Baby Car Seat Buying Tips

Why Buy Car Seats?

It's a fact that all car seats were required to meet federal guidelines for safety, so we all assumed every one of them were all just as safe, and selected the one with the design that best matched our car interior or stroller. It’s amazing how we spent weeks researching the safest car on the market, but decided on a car seat without second thoughts.

There is this one mom you might meet one day who's lost a child or had a child injured because of child safety seat failure, and you will never take this decision lightly again.

We consider ourselves exceedingly lucky that we were never involved in an accident all those years our kids were in unsafe, wrongly installed, or just having the wrong car seats. Since then, we have repented, researched thoroughly, and even gotten Child Passenger Safety (CPS) certified. Just to reiterate, this is a truly important purchase that merits your very last dime.

child safety seatCredit: Wikipedia

Child Safety Seat Safety Ratings

Car seat safety is paramount. Every single car seat sold in the U.S. need to satisfy rigid federal safety regulations. So where can one find those official safety ratings?  It would be quite difficult to find anything very specific.  However, the website of NHTSA can help give detailed safety tips and laws per state.

The government does not actually publish crash test results. Probably because they do not rate or rank the seats' safety using a scale of stars or letters, but only give a "pass" or "fail" grade. Maybe because they don't even test for side impact

Unless you are planning to use a convertible car seat from birth—which can't be readily removed from the car and lugged into the grocery store—the infant seat carrier would be your baby's first (of many) car seats. Ideally, child infant car seats should be bought before the baby is born. Infant  carriers include a handle that lets you to carry baby like a (really heavy) purse, carrying baby from house to your car to mall and back again with relative ease. Infant car seat carriers are constructed from hard, molded plastic and have two major parts: the base and the actual seat.

Almost all infant car seats can be used on its own inside a car or using their base, although a few need the use of their base at all times. Used solo, you merely strap the car seat into your car with the car's seat belts. The disadvantage is you need to safely restrap the seat every time you remove it. (Wrong installation is the cause of nearly all infant car accident injuries.)

On the other hand, you could strap the car seat base into your car (with seat belts), then leave it attached, and snap the seat on and off its base each time you leave the car. Using the car seat base is the most foolproof and handy method, some models snapped off their bases in accidents during crash tests though when the baby rider was close to the weight limit. While those seats were recalled, it is recommended that you pay close attention to the weight and height limits on infant car seats, as they are different with every manufacturer.