There are laws requiring the use of a baby car seat that prevent careless moms and dads from leaving the hospital without having their baby safely buckled up. Most of us wouldn't take that chance even if the law allowed but the law is in place for those who would to protect the innocent.
And that's what baby safety seats are all about; keeping your baby from being hurt in a carwreck. Modern moms want the best protection available for her child. That might mean a different car seat for baby when he or she is travelling in a stroller or boarding an airplane, so get ready to study the latest information to make an informed decision.
I don't give legal or technical advice, but I will share my listing of the sites that give really good information about baby seat safety and videos on proper installation with you.
I hate those ultra-formal technical car seat reviews and guides that give confusing car seat safety test results. I prefer a much less formal (and easy to understand) format of basic info on the types of carseats that are available and where to go to get that technical stuff when you absolutely must have it. I'd much rather think about fun stuff like elegant seat covers and cute diaper bags!
For those of you still at the basic level of research in buying a safe and highly rated car seat for baby, I've checked the 'other jillions of sites and listed what I've seen as the most widely recommended car seats for baby in each category.
Decisions, decisions! There are travel systems that work with your stroller and work as a baby carrier, and then there are convertible car seats and booster seats. Then come the considerations that must be made according to safety rating, recall, regulation, the law and of course there are endless review sites to read. The list just keeps going on into infinity. Put down the paper bag we're not going to let you hyperventilate...
Here are those basics I mentioned of course they change rather often, but as of the time of this article:
Infant Only Seats All are rear facing and have an approx. 20 pound weight limit. The top pick in this category is the Graco Snugride. Priced from $69 to $100
Convertibles: They face both rear and forward with an approx. 30 pound weight limit. The top pick in this category is the Britax Roundabout. Price $200 to $220
Yep, it's pricey, but I can recommend this one personally! It is one fine carseat! HERE'S A TIP!Take a look at the Britax MARATHON, it's pricey at $220 to $270 but for almost the same price as the roundabout you get rear facing time from up to 33 pounds and forward facing to 65 pounds! The Roundabout forward facing weight limit is 40 pounds! See you get 25 additional pounds of use!
Child Booster seats: These are belt positioned by the shoulder belts in your car. They are used for children over age 3 who have a weight of approx. 40 pounds.
Top Picks in this category: Best High back booster - Graco Turbobooster Best Portable High Back Booster - Compass B500, Best Backless Booster - Graco Backless Turbobooster, Best Combo - The Cosco Eddie Bauer High Back
If you are buying a used car seat for baby:
inspect all belts, connectors and upholstery for damage
Ask if the seat has ever been in an accident. If so, find another seat.
Locate the manufacturers label on the seat. If it's been removed or is unreadable, find another seat.
Make sure the manual is included. You can probably get another using the information on the label, but why not save yourself some steps. Unless the seat is like new or someone is giving it to me I would probably pass on one without a manual.
Check to see if there is a recall associated with this particular model.
All new seats must pass Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. This does not mean that every one of them rates highly with the parents actually using them.
Let me first say that I have no commercial interest in the Britax brand.
I'm simply a biased Britax fan. I apologize to the mothers who raised perfectly fine, undamaged children who rode thousands of miles in lesser, I mean OTHER brands.
I would suggest that you put the Marathon, the Roundabout or the Boulevard side by side with the other brands and you be the judge.
A TIP: If you should happen to have an accident ask that your insurance company get you a new carseat. I would not use one that has been in an accident for my child.
When your child moves up into a booster or into the grown up seat belts put your old seat up for sale immediately. You will usually get at least 50% of the original purchase price if you took my advice and got a Britax.
Now that you know how to find a car seat that not only meets all guidelines and got great reviews from moms, go get it!
NEW! BABY CAR SEATS
Tell us all about the newest, coolest baby seats right here!