Written by Allen Brown
Providing for your baby is the top priority when you become a parent. Everything else in your life seems to come second fiddle to giving your baby a comfortable, safe, and nurturing environment to help them grow up smart and strong, so you need to be able to give them the necessary support anywhere.
This is why it’s so important to do your research into finding the right baby supplies. Everything from bottles to soothers, to cribs, and car seats. There’s so much to look for that it can be overwhelming at times, but no need to fear as this guide will help you narrow it down for at least one of the major baby essentials.
You would think a car seat would be easy to find but they’re actually quite intricate and there are certainly plenty out there to choose from. If you’re a parent looking to get ready for a child, looking to do some homework while you wait for the child to come, or if you are simply looking to upgrade your baby’s car seat, here is how to choose the right one.
Check Your Cars Manual Before Buying a Seat
Every car is different, and so is every baby’s seat. There’s no one size fits all variant for car seats that you can buy and plug into your car and it will magically work, unfortunately, that’s an idealistic thought, so it’s good to read your manual and do some recon on your car’s interior before buying. Looking at the seats at babyandco.com, you can see that car seats range in size and installation methods, so a good way to find one that works is to check for either a seat belt or LATCH (lower anchor and tethers for children) system. Either is good, but your car may only support one or the other, so give your car a good look and view the manual to find out.
Look for Seats That Will Adapt to Your Child’s Size
Children grow at such a fast pace that it feels like an uphill battle buying them toys or clothes because they outgrow them so fast. The same applies to children and car seats, but luckily you won’t have to worry so much about them outgrowing an essential that costs you your hard-earned money. There are adjustable car seats that you can purchase that can be changed as your child grows to fit their size. This helps if your child starts to grow rapidly or slowly. It helps support their weight to keep them protected but allows you to retain the same seat for a while.
Newer Seats Are a Good Choice
You don’t always have to buy a top-of-the-line, brand new model car seat, but it’s not a bad choice to buy brand new. It’s going to cost you more because it’s a newer brand or model, but that’s only because it will be adhering to the area of child safety regulations for car seats. This gives you some peace of mind knowing that the technology used is considerably safer than an older model and provides you the comfort of knowing that the seat hasn’t been broken in much so it still has a lot of mileage to go.
Look for the Important Features
There is a list of features that will be very important to look for when choosing a car seat for your baby. Here are some things to consider:
- 5-point harness – shoulder straps (2), waist straps (2), the middle strap between legs (1).
- LATCH system compatibility – Useful for newer seats, seat belt attachment is good if your car isn’t new/doesn’t include the LATCH system.
- Side Impact Protection – Cushions placed near the sides of the heads of the baby for extra protection.
- Anti-Rebound Bar – limits the movement of the seat in case of a collision. Located at the foot of the seat.
- Canopy – Some seats come with it, some don’t, while others have a larger canopy to protect a child from the sun while transporting in and out of the car, as well as while seated inside.
- Baby Boot – Keeps the baby’s feet protected on impact.
Find a Seat With Easily Cleanable Material
It’s a good idea to also look for a seat with a material that can be easily cleaned. Kids are messy, that’s no surprise, but it can be exaggerated in a car because of motion. If they make a mess, which they will eventually do at some point or another, you’ll want to know that it’s easier to clean. A smooth fabric is much easier to clean than textured.
Choose a Seat that is Easy to Assemble and Install
Just like you would for scoping out the backseat of your car, you’re going to want to find one that is easy to assemble and install. Fumbling around with a car seat is not fun, especially during the winter so it’s a lot better to find one that can be set up in a matter of seconds. This isn’t the simplest task simply because you won’t really know how easy it is to use until you actually see or use the seat. However, you can just as easily read reviews or watch videos explaining the car seats to compare them to other models to see which one is the most simplistic to setup.
Opt for a Dual Seat and Stroller Combination
If you want to save money and get the best of both worlds, a convertible seat-stroller combination is a good choice. You can easily switch between a car seat and a stroller when you’re on the go. This helps reduce even more time if it is also an easy seat to assemble or install. It’s something to consider when you know how hectic it is on the go with a child.
Parenthood is not simple and not many people will tell you otherwise. With all of the equipment and essentials you need to buy, it can feel overwhelming, but at least with this guide, you can breathe a slight sigh of relief knowing your car seat worries won’t be as tremendous.