Having an infant car seat installed in your car is very necessary. If you must drive your kids around, the safest place for them is car seats.
Buying a car seat could be daunting in most cases because there are dozens of brands available on the market. Apart from the stress of choosing one of the best brands, there are other things to be aware of.
Are all infant car seats the same size? Can I use any car seat base on any car seat? These are some of the vital things you need to know for your child’s safety while driving.
In this article, we shall be answering these questions and other related questions to give parents the right knowledge needed to buy the best car seats for their children.
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Table of Contents
Are Baby Car Seats Universal?
No, all car seats are not the same – they slightly vary in weight and height depending on the brand. Before buying an infant car seat, check its dimensions to be sure it will your car.
Another to be wary of is the compatibility between the car seat and the base. In most cases, when you buy a car seat, it comes with a base.
The size of your car may determine the right car seat to purchase. If you need to, test it to see if the car seat for compatibility with your car. This is to ensure that your child is safe throughout the ride.
You can check the instruction manual to get the dimensions of the car seat. In most cases, the weight limit of infant car seats is between 32 and 39 pounds, while the height limit is between 30 and 39 inches.
Therefore, infant car seats are not universal. A car seat must be compatible with its base for safety reasons.
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How To Choose And Match The Right Baby Car Seat With Your Car
According to research, almost half of the time, infant car seats don’t align well with vehicles’ seats. This is because the infant car seats are not properly suited for the vehicles.
Oftentimes, parents spend their time looking for the best car seats for children without considering the size of the car and seat angles. These are two critical factors that determine the perfect match between an infant car seat and the vehicle’s seat.
To make sure you choose the right baby seat for your car, below are the things you need to do.
1. Do Your Car Seat Research Yourself
To get the right seat for your car, you may need to test the model of your car before purchase. This means that you will need to visit the store and talk to the salesperson.
The size of your car should determine the kind of infant car seat to choose. If your vehicle is not large, you don’t need to go for something bulky or heavy. The baby car seat should be proportionate to your vehicle’s size.
If you intend to use the car seat on more than one vehicle, make sure you choose the one that fits the vehicle you intend to use them on.
2. Attend A Car Seat Check Event
Assuming you have bought the infant seat already, attend a car seat event to get useful tips from experts on how to install the model you have. However, if you are technically inclined, you may want to skip this step.
3. Thoroughly Go Through The Instruction Label
When it comes to buying any baby product that needs installation, you need to pay maximum attention to the instruction manual. The safety of your child is non-negotiable and of paramount importance to you.
From the manual, you’ll get to see how the installation should be, the perfect position for the car seat, how tight the seat should be, and the best angle of inclination.
4. Your Family Members Or Babysitter Should Also Understand Car Seat Installation
if you think there is anyone who would likely drive your car with your child inside, the person needs to understand the installation process. Even if the person has a general knowledge of car seat installation, it may still be worth attending a car seat check event.
The installation processes for brands vary slightly and it is necessary that your loved ones understand the personalized instructions for your baby’s car seat.
5. Pay Attention To The Rear-Facing Angles Of The Car Seat
The manufacturers of these car seats have designed and tested the perfect angle for safety. You need to pay attention to the rear-facing seat angles. Most people don’t provide the best angle for rear-facing car seats.
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Should Baby Car Seats Go Behind Driver Or Passenger?
I have seen some cases where parents installed baby seats in the passenger seat. This is very wrong and it should be strongly discouraged for safety reasons. Airbags are dangerous to children no matter how minor a crash could be.
The best position to install an infant car seat or a convertible car seat is in the backseat. For maximum protection, the center backseat seems to be safest. However, behind the passenger or driver seat should be fine.
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How Many Infant Car Seats Can The Back Seat Accommodate?
As long as your vehicle is big enough, there shouldn’t be any problem installing 3 car seats in the backseat of your vehicle. What you need to be mindful of is the installation of the bases.
If the bases are well-installed, it doesn’t matter if the car seats touch each other. Just make sure your car has enough space to accommodate 3 baby car seats.
If you are planning on using more than one car seat for a vehicle, then you should go for a seat that is not bulky and not heavy. You may want to test them to see if the 3 seats can comfortably fit into the backseat.
When To Switch From An Infant Car Seat to A Convertible Car Seat?
Typically, an infant car seat should be used for babies between 0 and 24 months, while a convertible car seat should be used from about 2 to 3 years and above.
However, apart from the age limit, you need to pay attention to the weight limit and height specification of the seat. Once a baby reaches the weight and height limit, you will need to switch to the appropriate seat.
I wrote an article on whether parents need to have both an infant car seat and a convertible car seat.
By now, you should know that all car seats are not the same. You need to choose the one that best fits into your vehicle’s backseat.
Do diligent research to make sure you get the best for your kid. If you plan on installing more than one seat, make sure you go for the right size that fits your car.
If you are installing just one car seat, the center backseat should be your first option. However, if for any reason you decide to use the seats behind the driver or passenger seat, you can go ahead.