As parents, the well being and safety of our children is our topmost priority. Along with controlling the factors that effect the growth and development of the kids, safety is one area which new parents stress and fret a lot about. When we talk about child safety and injury prevention, the first thing that you should probably pick as a parent is a good car seat because car seats are mandatory when you taking your kid out. Since we spend so much time moving about in the car, a comfortable and easy-to-use seat is a must have item for your children. One has to keep all safety standards and child’s comfort in mind when picking a car seat. According to International laws, children must use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first. Children over 12 or more than 135cm must use a seat belt. Most importantly, car seats for children must conform to the United Nations standard, ECE Regulation 44.04 (or R 44.03) or to i-Size regulation, R129. Do not forget to look for the ‘E’ mark label on the car seat to verify that the manufacturer has complied with all safety rules and standards laid down by law. Car seats and boosters are considered of utmost importance when it comes to child safety in the car. United States Department State of Transportation has clear instructions and rules and guidelines on car seats and their installation for children.
BEST BABY CAR SEATS
1. NUNA PIPA CAR SEAT
This comfortable car seat comes with a 5-point harness and requires just 5 seconds to install. It is made of premium micro knit fabric and it pairs perfectly pairs with Nuna car seat adapters. It is available in four lovely color variants – Night, Graphite, Berry, and Indigo.
2. UPPABABY MESA INFANT CAR SEAT FEATURING SMARTSECURE SYSTEM
This 5-star rated NHTSA-awarded car seat comes with a smartsecure system that installs within seconds. It has a tightness indicator and self retracting latch connectors for fast and accurate installation. There’s also an indicator window that changes color from red to green for confirming that the base has been installed correctly. The other features of this car seat are adjustable headrest with side impact protection, it also has 5-point harness, with soft and breathable fabric that keeps the baby comfortable. Mesa car seat is available in 5 different colors (Jordan, Henry, Jake, Taylor, Denny).
3. SAFETY FIRST GROW AND GO 3-IN-1 CONVERTIBLE CAR SEAT
This is a car seat that the baby can use right from the day it comes out of the hospital to the day when it starts playing soccer. It promises safer and comfortable ride with use that can last three stages – rear facing, forward facing, and belt-positioning booster stage. It provides side impact protection, comes with grow-with-baby pillows, 3-position recline, and meets all federal safety standards. It also takes less space in the back seat. It’s a very affordable convertible car seat.
4. CHICCO KEYFIT 30 INFANT CAR SEAT
It’s one of the easiest car seats to install and available in a variety of styles with newborn positioner and reversible newborn positioner included. Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seats can come in and out of a stay-in-car base and compatible strollers to carry infants.
5. BRITAX MARATHON CLICKTIGHT CONVERTIBLE CAR SEAT
The Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat comes with ClickTight Installation System which makes installation pretty easy, comparable to buckling a seatbelt. Provides safety to your kid and protects from side collision formed by a deep energy-absorbing shell which protections the kid from even severe types of collision. This car seat is a very comfortable car seat for your kid.
6. GRACO TURBOBOOSTER TAKEALONG HIGHBACK BOOSTER
Comes with belt positioning booster with two-way portability and two seats in one – a highback and backless booster for children whose weight ranges between 40-100 lb. There’s a highback mode with a handle for easy storage and carrying. In backless mode, it folds and becomes 50% smaller. There’s a 6-position adjustable headrest which is easy to use and adapts for the growing child.
7. EVENFLO EVERYSTAGE DLX ALL-IN-ONE CAR SEAT, HIGHLANDS
This all-in-one seat offers 10 years of safe and secure use as an Infant Seat + Convertible + Booster Seat. It’s a fully adjustable car seat with up to 10 different positions. This car seat can be adjusted into different positions, allowing children to sit rear-facing beyond 2 years without extending the seat or cramping other passengers.
8. BRITAX ADVOCATE CLICKTIGHT CONVERTIBLE CAR SEAT
The Advocate ClickTight Convertible includes the ClickTight Installation System for safe and easy installation in every car, every time. This seat also offers three layers of side impact protection, an impact-absorbing base and steel frame for maximum safety. Rest assured your child’s harness is within range of proper tightness thanks to the Click & Safe Snug Harness Indicator.
9. BRITAX BOULEVARD CLICKTIGHT (FORWARD FACING)
The car seat comes with 2 layers of side impact protection and also with click and safe snug harness indicator. It also comes equipped with 14-position, quick adjust harness.
10. PEG-PEREGO PRIMO VIAGGIO 4-35
This rear facing infant car seat is for babies who weight from 4 to 35 lbs. and are up to 32 inches tall. This car seat has an improved level of safety and design. It’s a good infant car seat for keeping baby safe and comfortable with side impact protection.
11. CHICCO NEXTFIT CONVERTIBLE CAR SEAT
Chicco Nextfit provides superior protection, it fits a wide range of vehicles in both rear facing and forward facing modes. It is available in a variety of styles and colors which are easy to install.
