Baby Car Seats Tips

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Types of Baby Car Seats

There are quite a few different types of baby car seats to choose from these days. Of course, when baby is just an infant you'll most likely have the carrier car seat that attaches to a stroller and to a base that is installed onto the car seat. This carrier carseat, however, is only good for the first few months, though. Once the baby starts to get bigger you'll have to get a permanent car seat, since she won't fit into the infant carrier comfortably anymore.

When looking to replace the infant car seat there are a few choices to consider. You could get a rear facing car seat that will work with babies up to 20 lbs, these may cost less since they are used for a shorter period of time, but will need to be replaced as the baby gets bigger.

Convetible car seats are probably your best bet. These also come in different varieties, though, so you have to look for one that best suits your needs. If your baby is under 20 lbs and under a year, look for a convertible car seat that can be installed rear facing and that will also work forward facing once the baby is big enough and over a year.

Some car seats work only forward facing for babies at least 20 pounds, so if you choose this one you'll have to wait until the baby is a year old to use it. Be sure that you can use the infant rear facing car seat until then.

Another feature to consider is the weight capacity. Try to find a car seat that will accommodate your baby until about 80 or 100 pounds. These may cost a little more, but you will use this chair until your child can ride without a car seat at all. If your seat only holds up to 50 or 60 lbs. then you will have to get a booster seat until your child reaches about 80-100 lbs.

All baby car seats have to pass certain safety guidelines, so they are all safe. The best way to pick the right one is to go to the store and test all the ones you like to make sure they will work for you and your baby.


Older Car Seats

Some things like clothes can be handed down for years, but when it comes to baby car seats, it is best not to use anything older than five years. They can start to deteriorate and the plastic can break down due to regular wear and tear. Most car sears have an expiration date on their label so be sure to check for that, or call the manufacturer with the model number and name to get that information.

Even though it may sound great to save some money if you have an older car seat you think you can use, it is not worth the risk. Be sure that your baby car seat is in good working order and intact, if any of the parts or plastic is cracked or broken do not use and get a new one. There are many types and styles and you are sure to find one that is both safe and that can fit your budget.


Baby Car Seat Safety

The purpose of a car seat is to keep your baby safe, so it's important that it is installed right so that it can perform its function well. Many fire departments and law enforcement agencies offer car seat safety clinics where they show you step by step how to install it correctly. They will also check to make sure the seat is installed right if you did it yourself and some even install it for you at no cost. You can simply call to make an appointment at your nearest location.

Here are some things to remember about car seat safety every time you use it:

  • Make sure that the car seat harness is fastened tightly, no more than two fingers witdth between the straps and the baby.

  • Keep the straps in the slots at or below baby's shoulders for the rear-facing position.

  • Use the harness setting that is closest to your infant's body, but not underneath it.

  • Position your baby to ride in a semi-reclined position at 45 degrees from horizontal. Utilize a tube or rolled towel underneath the seat to adjust the car seat to the correct reclining angle.

Of course, it goes without saying that you should make sure that the car seat you have purchased is the right size for your baby's hight and weight.


Car Seat Harness Tip

Many parents forget to consider that a convertible car seat should be comfortable for them as well as the baby. No, not comfortable for you to sit on, although some of those seats sure do look comfortable! What I mean is comfortable for you to get the baby in and out of it multiple times a day with considerable ease.

So, an important feature is a good harness. Make sure it is sturdy and well padded so it doesn't dig into the baby. Also, check that it stays in place well, some models tend to have harness straps that twist too easily and before you know it they become so entwined that you have to take the whole thing apart to get them straight again.

The anchor clips should be hard to open by the baby, but at the same time they ought to come off quickly once you press the button. Make sure they are also easy to click in, or else your back runs the risk of being stiff from so much fumbling with uncooperative clips.


Register your Baby Car Seat

When you first get your baby's car seat make sure you send in the registration card. This is easy enough to do just fill out the card that comes with the seat which is usually a small card with a few questions about you and the product. It usually comes with pre-paid postage so it's very convenient to send in.

It is always a good dea to send the card because it will allow you to get updates, news and information on the car seat. It also makes it easy for the manufacturer of the seat to send you any recall information shall there be any.

You can also check the Consumer Product Safety Council website to check for any recalls yourself, just to be sure that your car seat continues to be safe.


Covers for Baby Car Seats

A cover for your baby's car seat can be very useful when the weather is cold outside. These covers can add warmth for the baby, instead of a jacket, while in the car. Many car safety experts suggest a car seat cover because jackets can be bulky and interfere with the car seat harness and straps.

You can find covers to fit most car seat shapes, or get one made specifically for your particular brand. These car seat covers can also provide a layer of protection against spills or diaper bomb accidents. They are not too expensive and are definitely worth getting.

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Christina Chan