No car has dedicated seats for infants and kids; hence, driving with your kids can be uneasy and even dangerous. That is why you need to purchase a dedicated car seat for your infant and kid as per age range as well as weight and height.
There are different types of car seats available for babies, and you should be aware of them to pick the best one for your baby. Here is a detailed guide to the types of car seats for babies and how to choose the right car seat for your child.
- Types Of Car Seats For Your Child
- How To Ensure The Safety of Your Child’s Seat?
- How To Select The Correct Car Seat For a Child?
- Things to Keep In Mind While Installing Car Seat for Child
Types Of Car Seats For Your Child
Here are the common types of car seats for infants and kids that you should know about:
1. Infant Seat
This type of car seat is for infants below two years of age. The car seat is designed to sit on the rear seat and face the seat. This ensures protection in case of any hit and jerk and convenience for parents to attend to their infants easily. Here are the steps to install the car seat.
Step 1: You need to install the car seat in the rear seat of your car. You should fix it in the middle of the rear seat. The angle between them should be 35 to 45 degrees.
Step 2: The child seat should be tied with the car seatbelt. Thereafter, you need to lock the car seatbelt. You can place your hand on the base to tighten the seat belt and use another hand for the shoulder strap.
Step 3: Use the click connect system to firmly fix the child seat into the base. Thereafter, you can check that the seat is not wiggling.
2. Convertible Seat
This type of seat is for infants again, and you can use the seat until your infant outgrows the seat. This means you can use it from the birth of your infant. Since the seat is convertible, you can adjust the height and weight as your infant grows. Therefore, the seat is going to be more cost-efficient in the long run. The seat can be used as a front-facing as well as a rear-facing seat. Here are the steps to install the seat.
Step 1: If you want the seat in a forward-facing position, place it in the backseat. Place the seatbelt through the dedicated forward-facing belt path. Make sure there is no tangle or twist in the belt.
Step 2: Buckle and lock the seatbelt and press the seat down on the rear seat so it sits firmly.
Step 3: Attach the tether to the tether anchor and tighten it properly.
Step 4: If you want the seat to be rear-facing, you have to adjust the recline angle properly. You should fix the infant carrier to the base of the seat.
3. Three-In-One Seat
This type of seat is comparable to convertible seats. You can use this seat for infants and kids until they grow up to sit on a regular seat. They come with latches and harnesses, and you should use them as per the height and weight of the kid. The steps for installation are similar to that of the convertible seats, and you should refer to the manual strictly. You can go for a front-facing as well as a rear-facing seat as per your convenience.
4. Booster Seat
This type of seat is suitable for kids having around 40 pounds of weight. Therefore, it is suitable for slightly grown-up kids. It comes in a front-facing setup, and you can use the seat for kids until they grow up to sit on a regular seat. It is wise to purchase a booster seat with a higher weight for stability. Here are the steps to install a booster seat.
Step 1: Position the booster seat on the car’s rear seat.
Step 2: Use the seatbelt as well as the harnesses available to secure the seat’s position.
Step 3: Ask your kid to sit on the seat and adjust the seat belt accordingly. The base should be stable, and you can adjust it so it can firmly sit on the rear seat.
How To Ensure The Safety of Your Child’s Seat?
After installing the purchased seat for your kid, you can ask your kid to sit on the seat carefully. His back should be flat when he places it against the seat. Thereafter, you can attach the straps over his shoulder and buckle them. Here are some steps you should follow for complete safety.
- The harness should not be more than 2cm over your kid’s shoulder.
- The harness should not have twists and should be completely flat.
- When tightening the harness, you should tighten the upper side first and then go for the lower side.
- If a harness pad is there, you should position it on your kid’s chest for better safety.
How To Select The Correct Car Seat For a Child?
There are a few pointers you need to remember while choosing the car seat for your kid.
1. Always Go For Approved Car Seat
An approved car seat has been tested and certified. This means the seat is safe for your kid and offers maximum protection because it has withstood all the tests and rules set by the regulatory body. For example, ECE R44 and UNR 129 approved car seats are best for kids. You should not compromise even when a car seat is available at an extremely cheap rate.
2. Consider All Parameters
You should consider important parameters such as the height, weight, and age of your child while purchasing a car seat. The following table will help you immensely.
|Type Of Car Seat
|Age in years
|Weight in lbs
|Less than 50 cm
|Convertible rear-facing seat
|Less than 50 cm
|Convertible front-facing seat or three-in-one seat
|50 – 100 cm
|100 – 125 cm
3. Car and Seat Compatibility
You should make sure that the seat you are purchasing for your kid to sit comfortably in your car, it should be compatible with your car or car’s rear seat. You have to check the seat specifications for the kid and the manual of the car to ensure a perfect fitting.
4. Go For a Cost-Effective Seat
It is always safe to purchase a convertible seat for kids when unsure of the exact dimensions and specifications. It is going to be cost-effective as you can adjust it as per height and weight, and therefore, you can use the seat in the long run as well. You will not need to change the seat when your kid grows up.
5. OPT for Side Protection
The side protection of the car seat for your kid is important. That is why purchasing an approved, and certified car seat is needed. This is because side impacts can be fatal for kids. You should check what the car seat has done to minimize side impact.
Things to Keep In Mind While Installing Car Seat for Child
Now that you have bought a car seat for your child as per your preference, it is important to install the seat carefully and perfectly. Here are certain points to ponder.
1. Select A Correct Sport
The car seat for your kid should always be on the car’s rear seat. There should be a significant distance from the airbags. That is why the front seat is not suitable. You have to pay attention that if the airbag opens, it should not hit your infant’s head. Ideally, you should place the seat in the middle of the rear seat of your car. You can keep watching your kid while driving when he is in the middle of the rear seat.
2. Buckle Up Accurately
You should read the manual thoroughly to find out how to buckle up with harnesses and straps properly. Make your kid sit and ensure that the straps fit perfectly so that he is not uncomfortable. There are some seats available with shoulder/armpit straps and clips. You can attach blankets to fill up empty space and make it more comfortable.
3. Get Correct Angle
You should read the manual to find the correct reclining angle depending on the rear-facing or forward-facing posture. The semi-reclined position is most preferred because it keeps the airways perfectly. Some seats allow adjusting the angle conveniently. You can adjust the angle as your kid grows up for maximum comfort and protection.
4. Avoid Forward-Facing Posture
You might feel that a forward-facing posture is more beneficial when driving your car. This helps you to monitor your kid through the rearview mirror. However, it can be dangerous, especially when you apply the hard brake. That is why it is recommended that you avoid the forward-facing posture until your child grows up significantly.
5. Attach A Tether Strap
Whether the seat of your kid is rear or front facing, you should always use a tether strap for anchoring to get maximum protection. The tether strap ensures that the seat stays in its place all the time, and it is highly useful when you apply a hard brake or meet with an accident.
As you can see, several types of car seats are available for infants and kids. We have mentioned them all so you can decide which is better for your kid. A convertible seat is better as it is highly adjustable; therefore, you can use it for years. We have also stated the steps to install them and the points to keep in mind while purchasing the seat. Hopefully, you will make the correct choice now.