How to Choose the Best Toddler Car Seat
Buying the best toddler car seat is an important consideration for any parent. Riding in a car is one of the most hazardous things your little one does, so you want them to have the best protection money can buy. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean buying the most expensive car seat.
Instead, you can rely on a few tips to ensure smooth traveling for your toddler.Before looking for the best toddler car seat, review your vehicle owner’s manual. Many parents skip this step, but doing so can simplify car seat buying. The manual should reveal where the car seat should be installed and what kind of attachment system your car has. Most toddler car seats are anchored by standard safety belts or by the LATCH system that is included in most newer cars. Generally, the safest car seats will be anchored in the middle of the backseat, away from any passenger side airbags.
Take some measurements in the backseat as well. Bases for toddler car seats come in a variety of sizes and configurations. Not all of these will fit in your backseat. Also, take into consideration whether or not you’ll have other children riding in the backseat, which may limit the available space. Record the measurements, and take them with you to the store. Don’t forget to take a tape measure to the store so you can compare car seat measurements to determine which models will fit in your backseat.
Perhaps the most important determining factor when it comes to choosing the right car seat is your child’s height, weight and age. If you’re looking at toddler seats, your child is probably about two years old and ready for a forward facing model. Read the fine print on the packaging for all potential car seats. They should identify weight and height limits which can help guide you to the safest seat for your child.
Modern toddler car seats typically feature a five point harness that offers better protection for your child in case of an accident. Moreover, these harnesses usually require more manual dexterity to operate than the average toddler possesses. The result is a harness system that actually keeps your little one secure at all times.
The best toddler car seat is the one that fits in your backseat and is sized to accommodate your child. Following these guidelines helps you keep your toddler safe on the road.
How to Install Infant Car Seat
Knowing how to install infant car seat properly is more challenging than you might imagine. Studies performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggest that approximately 75% of car seats are not properly installed, which can lead to injury or death. Keep a few guidelines in mind as you install your infant’s car seat to ensure better security on the road.
Ideally, the infant car seat is a rear facing model that can be installed in the middle position of the backseat. Take the time to read your vehicle owner’s manual and the installation instructions that came with the car seat.
Most car seat installation guides include text and diagrams to make the process easier. Even the do-it-yourselfer who resolutely avoids instructions would be wise to study them in detail. Every infant car seat is a bit different, so even those with experience may find it helpful to review the instructions.
If your car is 2002 or newer, then it probably has a tether system known as LATCH. LATCH is an acronym for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, and it’s a system that anchors the car seat more securely and with greater ease.
You’ll definitely want to make use of LATCH with your infant’s car seat. If your car is an older model, consider taking it to a mechanic who can retrofit it with the LATCH system so your baby can have the advantage of this system.
Once you’ve attached the car seat to the LATCH system, check it for excessive movement. Try tipping the car seat forward and from side to side. If you’re able to move it more than an inch in any direction, then it’s probably not secured tightly enough. Take your time, unbuckling and re-buckling until the fit is sufficiently tight.
Just make certain that none of the straps becomes twisted in the process. While checking the security of the attachment, pay particular attention to the recline angle on the base of the car seat. Modern car seats often have an angle indicator that tells you when the base is correctly adjusted.
Knowing how to install infant car seat is a learning process, and you don’t have to go it alone. Local fire stations and police departments are usually certified to check the accuracy of car seat installation. Contact them to double check your car seat to ensure your baby’s safety on the road.