We had an interesting inquiry this month from a parent: “My child is outgrowing his/her infant seat and I am ready for the next stage- what should I be looking for?”
There are many factors to consider in order to come up with the best next-level car seat for your baby. As a toddler, your child’s safety needs change from those during the infancy stage. A convertible car seat must meet Federal regulations to ensure your child’s safety, as well as include these following five important qualities.
Maximum weight for rear/forward-facing position
Children below two years of age are required by law to be in a rear-facing car seat. A great convertible car seat allows a smooth transition from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing one. Knowing the manufacturer’s maximum weight and height limit for both positions means you can easily switch the car seat as your child grows.
Our first pick: Maxi Cosi Pria 85 convertible car seat
. It can transition for rear-facing use from 14-40 lbs. to a forward-facing position at 40-85 lbs. (allowing you to use it for much longer than any other seat on the market). Each unit comes with clear labels to help you with the correct positioning.
A safety harness system
Keeping baby protected during travel is a must, and there are no compromises about it. Strapping your little one onto a car seat should never be done perfunctorily. When shopping around for your baby’s car seat, be on the lookout for a five-point safety harness system. It ensures proper fit and maximum safety for your toddler during car trips.
Our first pick: The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 5/65
. It features a tangle-free five-point car seat harness which distributes crash forces to the strongest part of a child’s body. The Britax car seat also has a generous height and weight limit in 5-point-harness mode so you can keep your child safely strapped for longer (up to 90 pounds!).
Ease of installation
Child car safety shouldn’t be a complicated affair, nor should it consume precious time and effort. A great convertible car seat is designed with easy installation and a smooth transition from rear to forward-facing positions in mind.
Our first pick: The Britax Clicktight Collection
. All seats feature Britax's revolutionary clicktight technology allowing you to install your seat in two simple steps, correctly every single time!
Convenience ranks high when it comes to selecting a convertible car seat for your baby. If you travel a lot with your child, consider a car seat that offers more than the usual safety “must-haves” so you can have peace of mind. Features that adjust to your specific needs are ideal, so carefully look over these seemingly minute details when shopping for a convertible car seat.
A convertible car seat may meet all the safety requirements and needs of your toddler, but at the end of the day, it should fit in your car’s backseat. Many customers end up returning what they thought was the ideal car seat because they forgot that one important rule: proper measurement. Always refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual first. This will give you an idea of where you should install your baby’s car seat, and if it will fit properly.
You can also ask for assistance from Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technicians from your local hospital, police station, or fire station. These CPS technicians are trained and government-certified to help make sure that your baby car seat is correctly and safely installed.