As a parent, the safety of my children is always on the top of my priority list and it is something I take into consideration. Even before they are born, there were important steps to follow for the arrival of the little bundle of joy. A car seat is, of course, one of the main concerns for any parent as we want to make sure we are doing what is best for our children.
There are many points to take into consideration when it comes to choosing a car seat for your child and making a decision about a car seat. Like many parents out there, I was concerned about deciding what to use when it comes to a safe car seat for my baby.
I had many questions and did not know where to get the answers so, I reached out to Diono‘s Global Safety Advocate and Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, Allana Pinkerton who has 16 years of experience in the industry and who has been passionate about car seat safety and working in the industry Allana is a Certified Child Passenger Safety Instructor which is a great source of information!
One of the very first questions that come up to mind when shopping for an infant car seat, is whether to go with an infant car seat or a convertible car seat?
What is the difference between an infant car seat and a convertible car seat?
An infant seat is a car seat that can only be used for rear facing, can attach to a base for easier installation and most can adapt to a stroller. Infant seats provide convenience but your child may outgrow one or it may become too heavy to quickly carry around. A convertible car seat accommodates a child from birth to up to age 8, 9 or 10 years old, depending on the model and how fast they grow. It starts in the rear facing position and then transitions the child forward facing when they get older. Both have to meet the same standards for newborns. Both are equally safe, as long as they are installed properly and the child is harnessed correctly every ride.
There is a weight limit on all car seats
Infant seats range from 22 lbs – 35 lbs depending on the model. Convertibles range up to 65 lbs – 70Lbs in the harness. Always follow the individual weight limits on each car seat.
One thing you need to be aware of, it doesn’t matter how safe the car seat is if it’s not set up properly.
How do I know my car seat is set up properly?
When you are setting up the car seat, it is very important to follow instructions carefully. Place the seat belt, or lower connector strap, in the correct belt path. (Convertibles have two; rear facing and a forward facing). Be sure the installation is tight at the belt path. If you use the seat belt, know how it locks. The car seat should move less than one-inch side to side, front to back at the belt path. A tight fit is a good fit. You can always reach out to a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in your area to get help. The manufacturer’s videos are also a great resource.
What is the recommended position for the harness?
The harness on a rear-facing child should be placed at or just below their shoulders. The harness on a forward facing child should be placed at or just above their shoulders. Always refer to the instruction manual to be sure.
How long should I keep my baby rear facing and what are the benefits of rear facing?
The American Academy of Pediatrics and safety experts agree that rear facing is safer. It keeps your child in a position where the shell of the car seat is protecting the most fragile parts of the growing child. Once a child outgrows the infant seats, many convertibles on the market provide room for children to stay rear facing for an extended length of time, until a child develops a stronger structure to their skeletal muscles, tissues, and bones.
What is the best car seat option available?
The best car seat option is the one that fits your child, fits your car, and the one you will use properly during every ride.
What should I look for in a car seat?
You can look for things like webbing that will not twist easily, extra safety features like energy absorbing foam, stronger structure, and the ability to rear facing children longer.
How long should my child be using a car seat?
It will depend on how your child develops. Most children cannot fit in the adult seat belt until around age twelve. Parents should not be in a hurry to transition children out of a car seat. Keep them rear facing as long as possible. The next step is forward facing in a 5 point harness. Then, a big kid booster seat. This is an important step we shouldn’t skip. It could mean a matter of life or death.