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How do I Choose the Best Toddler Car Seat?

Mary Ellen Popolo
Mary Ellen Popolo

Buying a toddler car seat involves more than picking a cute design or color. Safety should be the primary concern in choosing a seat, and this means making sure that the seat is appropriate for your child's age, height, and weight. Other things to consider are the type of seat, the style, color or design and the price.

The most common type of toddler car seat is called a convertible car seat. Convertible seats are forward facing seats with a five point harness system that are anchored into the car using the vehicle's seat belts or a Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system. These seats later convert into either a high backed or backless booster seat. One of the decisions to make when purchasing a seat is which type of booster seat you want when your child is ready for one.

A convertible toddler car seat is the most commonly used type.
A convertible toddler car seat is the most commonly used type.

Another factor that should play a large part in your decision is whether it is relatively easy to use the toddler car seat. Things to consider are how easy it is to get the child in and out of the seat, ease of use of the harness, and the difficulty of installing the seat in a vehicle, especially if you will frequently move it from one vehicle to another. Read car seat reviews and ask friends, neighbors, or parents of classmates what type of car seat they use and what they like or don't like about it.

Once you have found the right type of toddler car seat, you can choose from various prints, designs and colors. Let your child help pick out the seat and choose a favorite color or design. Look for seats with features that you think are necessary, such as a cup holder or cushioned head rest. You can also bring your toddler to the store to try out seats and see which he finds comfortable and fits in well. Remember to use the seat's height and weight guidelines rather than comfort, solely, to make the decision.

In 2011, a toddler car seat may cost anywhere from less than $100 US Dollars to several times that amount. The price depends largely upon the type of seat. Other factors, however, such as accessories, manufacturer, and the design or style of the seat also contribute to the cost.

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    • A convertible toddler car seat is the most commonly used type.
      By: zakaz
      A convertible toddler car seat is the most commonly used type.