Let’s face it, a car seat is really the only item you absolutely need to purchase before your baby is born, after all you can’t even leave the hospital without one. It is the first and most important safety item you will buy and you need to take it seriously.
Before buying a car seat there’s a lot to consider, so doing your research is key. There is so much information out there. So, to help you navigate this decision, here’s what you need to consider when looking for the right car seat:
- An infant carrier is not necessary. Most new parents do not realize that newborns can go right into a convertible car seat, you do not have to buy an infant carrier that will only last you a few months.
- Make sure that the seat is compatible with your car. Not all seats are compatible with every car.
- Check the rear-facing limits. Parents are being encouraged to keep their children rear-facing for up to two years and lower weight limits may restrict this.
- Check the forward-facing limits. Not all seats are rated to 65lbs, some are as low as 40lbs and you may end up needing to buy another seat sooner than you thought.
- Do not buy a seat because it is on sale, the price does not necessarily make it the right seat for your child. And for goodness sakes, do not buy a used car seat! There is no way of knowing the history of the seat and whether it is still safe for use.
- Check the manufacture date on the seat, seats do expire. Some stores do not rotate their stock properly and end up selling seats that are a few years old.
- Make sure that you put the seat in your car prior to buying it to insure that everyone is comfortable. In smaller cars (or with taller adults), some larger child seats make the passenger seat prohibitive to use.
- Go into a few stores and compare seats, look at the difference between manufacturers, quality, design, weight, etc. I promise you will notice a difference.
- If you are going to save a few dollars, do it on a stroller or sleeper, not a car seat. The truth is, there often exists greater safety and comfort advantages to seats of better quality.
- To ensure your car seat is installed properly, either have it installed or inspected by a Certified Child Restraint Safety Technician.
Follow this advice and you will be ready to make one of your first big decisions for your newborn.