Car seats help keep children safe when they are in the car. But there are many different seats on the market, so it can be difficult to know which one is right for your child.
How to Buy a Good Car Seat
Before buying a car seat, make sure it has a safety rating that meets or exceeds the standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It should be labeled “child restraint system” or “infant/child booster.” Look at its history, too. The manufacturer should give you the year it was made and the age range the seat is intended for.
The best car seat for your child will fit the height and weight limit of your vehicle and meet your child’s needs as they grow. The seat should also be easy to install.
It’s a good idea to try out a few different seats before deciding on one. That way, you can see how they fit and feel in your car before spending money on a specific model.
How to Properly Install a Car Seat
The most important part of installing a car seat is making sure it’s correctly fitted and properly secured. To ensure that, follow the seat’s instructions and use the tether strap (if it has one) to secure the seat in the back of your vehicle. The tether strap is usually attached to the top of the car seat and connects to an anchor in your vehicle. Check your vehicle’s manual for the location of the tether anchor.
To make sure the harness is properly snug, try the “pinch test.” With your thumb and index finger, pinch the harness near your child’s collarbone. If you can pinch any excess webbing between your fingers, the harness is not snug enough.
A seat that’s too tight will interfere with the airflow of your car and prevent your baby from regulating their temperature. The best car seats have breathable materials and extra padding that keeps babies comfortable while riding in the car.
Choose a Car Seat with Comfort features
Toddlers often dislike being restrained, but a comfortable seat can make all the difference in their journeys. The Nuna Rava, for example, offers a 10-position reclining seat that’s easy to adjust, plus plenty of leg room in rear-facing mode and a calf support feature when forward facing.
It’s also Greenguard Gold certified, so it’s free of flame retardants and has an anti-rebound bar that helps prevent injury in crashes.
The Britax B-Safe Gen2 is a great choice for infants up to four pounds and can be used forward-facing as a toddler. It has a lot of padding, so it’s comfortable for babies and is built with strong materials that won’t break down quickly. However, it’s not the best seat for large infants as they may feel a bit constrained or uncomfortable in it.