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About Car Seats

Posted by Alina on Tuesday Aug 12, 2008 Under Baby Products, baby safety

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children have to be in appropriate seats in a car until age 6.

Graco Snugride

Graco Snugride

Child Restraint Law:

  • Rear-facing seat until 1yr or 20 lbs.
  • Forward facing child restraint until 5 yrs or 40 lbs.
  • Booster seat until age 6 yrs.

(Reference, Retrieved August 28, 2008)

I have recently discovered that my baby car seat, the Graco Snugride (the highest rated baby seat by Consumer Reports), which I thought was intended to last through a child’s whole first year, should actually only be used until the child is 22lbs or 29 inches long. My son is four months old, and is already 27 inches long, which means that I have to go shopping for the next car seat quite soon.

Britax Marathon

Britax Marathon

There are “convertible” car seats on the market which can be used from when a baby is 5lbs until he/she is 40-65 lbs, depending on the seat. After doing some research, I learned that Britax brand car seats have great safety ratings according to Consumer Reports. Britax car seats tend to be expensive ($230-$310), but they will last for years (4-6, depending on the seat), can be mounted to be rear-facing or forward-facing, all recline allowing your child can sleep comfortably.

Although at first glance, the convertible seat may seem like a money-saving, practical choice, it should be noted that Consumer Reports recommends starting with an infant seat before moving up to a convertible seat because it’s “more secure and compact for infants.”

Here is what Consumer Reprots recommends in regards to car seats:
“No matter which car seat you choose:

  • Try out the seat you buy. If it doesn’t fit securely in your car, return it for another.
  • To make sure your car seat is positioned correctly in your vehicle, consider getting a free car-seat inspection. For a site near you, go to www.nhtsa.gov.
  • Adjust the seat as your child grows.
  • Position your child in the center-rear seat of your car if the car seat can be securely fastened there.
  • Remember that any car seat is better than no car seat at all.”

(Reference, Retrieved on August 28, 2008.)

I found a great article from Consumer Reports about various types of car seats, installation advice, and  safety recommendations. Read the full article.

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