12. EVENFLO SECUREKID HARNESSED BOOSTER CAR SEAT
The Evenflo SecureKid is a 2 for 1 booster car seat that can be used in conjunction with car’s seat belt. This car seat is suitable for kids weighing anywhere from 22 lbs. all the way up to 110 lbs.
WHAT LAWS IN UNITED STATES SAY ABOUT CAR SEATS?
All 50 states of the US give child safety utmost importance and although there are slight variations when it comes to car seat laws, more or less, they have the same set of regulations. Here are some basic car seat regulations:
- Children from ages 6 to 15 are compulsorily required to wear a seat belt while traveling in a vehicle irrespective of their seating position in the car/vehicle.
- Booster seats are required until age 6.
- Children must be secured in forward-facing seats or convertible seats until age 5 or 40 lbs. Infant seats and convertible seats are required to be rear-facing until the child is at least 1 year old or 20 lbs. in weight.
- All child restraint laws are standard enforcement and should be complied.
TYPES OF CAR SEATS:
As children grow, how they sit in your car will change. Always ensure that you use a car seat that fits your child’s size and age. Not all car seats fit in all vehicles. Before buying, make sure the car seat is the right fit for your vehicle. Make sure the car seat follows all standard safety protocol and fits well in your vehicle. Buy a car seat that can be installed without any hassle in your car and your child feels comfortable in it.
There are four types of car seats:
1. REAR-FACING CAR SEAT
- Infant Car Seat (Rear Facing): This car seat is exclusively newborns and small babies, this type of a car seat is small and portable that can only be used rear-facing according to the law. Babies can use infant car seats just up until 8 or 9 months. After 9 months, a convertible and all-in-one car seat should be picked up and used in a rear-facing way.
- Rear-facing car seat: It’s the correct seat for a toddler. It has a harness and if there’s a crash, it moves with your child in a cradling motion to reduce stress to child’s neck and spinal cord.
- Convertible Seat: Once the child grows, this type of a car seat can be changed from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether. Because it can be used by children of various sizes, it allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position for long.
- All-in-One Seat: This seat can be converted from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat (with a harness and tether) and to a booster seat as a child grows. Because it can be used by children of various sizes, it allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.
2. FORWARD-FACING CAR SEAT
It comes with a tight harness that limits the child’s movement during a crash.
- Convertible Seat: As a child grows, this seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether.
- Combination Seat: As a child grows, this seat can be changed from a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether into a booster seat.
- All-in-One Seat: This seat can be converted from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seatto a booster seat as a child grows.
3. BOOSTER CAR SEAT
This kind of a car seat positions the seat belt so that it fits properly over the stronger parts of the child’s body.
- Booster Seat With High Back: This type of a booster seat comes made in such a way that it provides neck and head support and is apt for vehicles that don’t have head rests or high seat backs.
- Backless Booster Seat: A backless booster seat is designed to boost the child’s height so the seat belt fits properly. Unfortunately, this kind of a car seat does not provide head and neck support, but it is apt if your car has head rests.
- Combination Seat: As a child grows, this can be changed from a forward-facing seat with a harness into a booster.
- All-in-One Seat: This seat can be converted from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat and to a booster seat as a child grows.
4. SEAT BELT
As we all are aware, a seat belt should lie across the upper thighs and be tight across the shoulder and chest to restrain your child safely in a crash. It should not rest on the stomach area or across the neck or face.
TIPS FOR PICKING UP A CAR SEAT:
- Car Seat Type Recommendation Considering Child’s Age:
- From birth till 3 years: Rear Facing
- From 3 to 7 years old: Forward facing
- From 4 to 12 years old: Booster
- From 8 to 13+: Seat belt
- Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size.
- Choose a seat that fits in your vehicle. Check with the manufacturer whether the car seat is apt for your car’s model.
- Always secure the child in the car seat.
- Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions (check height and weight limits) and read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat.
- Keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits into the car seat.
- Backless car seat offers much less protection in the event of a collision, so choose the car seat which would protect the child from front, back, and side collisions.
- Keep the child in the car seat at least till 12 years of age or according to the law of your state.
- Buy car seats with special safety system, Isofix or Familyfix being the most recommended ones. The base of such car seats plug into the car itself rather than using the seatbelt alone. Nearly all seats that use these bases are much safer than regular car seats. You have to keep in mind that not all cars have the fittings for these bases.
- Check whether the car seat that you are picking have adjustable headrests and crash test results (check for side impact, front and back impacts too).
- Always take the child’s comfort level into consideration.
- When you are choosing a car seat for your kid, apart from considering the child’s age and weight, you also have to check National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rules.
- All car seats sold in the United States should meet Federal and ASTM Safety Standards.
- Car seats should also be NCAP crash tested which is the benchmark for evaluating seat performance in the event of a severe collision.
Our editors have handpicked safest of car seats for your kid. Hope you like them. If you purchase through some of these links we’ll get a small commission to support us.