Out of all the purchases you make for your baby, arguably the most important is her car seat. Proper preparation and research should be put into your selection to ensure her safety while being easy to use and maintain for you. Here are a few things you need to consider before you make your purchase.
1. Know Your Vehicle: There are typically two ways to fasten a car seat into your vehicle – latch or belt. All newer vehicles should have capabilities for both. Be sure to check your vehicle’s manual and back seat, looking for the latch loops (if they exist in your vehicle) and measuring the width to make sure you purchase a car seat that fits.
2. Account for Your Child’s Age and Weight: Infants and babies need to ride in rear-facing car seats until, at least, the age of two. Their necks are not stable enough to withstand the braking momentum of your vehicle. Most car seats on the market are versatile, capable of being installed both facing the rear and the front. Purchasing one of these car seats prevents multiple expenses.
3. Consider Your Lifestyle: Children are unpredictable, messy daredevils. You need to take your child and your lifestyle into consideration when purchasing a car seat. Find one that is easy to install and adjust, which is key if you ever need to change vehicles. Ensure it has a reliable belt, ideally one that has a 5-point harness with two fastening points, to prevent even the most daring and clever toddler from escaping. And choosing one that is easy to clean is an added bonus, as you will have crackers, juice, and unmentionable stains (diaper blow outs, anyone?) that need to be cleaned on a regular basis.