How to choose a car seat

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Shopping for a car seat can be an overwhelming chore for parents. There are so many types, models and sizes. In choosing car seat, it is important to consider whether the car seat is:
  • the appropriate size and type for your child?
  • able to provide the best fit and comfort for your child?
  • able to fit securely in your car?
  • easy to fasten into your car?
  • easy to fasten your child into?
Types of seats. The first question that must be answered is, what's the right seat for your child? Here are the basics about the different types of seats and some of their features.

Rear-facing, infant-only seat. For infants 5 to 20 pounds; some seats will hold up to 22 pounds. These have a handle that allow you to take the seated infant with you, and then snap the seat into either a frame or stroller. Many models also have a detachable base that stays in the car, allowing you to easily snap the car seat in without fooling around with the seatbelt. It's very important that the seat be angled correctly to protect the baby (45 degrees), so some seats come with angle indicators and built-in angle adjusters. Also look for harness adjusters and head support systems. Some infant car seats now come bundled with strollers and can snap into them (called "Travel Systems"). Personally, I prefer the Universal Infant Car Seat Carrier made by Kolcraft or the Baby Trend Snap-n-Go. They are compatible with most infant seats and have less bulk and weight than travel systems, but won't take you past the infant stage.

Convertible seat, which can face rearward or forward. For toddlers, 20 to 40 pounds; some Britax models go up to 65 pounds. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should keep your child rear-facing until he is at least one year old and has reached the highest weight or height allowed by the seat's manufacturer (check the manual). At that point, you should turn the safety seat forward-facing and make the following three adjustments before installing: Move the shoulder straps to the top slots or as they are described in the manufacturer's instructions. The shoulder straps must be at or above your child's shoulders. Check instructions for any additional information on the placement of the shoulder straps that may be specific for your car safety seat.

Booster seats. Will hold a child from 30-100 pounds, depending on the model. Children should not move from a full harness to a booster seat until they reach the top weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer. High-back boosters are for use in cars without a head rest or high seat back. They're also a good idea if your child tends to fall asleep in the seat, or if the seatbelt still doesn't fit properly with a backless booster. Avoid shield boosters altogether.

Source: Myshopping.sg, 9 May 2007

1 comments:

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