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Choosing a Car Seat: Perhaps the Most Important Parental Decision You Will Ever Make

car seat belt

Riding in a car is just flat out scary.  Or…it should be.  Car accidents are one of the leading causes of child and infants deaths.  Properly buckling your child in a car seat is not only the law, it just makes good sense.  But what car seat is the best?

The information can be overwhelming.  First, you will want to know the laws about car seats for your particular state.  They are not all the same.  Many require your baby to face the rear of the car up until a certain age or weight.  As your child grows in height and in age, the regulations will change as well so be sure to keep up.

There are a number of places that you can go online to find out the safety ratings of car seats.  You can not only compare safety features and ratings, but cost and other details too.  Consumer report’s website is one such place you can find information.

You can actually get an all-in-one car seat that is designed to be the one and only one your child will ever need.  There are some pretty decent ones out there but I did not find one I felt was good enough in ALL areas, only those that were GOOD ENOUGH in all areas.  To me, there’s a big difference.

Keep in mind that different tests are performed and those tests are performed by different sources so what seat is the number one best of the best is a bit up in the air.  Some brands that offer great seats with great ratings are: Britax, Graco, Saftety 1rst and Recaro.  Costco has a good car seat that is priced right too.  Sunshine Kids is a less heard of one but a nice, safe, affordable one all the same.

My personal favorite is Britax and is the model I chose in the birth to two years of age version.  I picked it for the safety ratings and some other factors I liked.  Some of the disadvantages are that it is larger than ones that fit in the front of a grocery cart or on the upside-down high chair hook ups at restaurants.  But I chose it for safety in the car, not for other conveniences so I just deal with the drawbacks.

Just because one brands gets an “A” for infant rating does not necessarily mean the same is true when it comes to their toddler or booster seat versions.  Choosing a great, safe seat is among the most important things you will do as a parent so please, do your homework.  Check out more than one source for the ratings too because a particular company may be sponsoring the test or even the online page you are reading.

Life, these days, pretty much requires having or being in a vehicle.  That’s just how it is.  Your child will most likely spend a good amount of his or her childhood in the car which means, for the early years, in a car or booster seat.  Choose wisely, like your child’s life depends upon it because…you never know when it might.