Right from the time the child is in the womb till the baby is delivered till they have grown older, as parents we don’t want to do anything to hurt them or even want them to touch anything that can cause them harm. We start ensuring that right from the time they are born. There are some parents who are scared to even hold the child or bathe the child for the first time due to the fear of hurting them or causing them harm. I remember when I childproofed the house even before the baby was born so that there is nothing that can hurt them when they are small.
Considering all of this care that is taken and when we talk about buying a car seat for our kids, is it even needed? Isn’t it too expensive? The kid will outgrow this can we take one that will work till he/she grows? Can we just manage with a convertible car seat? We are talking about the kids growing years when they are the most delicate and need the utmost care. The reason that parents think so, could also be due to the fact that they don’t understand the importance of a car seat.
When we were kids, probably our parents didn’t use car seats. However, at that time not only the number of cars were lesser; but also that time the number of accidents that used to take place was much lesser. As every year passes, we hear more and more accidents taking place and most of these accidents have involved kids. Hence having a car seat should become the top and utmost priority for any parent.
Holding the baby in your arm and on the lap is the worst decision possible. Not only it endangers the kids more, also the baby is not protected from the jerks that arise due to a crash or collision which could lead to a fatal injury. The first thing that we need to understand is that the kid’s body is not as strong and durable as an adult. A baby’s body is made up of soft cartilage, which later gets converted to bone. Due to this, the internal organs of the baby are not well-protected which makes them more susceptible to injuries during accidents. There are also other factors that make the car crashes more dangerous for children.
The brain and the spinal cord are the most critical and important organs of the body. These organs are still in the developing stages as far as kids are concerned. Any sort of damage to these organs in kids could prove to be fatal.
A child is much smaller as compared to an adult. Due to the smaller structure, even their body weight is much lesser, due to which even a slight jerk or bump (not felt by adults) could send the hitting the roof, just increasing the possibility of an injury.
Also, the kids have very less self-control when it comes to their bodies. An adult will know when to sit still and when to move. However, when it comes to kids they will wriggle any time if they are not properly secured, making them susceptible to injuries, in case of a crash.
The answer to all these issues is having a car seat. The car seat is designed to keep the child safe and to prevent any sort of fatal injury that the kid might be vulnerable to in case of a car crash. Let’s just say that a car seat is a must-have for your child.
The other question being that how to choose the best car seat for your kid. There are many different types of car seats available – there is convertible car seat stroller, then are convertible car seat rear facing and so on. The first thing that’s very important to understand is that the requirements of a toddler are different than an older kid. Yes, it’s true that kids are known to grow pretty fast and then to outgrow all their clothes and even toys for that matter. The same thing applies for car seats. The car seat that you purchase for a toddler might only be for a year and after that, you would need to purchase a new one so that the new car seat is more compatible with their growth requirements.
Also, the other thing to remember is it’s not enough to have the car seat installed. You need to ensure that you use the same. Also, there some points or common mistakes that need to be taken care of.
The child should fit snuggly into the car seat so that it offers maximum security. If the car seat is either too small or too big, the amount of protection or security offered is lesser.
The car seat for a toddler is meant to be rear facing again so that the protection offered can be adequate. If the car seat is not positioned correctly even the best convertible car seat won’t give the required amount of protection.
The car seat base needs to be flat against the seat and also it should be fastened correctly, then it doesn’t serve the required purpose.
While installing, the car seat ensures that it is fully attached to the base and further its done securely.
Further, if the car seat is not buckled fully, or are too loose, they miss out on the protection needed.
What to look for while buying a Car Seat?
While buying a car seat, there certain factors that need to be kept in mind –
Ease of use
The car seat should satisfy the various safety norms and should have the highest possible quality. Along with that, the car seat needs to be easy to install. It doesn’t make sense if the car seat is bought and is so difficult to install that it is just lying around in the house. Then not having or having the car seat is the same. Also, once its installed the usage of the car seat also needs to be simple so that the post-installation usage is also simple.
A 5-point harness
The car seat should have a total of 5 straps i.e., one for each hip one and for each shoulder and the final one which goes between the baby’s legs. This is needed to ensure that the child is properly secured in its car seat and is completely protected. Most of the latest car seats have this in-built automatically. However, you might want to check and confirm the same and ensure that it present in the car seat that you are considering for your baby.
In the high-end and the more expensive car seats, there are special shocks or impact-absorbing foams present all around, especially around the baby’s chest and head so that the child is very well protected from any kind of jerks and impact.
Most of the convertible car seats are designed in such a way that posts the infant stage; the same car seat can be used until the child grows. To be able to achieve this, there are adjustments provided which need to be changed as and when the child grows. These adjustments let you to make changes and manage the changes in height. Some of the modern car seats even have belt adjustments that can be managed single-handedly and even the buckles provided have a quick release mechanism.
(lower anchors and tethers for children) LATCH
This is now present at all convertible car seats which allow the seat to be connected directly to the vehicle’s frame; this is in place of the seat belts that are ideally used to secure the kids. To support this system, the convertible car seats come furnished with lower anchor connectors and a top tether strap. However, the manufacturers suggest that the top-tether strap should not be used in the rear facing position. Also, you will need to check the weight limit of LATCH, so that you are aware of what point the seatbelts need to be used.
Comfort is of the most important especially for the baby so that there are no discomforts during the ride. The seat needs to be well-padded and also there should be loads support of head for the child’s head so that its well protected against jerks and impacts.
And finally, these are infants and toddler that we are referring to. Thus further making us aware of the kind of mess that they can create. Hence it’s very important that the car seat can be easily removed, washed and replaced as and when needed. Thus ensuring cleanliness and hygiene.
Best Car Seats in the Market
There are quite a few car seats available in the market. We have listed some below to help narrow your search and get you started.
Graco Milestone All-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, Gotham, One Size
This is actually a convertible car seat that works as an infant rear-facing seat to an even a forward facing car seat as when the infant grows, transforming further to a belt-positioning booster for more grown kids.
It has a Simply Safe Adjust Harness System which helps change the height of the headrest and the harness quickly, ensuring that the child is always secured properly.
There are up to 4 levels for recline which helps ensure any child to be comfortable be it the rear- or forward-facing modes.
This comes with best and exclusive LATCH system which provides quick attachment and fast secure installations with a built-in 5-point harness system.
Height: head must be at least 1″ below handle.
Care – Metal and plastic parts may be cleaned with mild soap & cool water
Graco Recline N’ Ride 3-in-1 Car Seat Featuring On The Go Recline
This recline is designed to give you adjustments with one hand without having to either install the car seat or even the baby is not disturbed for that matter.
It comes with Several recline options, mainly four rear-facing and four forward-facing options
A convertible car seat that can be used right from the infant stage to grown kid stage, allowing you almost 10 yrs of use.
Quick and simple adjustable harness system which changes the height of the harness and headrest in one quick motion.
The headrest can be adjusted for up to 10-positions so that it can easily adapt to the growing child.
Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat, Verve
This car seat is as easy to install as buckling a seat belt.
To accommodate the growth of the child it has a 14-position harness along with a 2-position buckle fit, ensuring that your child is comfortable.
A unique 7-position recline for the kids.
The seat is designed for safety with steel frame and an impact absorbing base as well as impact protection in the sides.
A car seat is of utmost importance and should also be comfortable for the baby when he/she is an infant and also as they are growing up. Ensure that you buy the best convertible car seat, after checking out all convertible car seat reviews that are available.