Infant Car Seats - What to Look for
Infant car seats should be purchased for any baby who weighs less than 20 pounds. It can be more cost efficient to purchase an infant-toddler car seat that can be converted when the baby weighs more than 20 pounds. But all experts will agree that babies are safer in infant car seat because they are designed for the smaller baby to give support in all the necessary places. Your baby should be comfortable. You should get a car seat that has lots of cushioning and plenty of head support. The Graco infant car seat is one of the most popular car seats for infants and range in price from $80 to $170.
These are some things to look for when you are shopping for a car seat for your infant.
It should be easy to install. It is very important that the car seat is installed properly and according to the manufacturer's specifications. When buying a car seat, remember that simpler is better. If a car seat looks like it will be difficult to install, it probably is.
A smaller baby needs more adequate restraints to hold him in the seat. Look for infant seats that have a five point harness. These will have one strap for each of the baby's shoulders, one strap for each of his thighs, and one between his legs. These straps are safer for an infant since they are more adjustable than plastic shields or T-bar restraints.
Avoid car seats that require you to fasten the seatbelt in the rear of the seat. The seatbelt adjustment should be easy to reach.
It must have the right anchors. Starting in September 2002, all new infant safety seats had to be compatible with the LATCH system (LATCH is short for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children). Rather than using a seatbelt to hold the infant seat in place, this system uses two anchors for the bottom of the seat and a one tether for the top of the seat. This makes installation of the seat easier and safer because the seat is attached directly to the car.
Babies are always a mess. Consider purchasing a seat with a removable infant car seat cover so that you can keep the car seat clean. It may be tough to find this feature because many car seats do not come with removable infant car seat covers. Be sure to check the car seat you are purchasing to see if the car seat cover can be removed.
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The most important thing to consider what buying a car seat for your infant is safety. Remember, the car seat should be easy to install, have adequate restraints, and have the correct anchors for attaching it to the car.