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Your Guide to Baby Car Seats

Updated on January 23, 2011

Baby Car Seat Basics

Baby Car seats are designed to go in a car and support a baby’s special needs. A baby car seat is used to transport a baby safety in a car while the car is moving. New parents may find the prospect of choosing a baby car seat a bit daunting. Many choices exist. The right choice will help transport your newborn in safety and stylish comfort. When looking for a baby car seat you should take into consideration several factors. These factors include price, ease of use, convertibility and safety. A good car seat will meet your needs for the first few years of your child’s life.

Rear Facing Car Seats

Every single state requires parents to purchase a baby car seat. The type of car seat you need depends on your needs. For the first year of an infant’s life, you really should have a car seat that faces backwards. Rear facing car seats protect infants from injury far better. The baby’s face is shielded should you get into an accident. You can purchase an infant car seat initially. The infant car seat positions the baby so it faces backwards in the car. A rear facing car seat is useful only for a short time. If you plan to spend a lot of time behind the wheel during the infant’s first few years, think about getting a convertible car seat.

Forward Facing Car Seats

Baby car seats can be turned to face forward after an infant reaches a certain weight and age. Most authorities do not recommend using forward facing car seats until the baby reaches at least twenty pounds and is a year old. An infant car seat that only faces backwards can be thrown out after this period. All forward facing car seats should meet with federally mandated standards. Most stores will not stock them otherwise. Look for baby car seats that slide in easily into your car. The baby car seat should be firmly attached to the body of the car seat. Many car seats can be used both in the car and in a stroller system. The car seat lifts out and then you place the baby and the car seat in the stroller.

Types of Car Safety Restraints

Baby car seats are attached to the car and keep your baby safe. When you place the baby in the car seat you can use five types of car safety restraints. These restraints make sure that your baby remains safely in the car should you get into a car crash. They also protect your baby if the car flips over. Convertible seats convert from a backwards facing position to one that faces forward. Forwards facing only baby car seats are designed to be used when an infant reaches a certain age. A combination seat with harness is used by older children who are at least forty pounds. Built in seats and travel vests are also used for older children. Many baby seats have such attachments that can be used as the baby grows.

Safety Considerations

Always make sure that you know exactly how to use a baby car seat correctly. Before you buy the car seat, work with the store clerk to correctly inspect it. The store should have a working model that you can use to practice with. Try using it at least twice before you buy it.

Baby Car Seat Installation


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    • Moon Willow Lake profile image

      Moon Willow Lake 7 years ago

      I agree with what you have mentioned. The only thing I will add is that even when a convertible child seat can legally be forward-facing based on the child's age and weight, they may still legally need to use the 5 point restraint harness. The issue is that some states have laws to adhere to in addition to the federal laws.