Choosing a car seat for your little one can be a tough decision. You want to ensure they are comfortable and, most importantly, safe. When choosing a car seat, there are a few main factors to consider. There are several types of baby car seats, but there are also several for toddlers and older children.

From when to place a child forward-facing to when to move to a booster seat, this handy guide will cover everything you need to know about car seat safety and how to choose the right car seat for your child.

If you want to learn about the best car seats for a baby with reflux, check out toddler. Guide for more information.

If you're driving with a young one, it's important to secure them in an appropriate car seat. Here's how to choose a car seat for your child. #carseat #baby #toddler #parentingadvice #childsafety

How to Choose a Car Seat

Choosing a child car seat is essential in your baby’s life. The most critical factor in choosing a car seat is determining your baby’s weight, height, and age. You can also refer to the seat manual to know more.

If you’re registering or looking to purchase a car seat for your newborn baby, you’ll always want to start with a rear-facing infant seat or a rear-facing convertible seat. From there, you can move to a five-point harness front-facing seat. A booster comes next for your older child.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should remain in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat until they are between eight and twelve years old or four feet nine inches.

Choosing a car seat largely depends on your child’s height and weight. You may also want to consider if you have additional children using these seats or if you’ll want a convertible seat that can grow and transform with your child.

Young mother putting her baby boy in the car seat, fastening seat belts.

Types of Baby Car Seats

Your little one will be in a car seat or booster seat from birth until possibly twelve years old, so ensuring they are in the safest place possible is essential.

Below, we’ll break down the types of car seats and what ages and sizes of children they will best accommodate.

1. Rear-Facing Infant Car Seat

A rear-facing infant car seat is the go-to seat for most new parents. This seat is designed for infants aged five to 22 pounds and must be rear-facing. Since all babies must be rear-facing, an infant car seat will only work facing this way.

One of the significant perks of an infant seat is that they are lightweight and removable, so you can easily pop them out of the car to carry your baby.

You can take the car seat out and safely carry your baby into a store or the house. The car seat then clicks back into the car when you are ready to go.

The base of these car seats will remain secured into the car. This is an excellent option for having bases in multiple cars. You and your spouse, for example, can each have a base in your vehicle. Then you only need one car seat to carry between the two.

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX Infant Car Seat

2. Convertible Car Seat

You’ll want to keep your baby rear-facing until they are at least two years old. Beyond that, they can stay rear-facing until they reach the maximum weight and height for your particular car seat.

When your baby outgrows the infant car seat, a convertible car seat from somewhere like is an excellent option. These can turn forward once your toddler or young child reaches the minimum height and weight requirements.

If possible, a child should stay rear-facing in a five-point harness system until closer to four years old.

If you’d like to purchase one car seat for your child that they can use for a few years, a convertible car seat is an excellent option. These seats can accommodate both rear-facing newborns and toddlers.

An all-in-one convertible seat will also have a booster component. These have three seats in one, including a rear-facing infant seat, a forward-facing toddler and child seat, and a booster for older children.

Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat

3. Booster Seat

A booster seat is a safe way to secure your older child. Boosters are available in a five-point harness option or as a belt-positioning seat.

A five-point harness is best used for your younger children until they are ready for the positioning seat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, this may be around five years old until age nine.

When your child outgrows the five-point harness booster seat, they can sit in a backless booster that sits up high enough to use a seatbelt properly.

With a backless booster seat, your child can wear a traditional seatbelt. A child can stay in this seat until they are tall enough to use the seatbelt safely without it.

Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat, Sprocket

Car Seat Safety Tips

Safety should always be your number one priority for car seats. One of the main things to remember is to check the size requirements of your car seat before you move your child to the next one.

Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. While you may think a child’s legs are getting cramped, kids are flexible. They are likely comfortable facing backward, and having their legs bent is safer than being forward-facing before they are old enough.

A young child’s bones aren’t fully developed. If you turn a child too early or have them in a seat, they aren’t big enough for you. You are opening them up to serious injury or even death.

Remember, when your child can buckle themselves, you should always double-check they are fastened.

Car Seat Installation and Important Notes

Regarding car seat installation, you can take your seat to the store where you purchased it or to a local police or fire station for a safety check. These first responders are trained in car seat safety and installation. They can help make sure your seat is installed correctly.

Remember never to add anything additional to a car seat that didn’t come with the product. Always follow the instructions that come from the manufacturer.

When you’re trying to determine how to choose a car seat for your baby or child, keep their size at the forefront of your mind. For more great tips, check out the parenting section for helpful guides and articles.

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