of the car and into a stroller for that evening jog. While you could opt to directly purchase a convertible car seat rather than an infant seat, you will find that you cannot go for a stroll with the child.
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How to install car seats for infants
Convertible Car Seats
Convertible car seats are the child seat you need to buy after the infant car seat. They are heavier and larger than infant car seats since they are made to accommodate older children. You can buy the convertible car seat when yur child attains the age of 1 or when the child is too tall or too heavy for the infant car seat. They are known as convertible car seats since they start out in the rear facing position and are then turned into forward facing as the child becomes older.
They are appropriate for infants, toddlers weighing between 40-80 pounds and up to 50 inches in height. The 3-in-1 sometimes referred to as the all-in-one car seat can be a rear facing car seat, then shift to forward facing, and lastly become a booster seat when the child is over 100 pounds.
It is important to note that not all convertible car seats will be safe for infants. Such seats may be forward facing only, then convert to high-back boosters for older toddlers and then to backless booster for older children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you need to keep the child in rear facing until they are at least two years old, as this is the safest mode for a child to ride.
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Check out our ultimate best convertible car seat guide
How to install a convertible car seat
Booster Car Seats
After your child has outgrown the convertible car seat, they cannot go directly into seat belts since they will not fit snugly. Child booster seats come in handy for older children since they ensure that the seat belt of the car that are usually designed for adults, fit the child.
The best booster seats are appropriate for children weighing 40 pounds and over or children between 4 and 8 years. Nevertheless, it is important to ensure that you check manufacturer recommendations for height and weight limits before switching your child into the booster seat as each seat will be different.
According to the NHTSA children should travel in booster seats until they are about 4 feet 9 or until they are 8 years old. Have the child in a booster seat until the lap belt lies on the thighs rather than the stomach and the shoulder belt lies on the chest rather than the face or neck.
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How to install a child booster seat