If you are anything like me, you’ve poured over car seat research, reading safety reviews, customer reviews, finding the safest seat for your little one. Then you order it and 2 months later your kid is nearing the height limit. There’s a lot more to buying a car seat than the mound of research. Check out what you need to know for choosing the right seat after the jump…
Take a good look at your kiddo and take note of body type. Is you child long and lean, petite all over, long and wide? Not every kid has the same body and not every car seat is the best match for every kid.
I had friends practically forcing me into buying a certain type of seat, but I had to point out the differences in our kid’s body type. I finally stuck one of my kids in the desired seat to prove it was indeed too narrow.
After sizing up your kid and perhaps taking a look at their growth chart (are they on a steady growth pattern, or quickly on the rise, or slow going?). Now you can take a look at seats and what will work for your kid. I prefer to see the seat and even have my kid test it out in the store. Sometimes what I think will be the perfect seat ends up having an uncomfortable part to it.
If you are buying online, make sure to check out all the dimensions for each seat. Dimensions to pay attention to are:
Seat width and depth – not total width, but the actual area where your child sits needs to be both wide enough, but not too wide, and deep enough so your child has room to grow and the edge of the seat is not hitting their thighs.
Seat height – how high does the back of the seat adjust, or is it adjustable at all? You want to make sure your little one has proper head support. Also make sure it’s not too narrow.
Belt positioning – make sure the buckle is far enough from the center or is adjustable so your child doesn’t end up sitting on the buckle itself. Also check on the shoulder straps to see how high they go and how much room there is for your child to grow into.
You may be hoping to find a seat that will carry them all the way through until a car seat/booster is no longer necessary, but with how fast kids grow and their ever-changing bodies, you may be buying another seat in a few years. Just make sure the seat you buy today accommodates where your child is at this point to ensure the safest possible car seat.
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