Bought a new car? Or having a baby? Either way, you would want to buy the best baby car seat. From new-born to around 9 years old, baby car seats are available for all and if you actually look, you will see, these car seats come in different sizes and facilities.
A baby car seat is necessary if you are travelling or even moving from one place to another, or giving your kid a lift to school.
Their size and weight are different from us adults. That’s why, they need something special, something to make them comfortable in the car and enjoy the view. Hence, the thought for the best car seats.
These car seats are designed and modified every year and each year, it becomes more and more featured and stylish. It may come with travel bags or sunshades for your kid and lot more.
The best car seats are designed to be used for ages, that means, as the child grows, you don’t need to change the seats. They are convertible type (most of them). But there are also neonates and toddler type, used only for that specific group.
The car seats can be classified according to age group or according to child weight or the type of pushchairs used.
Things to Consider Before Buy Baby Car Seat:
Before buying the best car seat, take your kid to the store, and try some seats there. You must consider:
- The weight of your baby (You might not need that if the baby car seat is convertible)
- Check if your car has isofix mounts. Most of the cars since 2002 do. They might be hidden under, so just go through manuals or ask the store selling baby car seats.
- Put the baby in the seat and check. Check if his head is above the top of the seat, which might make him prone to a car accident and you know, how soft your baby’s head is.
- Also check if your car has top tether mounts, which will fix your baby, even if your car accidentally bumps into anything.
- Lastly, it is different if you are carrying more than one children. You might focus on seat size then.
Top 10 Best Baby Car Seat of the Year
When you consider the brands in the market providing the seats, the first question that comes to your mind is, which one to choose.
You need to consider mainly two things. The first one obviously is about your kid, his safety, his comfort, and the second one is a car seat that is appropriate for your car.
There are many famous brands. They provide infant car seats, convertible car seats, booster seats, toddler seats and even all-in- one seats. We are considering the best baby car seats in the market for you.
5 things to Look for While Buying an Infant Car Seat
1. Type of seat-
There are generally two different types of car seats for infants and newborns, a seat that faces the rear of the car or a convertible seat which faces the rear but can be turned to face the front.
A convertible car seat can be a more cost-effective solution as it can last throughout the toddler stage and is extremely safe for toddlers.
The only disadvantage is that a convertible seat cannot be as easily removed from the car like traditional seats, however, it can be of great help as the seat can allow a sleeping baby to be moved around, making the car seat absolutely invaluable for parents in the first few years of their kids’ lives.
Having a baby is expensive. If you are looking for something that doesn’t cost as much as a traditional car seat, a good option is to opt for a travel system. This is a stroller and infant seat that is sold as a bundle and generally comes at a discounted price.
These can typically be found in the stroller aisle and not in aisles for car seats. If budget isn’t an issue, a convertible seat is your best bet and can be a very safe and effective option.
The primary concern for any parent is the safety of their children and if you are looking for car seats, this should be your first and foremost thought.
All car seats on the market from reputable brands are constantly tested and are approved for prevailing safety standards, especially if they have a JPMA stamp on the boxes.
Since safety procedures are being constantly upgraded to ensure better protection, it can be a good idea to invest in a new seat rather than a hand-me-down.
Some of the safety features that you should be looking for really depend on the budget that you have for the seat.
At the lower end range, which is around $80 to $200, some of the features that you will need, irrespective of the type of car seat i.e. infant seats or convertible seats include a 5 point harnessing system, which comprises of two straps for the shoulders, two for the waist and one that runs between the legs and meets in the middle; extra foam padding or air padding at the side of the infant’s head for side-impact protection and something that is compatible with a LATCH system, a feature that allows the base to be fastened tightly without the need for seatbelts.
For a premium seat, which comes with a hefty $200+ price tag, you need to look for added features like the addition of the anti-rebound bar located at the bottom of the seat and which limits the possibility of movement in the unlikely event of a crash.
Other added features include the addition of cushier fabrics or a small storage space or “boot” located near the baby’s feet as well as the inclusion of a bigger canopy.
It is crucial to check whether the straps of the seat you are looking at are easily adjustable as the baby grows. You should look for straps that are adjustable and don’t need to be re-threaded.
You can find multiple options on the market that provide different features like adjusting handles in the back or cords at the feet which can save a lot of trouble associated with re-threading.
Remember the installation process. While technology constantly works to simplify the process of installation for baby seats, you can also look for guides on YouTube or ask for help in forums dedicated to new parents.
If possible, the best thing you can do is to look for sites that can help you contact professionals who can inspect the installation and help make any necessary adjustments.
