It’s a given that your new baby is going to need a car seat, but how do you choose the best car seat?
There are two temptations when shopping for a car seat. Some people will grab whatever is the cheapest as they think that all car seats are the same. Then there are others who immediately assume that the most expensive car seat must be the best and the safest. The price of a car seat will not immediately assure that it is the best or the safest.
When considering which car seat to purchase for your child, one must understand that your car seat is not something that should be skimped on. This is the ONE item that will keep your child safe in the event of a car crash. The safest seat is not the one that some magazine says, what a relative says you have to have, or what is the most expensive. Nor is ever car seat the same. The safest car seat is what fits in your car best, what you can use easily and correctly every time, and what is appropriate for your child.
No matter what safety features are designed into a car seat, if it can’t be used or installed in your car correctly, then those features will do your child little good. All of those safety features are designed based upon the assumption that the car seat is being used correctly and is properly installed. So if those two things can’t be done, then that car seat will not be as safe as one that can be properly installed and used correctly.
As good as a booster seat may be for an older child, it is not appropriate for a 9 month old, so not only should a car seat be able to be installed and used correctly, it also has to be appropriate for your child. All car seats have height and weight limits. They will advertise the weight limit everywhere, but it is the height limit that most kids reach first. A car seat will last until a child has reached one or the other limit. With this in mind, if your 18 month old is under the weight limit of the infant seat, but over the height limit, they need to move to the next stage car seat even though they are under the weight limit.
When we need parts for our car, we expect to be asked for the make and model, the year, and maybe even some option codes or a VIN number. All cars are not the same, even though they may all have four wheels and an engine. Yet when it comes to car seats, we make this assumption. We just think every car seat will fit in every car, when in fact this is just not the case. There are some car seats that just don’t work well in many cars, while there are also some cars that are more car seat friendly. A car seat technician will have the experience with different vehicles to be able to offer some suggestions when it comes to car seats in different cars. Anyone making recommendations for a car seat needs to know what kind of car the seat is going into. They should be asking you specific questions as “it’s an SUV” can mean anything from a Honda CRV to a Chevrolet Suburban. If they don’t bother asking you about your car, then they can’t really help you.
There is a saying, “If it’s easy to use, then you are more apt to use it correctly.” This is an observation of human nature and it is very true when it comes to car seats. If there is something on the car seat that is difficult to use, especially something that will be used all the time, then you will be less likely to use it correctly every time. This does not make anyone a bad parent, it just makes us all human. A good car seat will be easy to use. If it is a convertible car seat, it will be easy to use both rear and forward facing. The harness is adjusted every time the child is in the car seat, so it had best be easy to use. If you can’t get to it, then you are less likely to properly tighten it.
These are the basics to consider when purchasing your car seat. There is no one car seat for everyone as cars, babies, and parents are all different. Some car seats are more user and vehicle friendly than others. Do not worry so much about the price tag on a car seat as the cost of a mistake here can be far more than money can buy. The right car seat can make your child the safest person in the car. The wrong car seat can have disastrous affects. It is far better to be safe now than sorry later.
KooKoo Bear Kids is proud to have a certified child passenger safety technician on hand to not only answer your questions about car seats, but also to educate parents in their proper use. Car seat checks and installations are available at the store on an appointment basis. At Koo Koo Bear Kids, your child’s safety is our first priority. With this in mind, we encourage all parents to have their child’s car seat checked to ensure that it is installed and used correctly. You would rather know this for certain before the crash than wonder about it afterwards.