Parent Time

How to Buy the Safest Car Seat to Best Protect Your Infant, Baby or Child

Most if not all states require that parents bring the newborn baby home in an approved baby car seat, and no wonder! When car seats are installed and used correctly, up to 75% of injuries to infants can be prevented in the event of auto accidents. Some hospitals will loan out free or rental car seats to new parents, but you're going to have to buy one of your own, so make sure and get the seat that meets your needs while providing for your child's safety. You can buy car seats online, as long as they meet the government standards. Like any piece of equipment, beware if the discount price seems too good to be true: you may be buying someone else's old and less-than-perfect car seat.

You may want to compare car seats by price and style, since the rules tend to be the same for all of them. All new baby car seats are inspected and have to meet particular safety standards. The exception to the rule may be in the case of used car seats, which may have failed before or been involved in a vehicle accident that resulted in damage to the seat. If a friend offers you a car seat that their child has outgrown, chances are it's in perfect condition, but don't buy a cheap one used from a stranger unless you have some guarantee that it's perfect. You may decide to get a rental if you're traveling, but make sure it's from a reputable dealer. In general, parents don't need to worry too much about buying a car seat that's been recalled—stores tend to get them off the shelves within the day—but it never hurts to check the recall websites before buying any new product for baby.

Government and State Regulations on Car Seats for Infants and Children

Child car seat safety laws vary by state and country, so make sure you understand the regulations of your area before buying a car seat for your youngster. Also, make sure any toy your child has while in the car seat does not present a choke hazard and has no hard edges that can create a dangerous projectile in the event of a sudden stop. And always use the correct harness and straps when securing your child into the car seat, even for a trip around the corner. It only takes a few seconds to create the safety your child deserves.

When it comes to car seats, you have a lot to choose from. Since they are government regulated and inspected for safety, even cheap brands should provide the safe you’re your baby needs in the car. But there are so many options, and you can buy car seats for every taste. Britax may make the Porsche of all car seats, but Eddie Bauer also creates perfect seating for little ones. Other well-known baby brands include Graco, Evenflo, Mamas and Papas and Babys-R-Us. Car companies like Jeep are building vehicles with back seats designed to hold most standard car seats.

Additional Car Seat Accessories and Covers

Infant seats can also be accommodated with car seat covers. These are not required by law, but many parents like them because they provide extra warmth, cushion and bunting for the baby, whose little face peeks out like a flower from a cozy bed. Car seat covers are available in a range of styles and fabrics, from warm and wooly to cool and comfy. Available in pink, blue and nearly any other color under the rainbow, they can be fit to the car seat with the baby seated on top, or placed over the baby like a little sleeping bag. Want a tough look? Try camouflage or a leather seat cover to match the current trend. You can find any cover pattern you can imagine, and some seamstresses are making custom covers for just the perfect fabric. Whether it's a unique pattern you want, an especially cozy cover for winter, or a plastic protector for long car trips with lots of spills, there are car seat covers to match ever need. The car seat cover is the perfect baby accessory.

Continue reading more baby information about Car Seat Regulations

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