Different Types of Infant Car Seats
Infant car seats keep your babies safe and protect them from any collision. We have talked about the major car seat styles, available for infants and toddlers.
Rearward-facing- A popular baby car seat
You baby’s weight and height are the important factors to choose the baby car seat. The right seat gives the ultimate safety to the babies.
The babies, whose age ranges from 7 days to 9 months, will feel comfortable with these seats. Their weight is usually around 22lbs or 10kgs, and we have categorized them as Group 0 babies.
However, you may also buy these car seats for Group 0+ category (Age- to 15 months and Weight- up to 9 lbs. Thus, when your baby is enjoying the first-time car journey, you can choose this seat for him or her.
This car seat is portable and lightweight, and you can attach it to the stroller. It is easy to transport the seat.
Moreover, this seat style also gives more security than most of the other models. The rearward-facing seat style is designed to provide the utmost safety to your baby’s head at the time of car collision.
The seat looks like a bucket, and it has five-point harness. You can use its special handle to carry your little baby to any placing without disturbing him. The back portion of the seats is very tall, and the base is also very strong.
Many of us call this seat style as baby capsule. While fitting the seat, you have to take the car owner’s help to find out anchor point rightly.
Forward facing seats and its integrated harness
The growing babies, who do not feel comfort with the rear-facing seats, can choose this one. The kids, who are below 4 years, can enjoy their car journey with this seat.
However, there are kids with faster growth rate, and though they are within this age range, they may not fit to this seat. They can use other seat type for comfort.
You will have 6-point harness with most of these seats. There are 2 straps that run from the seat’s top potion over your infant’s shoulder. Thus, the torso of your kids will stay protected, and theirheads won’t get jolted.
However, the straps are present not only across hips but also at the base part. They help in securing the lower portion of your kids’ body.
While you do not have any back seat, you may use these forward-facing models for the front car seat. You have to shift them away from airbag to prevent any suffocation issue. The infants, whose age varies from nine months to eleven years, suit best with this seat.
Convertible infant car seat
It is the most versatile car seat, and you can use it for the newborns and the growing children. You will have the highest value from the investment. You may convert it to rear-facing or forward-facing seat, considering your kids’ weight.
However, one demerit to this model is that it is not much portable. You cannot move it easily to a different vehicle.
3-in-1 car seats
These are comprehensive systems, just like the convertible seats. You may also use it as the booster. The main positive aspect is that only one-time investment will give you the desired value. Until the growing baby attains the ability to attach the seatbelt, you can continue using the seat.
The kids, who are in forward-facing pose, sit comfortably with this seat. The lowest weight range of this seat can be from 30 to 40 pounds. Thus, booster seat is the right choice for the older teens. Children from 8 to 12 years can use this seat.
Booster seat includes a tall back, while its cushions offer you a plane that is attached to the back. However, in some states, the use of cushions may not be acceptable.
Complete Guide to Infant Car seat Care & Maintenance:
The infant car seat can become very dirty as the children are usually very messy. We have mentioned the steps for cleaning the car seats.
Prepare all the essentials for cleaning baby car seat-
You have to arrange all the tools and accessories for washing the car seat. To avoid any skin issue, it is better to use the baby products that do not cause adverse reactions.
The baby wipes are also useful for removing the messes very easily. You should also buy disinfectants for the removal of germ. Another thing that is essential to you is hot water as it is safer option that wipes or soaps.
Take out your seat cushions-
The most important task is to uninstall your baby car seat to clean it very easily. After that, you have to remove the cushion. While the seat has latch system, you have to separate the plastic bottom part securely. The debris and dirt can hide at the corners.
Place this base and the seat on a surface for cleaning them. You have to read the instructions on infant car seat cleaning process. It will enable you in washing the fabric safely. While reading the instructions, you have to know whether the seat fabric is machine washable by using cold water.
It’s time to remove the loose dirt-
You have to shake the base and the seat for eliminating the dirt. Then, use your towels or wipes to remove the loose dust particles, hiding inside seat. You may better use vacuum cleaning system for cleaning the debris on the seat. This cleaner will take the cleaner out the corners.
Cleaning buckles and straps-
These are two important units of any car seat. Thus, you have thoroughly read the guide for detaching these systems from the seat. Use a wet rag for wiping down all the straps. However, you must not fully wet the straps as it will affect its safety potentials.
Then, take a hot water-filled cup or bowl, and put all the buckles into it. This helps in separating all the grimes. It is better to keep water away from the strap’s webbing portion. After picking all the buckles from water, you have to dry them by using towel.
