If you’re a parent then chances are that a large portion of your attention is locked to your children and their safety. That mentality doesn’t, or shouldn’t, go away once you enter a car, especially if you realize that what you’re driving is 3,000 or more pounds of hard jagged steel, brittle plastic and thin aluminum. Don’t let that worry you though, as while cars can have their bad days when it comes to accidents, they are safer than they’ve ever been.
However when it comes to your kids’ safety it’s probably your life’s work to close the gap between “safe as ever” and “as safe as possible.” With that in mind, you’ve gone and landed the safest SUV around in your driveway, but you’re still missing something not only essential by your own standards, but by the law.
We’re talking of course about the car seat, but you can’t just go onto Amazon and hit the “1-click buy” button without first doing some research. You could end up getting a defective car seat, and that is something you (hopefully) want to avoid.
The world of car seats, as you begin to explore the options, unravels like the universe itself. To know what you’re up against, it’s important to first familiarize yourself with the laws surrounding car seat safety.
According to California state law:
Child safety seat laws vary by state, so be sure to check your state’s website for details.
These laws don’t necessarily mean you must buy three different seats. Most if not all car seat manufacturers make what are called convertible car seats, which can switch from front facing to rear facing. Manufacturers also make what are called all-in-one car seats, which are switchable from front to rear facing, and detaches from its base to make a booster seat.
When looking for an all-in-one or convertible car seat, be sure to pay attention to the weight limits and know that there are specific weight limits for each setting. In other words, a seat might have a label that says it’s tested to 5-110 pounds, but that doesn’t mean the front-facing setting is tested to 110 pounds.
It means the seat as a whole can handle up to 110 pounds, depending on its position. Familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual of whichever seat you decide to buy before you start using it.
To really make sure you’re getting the best car seat, you should be focusing on several factors:
So much of choosing a proper car seat depends on what kind of car you own, so do some research and try to find the best-fitted, safest car seat that fits in your car.
Like anything else there are about a million different brands to choose from, and each of those has its own models, and sometimes several versions of each. Bear in mind each of these is going to vary greatly in price. Also, some are convertible which means they can be rear or forward-facing.
Here are a few models we recommend based on reviews we obtained from experienced parents:
Chicco KeyFit 30 ~ $200
Britax Advocate Clicktight ~ $308
Evenflo Tribute Sport Convertible ~ $60
UPPAbaby Mesa ~ $300-350
Clek Foonf ~ $350-450
Maxi Cosi Mico ~ $200
Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible ~ $300
Some other popular brands:
As each brand carries several different models it’s important to find the model that’s appropriate. For instance, not all Gracos are the same as the Nautilus 65 which accommodates taller kids.
As you can see car seats vary from tens of dollars to hundreds, or sometimes more than a thousand, The trick is to find one that fits your kids and your car, and since you’re paying a lot for it, find one that’s secure.
Not your typical used car salesman. Our team is here to provide honest and transparent advice about car buying and selling.