How do I Choose the Best Infant Car Seat?

Angela Crout-Mitchell

When choosing the best infant car seat for your needs there are several important considerations that must be made, including whether you prefer an infant only car seat model or one that converts as the child grows older. Many parents also consider the information found in consumer reports regarding the safety and efficiency of each model, as well as the comfort and cleaning options of the seat. In most places, it is illegal to have a child or infant not properly restrained in a vehicle. There are several types of car seat options to fit easily into most vehicles, regardless of the seat belt design.

Some infant car seats are convertible, meaning they can be used after the child outgrows the infant stage.
Some infant car seats are convertible, meaning they can be used after the child outgrows the infant stage.

Parents can choose an infant car seat designed only for the first few months to a year of the child's life or a model that offers adjustment features to allow the seat to be used for a longer period of time. Some new parents feel more comfortable choosing a car seat made for the infant stage alone, as these seats are always designed to be rear facing and are smaller to allow a snugger fit for the infant. Other baby car seat models are made with extra features that allow it to be converted as the child grows. It is not unusual for these seats to also function as a part of a stroller or as an infant carrier as well.

The most important aspect of choosing an infant car seat is safety, and parents have several options available to learn more about the safety features of the available car seats. Consumer report websites and materials are ideal for parents to review how well each car seat model performs in durability, safety, and comfort tests. These reports also highlight other important information, such as ease of use and special features the car seat may have. Child care experts recommend researching your options carefully to ensure you choose the safest car seat possible for your infant.

In addition to safety concerns, most parents also want to choose an infant car seat that is easy to care for and comfortable for their child during car trips. Most infant car seats have removable plush cushions for easy washing and access to the hard plastic seat for cleaning. Experts suggest that new parents spend some time exploring their infant car seat options in the store and evaluate the softness and comfort of the different models first hand, as the car seat should be purchased before the child's birth.

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