Treat the cover of car seat fabric-
In most cases, this cover is detachable. By releasing the clips and buttons, you can remove the cover. Use mild soap or detergent for rubbing the fabric and removing the stains. You may also wash it in your washing machine. After air drying it, you may start using the cover.
While this cover is not separable, you may use a sponge for cleaning purpose. You must not use any strong cleaning product or bleach. It can cause cracks to the materials. That is why water and mild soaps are the best options.
Clean the plastic unit-
The base is made of plastic, and you have to use a wet sponge, detergent and hot water. You may also use a different seat for preventing mold growth and water accumulation. Use disinfectant for sanitizing the base.
Reattaching all the parts of your seat-
Now, after cleaning the car seat, you have to start reassembling all the parts. While you see that all the parts have become dried, you can start putting back the seat. Make sure that you have not twisted the straps in any way. Reattach all the parts safely without damaging anything.
Difference Between Convertible Car Seat vs. Infant Car Seat
But no matter, what brand you choose, make sure the baby is safe and comfortable and you have the best car seat for your baby. And choose wisely!
|Infant Car Seat||Convertible Car Seat|
|Rear – Facing only.||Rear- Facing and Forward – Facing.|
|Infant only seats are used for babies from 0 – 12 months of age maximum.||Babies from 0-2 years old may use convertible. It goes from infant to toddler, as babies grow this can be converted rear to forward.|
|Weight: Infant only seats can typically support a newborn as small as 4 pounds. Can carry up to 30-35 pounds.||Weight: While the convertibles weighting starts from 5 pounds. Can carry up to 35-80 pounds.|
|Normally has two pieces, a carrier and a base. The carrier can be separated from base and comes with a handle so can be carried along.||Convertible Car seat cannot be separated from its base. This has to fixed with vehicle seat and always stays in the car.|
|The infant car seat is the securer option for newborns. ||Convertible Car seat cannot be supportable for newborns.|
|The infant casings only last until around 8-12 months. After then you have to buy another car seat.||Convertible seat could be used for much longer. You may save money buying only one seat.|
|It is comfortable in its rear-facing position, because the seat attached with the base.||In its rear-facing position, a convertible car seat is difficult to use, because you may have to restrained at least 5 harnesses.|
|Infant car seat comes with the travel system. Hence no need to spend on Stroller or Carrier.||No stroller or carrier comes with convertible car seat. Thus, you need to pay extra on travel system.|
|Infant only seat has a trim design to habitat easily even on a small car.||Convertible car seats take extra space in back seat and sometimes come with a detachable cup holder.|
|From the reviews, safety ratings and pediatrics suggestion Infant only seat are the best for infants. Most supportive for the infant’s spine. ||On the other hand, convertible car seat is satisfied for Infants but not supportive for the infant’s spine. Besides best for the toddlers.|
|Convenient: While your baby is sleeping you can put them into the stroller without waking them up or carry them on the carrier. Too easy with the infant seats!||Convenient: With a convertible, you cannot unbuckle the seat every day and carry babies in and out. Your younger's lack of sleep is a big issue!|
|Stated that If you buy a convertible car seat, you would miss the amenities mentioned above.||Definite is if you buy an infant only seat you have to forgo some money, though you can carry your child rear-facing longer.|
State Car Seat Laws for the U.S.
Using a child safety seat is a legal requirement. Each of the USA states has created their own laws. You have to know the child restraint laws of the state, where you reside.
The present Alaska law states that rear-facing seat is the appropriate option to those, who are below one year or whose weight is below twenty pounds. Until your baby attains 4 years, you have to use the right child-safety seats for him or her. The kids, ranging from 4 to 8 years, can use booster seat. However, you have to see whether their height is within 4'9".
The laws in this US state were modified in 2006, and as per these laws, the kids (below 6 years) have to use booster seat or any other seat, approved by federal government. Those, who have attained one year and have weight within twenty pounds, can use rear-facing seats. After crossing five years, they can start relying on the forward-facing systems or the convertible ones.
Arkansas laws require that the kids, below six years and with weight lower than 60 pounds, must use the child restraint properly. Especially, those, who are about one year, should ride a car with rear-facing seats.
If you have kids, below eight years, you have to choose child car seats that are federally accepted. The weight, age and the height of kids are important. Those, who are over five, can use booster. Booster seat is the right option up to eight years. Violating the laws of seat belt and car seat is a crime in this state.
Until your baby develops the weight of minimum twenty pounds, you have to rear-facing seat for him or her. For those, whose weightvaries from 20 to 40 pounds, the forward-facing or rear-facing seat is legal in Colorado. Children, below sixteen years, must use the seat belt.
