Types of Car Seats: A Buyer’s Comprehensive Guide

Types of Car Seats: A Buyer’s Comprehensive Guide

There are basically three types of car seats – the infant car seat, the convertible car seat, and the booster car seat. More importantly, a safe car seat is an essential product you will need to buy for your child. Every child needs to be secured and harnessed in a car seat that’s appropriate for their weight and height. When shopping for car seats, you need to take several things into consideration. You need to choose the right car seat for your child based on his age, height and weight . A safe car seat is one that is a perfect fit for your child. After all, child safety and health is a top priority. You also need to make sure that the car seat installs easily and properly into your car. A car seat that is not properly installed will cause your child more harm than good when in a crash.

Types of Car Seats

When you are buying your first ever car seat, you have 3 types of car seats to choose from. Children can outgrow car seats rather quickly, so it’s important to monitor each seat’s weight and height maximums. Before you know it, they’ll be using the adult lap belt. Read below to help determine which car seat type is best for your needs.

types of car seats for infantsInfant Car Seats

This is the first type of car seat most new parents would buy. It is a rear-facing car seat, which is recommended for newborns and young babies. A large percentage of these seats come as a travel system. This means the car seat can be detached and attached to a separate car seat base using a LATCH system. Some carriers would require an adapter so it can attach to a chassis. If the car seat and chassis are of the same brand, they are most likely to be compatible and would not need an adapter for the bases. Some car seat carriers though are compatible with chassis of different brands.

  • Infant seats provide the perfect fit for infants and small babies.
  • Most models can comfortably accommodate babies from as small as 4 pounds and up to 40 pounds.
  • They come with an infant insert to fit smaller babies. They also have a 5 point harness system with front adjustments and straps. Using a five point system is usually safer than a three point system.

If your child becomes too tall before he becomes too heavy for this car seat, it’s time for a new one. You will need to get him a car seat appropriate for his height: the crown of your baby’s head should always be about one inch from the topmost shell of the car seat. The fit should be snug but not too restraining. The infant car seat may be small for your baby if he exceeds the maximum height limit recommendation.

Convertible Car Seat

When you are buying your first ever car seat, you can opt for an infant car seat or opt to invest a bit more for a convertible car seat. It will end up saving you money in the long run. When your baby exceeds 40 pounds, he will no longer fit in his infant car seat and you may need to buy a new one. Additionally, an infant car seat is only rear-facing. If you want a more versatile car seat, one that your child can use for a longer period of time, you should go for a convertible car seat.

  • A convertible seat is ideal for newborns all the way until your infant is about two years old.
  • These car seats can be either rear facing seats or forward facing car seats, ideal for older babies.
  • A convertible car seat has a similar restraint system to an infant’s car seat.

This type of car seat has a higher weight limit when used rear-facing. This means a baby over 40 pounds can still be in this rear-facing car seat. That is the feature that the American Academy of Pediatrics likes most about convertible car seats. The AAP believes that a rear-facing car seat is the safest of all types of car seats. Thus the longer babies are kept in rear-facing car seats, the safer it is for them. When the child is ready, this car seat can simply be converted into a forward-facing car seat and eventually into a booster seat. If you choose a convertible car seat for your newborn, make sure it comes with a newborn insert so your baby can comfortably fit into the car seat. 

All-In-One Car Seat

This is a great value car seat because your child can use it from birth up to the time he is ready for the car’s safety belt. This is a variation of a convertible car seat. It can shift from rear-facing car seat to a forward facing car seat all the way into a booster seat (3 in 1).

  • Rear-facing, can accommodate babies from 4 to up to 45 pounds
  • Forward facing (with harness), can accommodate children from 25 pounds up to 65 pounds
  • Booster mode, it can accommodate children up to 120 pounds.

This type of car seat is heavy and really large. The carrier is not detachable. It may be difficult to smaller cars and even smaller babies. Car seat installation can be tricky so make sure you read the manual.

types of car seats for toddlersBooster Seats

You child will need a booster seat he becomes too big for a forward-facing car seat.

  • The child uses the seatbelt of the car seat.
  • Booster car seats lift the child at the center of his collarbone so the built-in car seat belts perfectly fits him.
  • Available as a high back booster and backless booster models.

The high-back models are more preferred because they provide more protection for impacts and the shoulder seat belt is better positioned. However, the backless models are easier to install and are more portable. The law in most States says that children should be kept in booster seats until they are 9 years old or at least 80 pounds and should be in the back seat, not the front seat, of the vehicle.

Each type of car seat has its own pros and cons: the convertible car seat provides a lot of versatility for a better value, but an infants car seat makes it much easier to transport your baby in and out of the car. Choosing the right type of car seat for your child and your car can be difficult, but do your research and pick which one is best for you needs. Whichever type you go with, always make sure your child is securely restrained and buckled in the car seat. After all, car seat safety and passenger safety is a top priority.

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