Start looking at baby car seats well before your baby is born. You don’t want to get caught out if your baby is born preterm. You’ll need a baby car seat before you leave hospital.
Every year thousands of young children loose their lives or sustain serious injuries which could have been prevented if through the correct use of car seats and safety belts.
When choosing a baby car seat don’t make your decision based on price alone, all seats available to purchase in the USA meet very strict safety standards but added features in higher price baby car seats may make them easier to use (thus avoiding fitting errors) or even safer than the cheaper options.
Always use a car safety seat that is the right size for your baby, infant or child. You will need to change your car safety seat as they grow.
The safest place for your baby / child to ride is in the back and you must never place your baby in a rear facing baby seat in the front of a vehicle with a passenger air bag.
For all car safety seats make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. Ensuring your baby’s safety while traveling is an essential part of baby care and it is not something over which you should become complacent.
For newborn babies and babies up to around 15 months use a rear-facing car safety seat. You can get rear-facing seats that are convertible which means you can use them as front facing seats once your infant is big enough to travel forward facing safely. Rear-facing seats which are safe up to 22 pounds are suitable for babies up to 6-9 months and rear-facing seats which are safe up to 29 pounds are suitable for babies up to 12-15 months.
Once your infant has reached 12 months of age and weighs at least 20 pounds he can safely travel in a forward facing seat. If you have a convertible seat you can just switch to using it as a forward facing seat. Otherwise you can look at a built in, combination or forward facing seats which are usually suitable for infants up to 40 pounds (4 years).
Many states now have booster seat laws with children between 4 – 6 or 4 – 8 years (depending on the state) having to use booster seats by law.
There are many booster seats available with some suitable for infants weighing just 20 pounds (9 months) but are generally geared towards children from 4 years old ( 33 pounds or more) up to 11 years.
Booster cushions are suitable for children weighing 48 pounds or more (6 – 11 years of age)