In this state law also require that, the children, below 8 years, have to use booster car seat. Their back seat should also be over 50 inches. While you have not used the child safety seats rightly, the police officer will stop your car and you will have a penalty of $50 fine.
Maine law requires the babies, below forty pounds, should be secured rightly with a reliable and branded car seat. Booster seat is appropriate for those, who are below eighty pounds. However, the teens, under 18 years, should secure them with seat belt.
Iowa car seat law violators need to pay $100 as the penalty. Thus, the kids, within six years of age, have to use booster seat, installed rightly inside the car. For 6 to 11 years kids, seat belt is must.
There is a legal rule for babies, below 1 year and twenty pounds. They have to use rear-facing seat for riding in a car. Those, who age is below 6 or weight is below 60 pounds, can use booster seat with the right position of the belt. The law also states that the kids, who can be included in different categories due to their weight and age, must use a secure car seat.
Minnesota has updated its law in the year, 2009. Until your infant is minimum 4'9" in height, you can invest on booster seat. You have to install the car seat after reading the instructions of the manufacturer. All parents have to make sure that they have conformed to the vehicle seat safety rules. Police can charge against the drivers, who have not used kids’ safety restraints for the child passengers.
Massachusetts law requires, all the kids below 8 years (57 inches in height), must use the seat-belt, only when it fits appropriately. The belt should snug their shoulder, hips and chest firmly, while the knee has to be over the seat’s edge.
Michigan law requires, Children below 4 years, have to sitin the car’s back seat.While all the back seats have been filled with other children, the rest ones can use front seat with the right restraint. When the kids are in their rear-facing seats, you have to see whether the front airbag is deactivated. However, seat belt is must for all kids, who are having their car ride.
Kids, whose age is between 4 and 7 years, should use the infant car seat. Those, who have not followed this legal rule, have to pay $25 as penalty.
Missouri laws require, the infants, under 4 years or with weight below forty pounds, have to sit in the most secure car seat. While their age ranges from 4 to 7 and their weight is below 80lbs, you can choose booster seat.
Nevada law states that, the kids, whose weight is from 6 to 60 lbs, can rely on booster car. All car passengers have to put on seatbelt.
Nebraska law requires, all the kids up to 6 years, can use booster seat. While they are between 6 and 18 years, they may use other safety seats. The kids, below 18, must not have their car ride in any cargo zone.
This state is also very strict on the infant car seat usage laws. While the car has no front airbag, the babies below one year have to use rear-facing seats. All the kids below 60 lbs and under 7 years, can use any federally accepted car seat. For children, between seven and twelve years, you have to know their weight and height to buy the right booster seat.
North Carolina law requires, children under 8 years and 80 lbs, have to use proper booster seat. While you have no lap belt or shoulder belt for kids, over lbs, you can use only seat belt. For children below eight years, you have to use the child restraint for the back seat. The offenders have to pay very high amount ($263) as penalty.
New York law states that, the child restraint is must for children below 4. The teens below 16 have to put on seatbelt.
The infants, below 18 years, should have their car ridewith the right car seat model or booster. Until they have attained 15 years, they have to use the best child restraint. For violation, you have to pay $75.
Oregon law requires all the kids, below 12, have to take the rear seat. Until the weight is below 40lbs, the kids have to choose the appropriate vehicle seat.
Pennsylvania law requires the use of seatbelt is essential for kids, who are between 8 and 18 years. Up to 8 years, booster seat can be chosen.
Rhode Island law states that, children below eight, usually have weight within 80 lbs, and they should use booster seat. Any passenger, who is more than 8 years of age, must use seatbelt. While the seatbelt cannot be fitted, they may continue securing them with booster seat.
South Dakota law requires, the kids with weight range of maximum 40lbs and below 5 years, can use booster in any seat. After attaining the age of seventeen, they have to put on seatbelt.
The legal rule in this state mentions thatthe babies, below 1 year and with weight lower than twenty pounds, have to use rear-facing seat. The kids, who are below 4, should be restrained properly. The back seat is right for those, who are of 12 years or more.
Texas law require the kids, below 8and less than 4'9" in height, have to use the right child safety seat. Those, who are under seventeen, must be rightly buckled by using seatbelt.
Washington law requires, children lower than 8 years, should be tightly restrained until their height is 4'9". Babies,below1 year,should use rear-facing seat. Children,below 13 years, can choose the rear seats during the car ride.
West Virginia law requires that all the kids, below 8, should use standard car seat. However, their height is to be lower than 4'9".