Finding the right car seat for your little loved one is a crucial process for every parent. Getting something that offers supreme protection, a comfortable experience, fits in the backseat of your car, all in your price range can seem like a daunting task. Luckily, there are a high number of quality safety seats on the market that you should be able to find the perfect seat that meets all of your needs. When shopping for a new child seat, there are a number of features that you should look out for to ensure that you get the most for your money. Buying a new convertible car seat is a significant investment, especially if you are in need of more than one.
Below are just some of the key factors that you should pay attention to when researching your next big purchase. The best car seat is one that will provide years of protection and is something that both you and your child will enjoy using.
Car Seat Shopping Tips
Unfortunately, there tend to be various recalls on certain seats over time. It would be a good idea to check out the latest recalls as well as get some timely advice on how to best use a child seat to make sure that are well informed.
Safety: The is the main purpose of the seat, so you want to make sure that it has all of the modern safety features that will benefit your child in case of an accident. Proper side impact protection is one aspect that is vital. Harness functionality and position, frame construction, and meeting required safety standards are all things that you want to be aware of before buying as well. Added features like using energy absorbing foam are also great to have.
Newer models tend to have more advanced features and tend to benefit from years of testing from previous years models. A lot of manufactures learn what works best over time and they will incorporate it into their latest child seats.
Comfort: While safety always takes precedence, making sure that your child will enjoy riding in the seat is also a key factor. There is nothing worse than buying something that meets all your criteria, only to have the little one throw a fit every time that they are strapped into the seat. Plush and breathable materials will help in this area, as well as having a cup holder. Little things like this can go a long way to making the experience more enjoyable for your child.
Weight: If you plan on moving the car seat constantly between different vehicles, then the weight of the seat is going to be important. If it is too heavy, you are more than likely going to give yourself a back ache or just end up leaving it in just one of your automobiles. Getting something that is easier to move around and store is going to make you happier with your purchase, so keep an eye on how much a particular model that you are interested in weighs. This is something that is easy to overlook.
Price: We all would love to save money, but we may feel like we are compromising safety if we look to save a few bucks. While more expensive car seats may have added safety features, more budget friendly models still should meet all safety standards. If you buy from a reputable store then should not have to worry as these seats should meet all regulations. Typically, the top rated convertible car seats will range between $150 and $350.
Graco makes some car seats that get great reviews and are a good option for those on a tight budget. They don’t sacrifice on safety, and they get nice scores from parents. On the higher end there is Britax line of car seats. The Britax Marathon is one of their best selling convertible car seats that is a good alternative for parents with a little more money to spend. The point is there are plenty of high quality options available no matter your budget.
Do not buy used: While it may be tempting to save a few bucks to get a used model, avoid it if you can. You should never buy a convertible car seat that has already been through an accident, even if there is no apparent damage as the forces of the crash may have weakened some of the vital components of the seat. Car seats also have expiration dates so it is always advisable to be buy a brand new seat from a reputable dealer to ensure that you are getting a seat that is in perfect working condition.
Owner Reviews: One of the best ways to judge how a particular child seat performs, you should read the online ratings from those who have purchased the item and have used it. It is best to look at models that have a lot of feedback as they will give you a more complete picture of how well it is made, how easy it is to use, how easy it is to clean and how well children like riding in it. You will also get a better sense of what some of the weaknesses of a seat may be as people tend to complain more than they do praise something in customer reviews. This is a great source of information for perspective buyers.