The costs of raising a child can add up quickly. Parents, hoping to save some money, might choose inexpensive or gently used goods. In most cases, this is a wise plan because clothing and other amenities can be expensive, especially if an infant or a small child is growing quickly.
One item that justifies a greater investment for their infant or young child is a safety seat. A child safety seat is necessary to keep your child safe in the event of a car accident.
Your child could be injured in even the smallest of “fender benders,” so it’s important that you purchase a car seat that’s age and size appropriate.
Car seats can be a significant financial investment, but you can’t put a price on the life of your child.
Tips for Choosing the Safest Seat
Before you head out to buy the most reasonably priced car seat, you should do some research. While it’s acceptable to set a budget for your car seat purchase, you shouldn’t necessarily settle on the first one you see in your price range.
Here are some tips to find the safest car seat for your child:
Choose a Seat for the Right Fit:
The height and weight of your child will determine which seat they need. A newborn will need an infant seat while an older child will need a booster seat.
Keep in mind that you will most likely need to purchase different seats throughout a child’s early years. A seat that is too big or too small is not safe at all.
Choose the Right Seat for Your Car:
The difference in car seat design means some safety take up more space than others. If you have a smaller vehicle, you will want to choose a seat that fits more comfortably, yet safely, in the back seat.
If you have more than one child who needs a safety seat, you need to make sure you choose seats that fit well without compromising the safety of your child.
When in Doubt, Check it Out:
Installing a car seat can be frustrating and making sure you have secured your child correctly can be nerve wracking. Even if you are fairly confident in your installation, it’s always a good idea to get it checked out.
There are many Child Safety Seat Inspection Stations across the country and most are free of charge. You can check with your local law enforcement or hospital/clinic to find the nearest Inspection Station.
Second Guess a Used Car Seat:
Safety advocates don’t recommend using a previously owned car seat, but sometimes a used car seat might be your only option. You may be tempted to go with a used car seat if you need one for another vehicle in the family or you are expecting visits from grandchildren.
Used car seats may be safe, but there is no guarantee, so get as much information as you can. Never use one that is missing pieces or seems damaged.
Your Child’s Car Seat: Top Safety Picks in 2014
Graco Snug Ride 40:
This number one rated seat is rear-facing and built to fit up to a 2-year-old child. It is a bit heavy to carry around and around $250, but will last a long time.
Chicco KeyFit 30:
This is a great choice for smaller infants, particularly those who were born premature. At about $190, it may not last long for the size of your growing infant. The cushion material has been rated as “non-breathable.”
Britax BOB B-Safe:
Priced at about $150, this seat is compatible with numerous strollers and has energy absorbent foam, which can be advantageous in the event of an accident. It is deemed too large for smaller cars and is only suitable for infants up to 30 pounds.
Baby Trend Inertia:
This $180 infant seat has a base with a spring-loaded recline feature that distributes force in the event of a crash. However, the safety features are lost if you don’t use the base, as that is where the spring-loaded components are located.
Evenflo Embrace LX:
At the reasonable price of $80, this infant seat offers extra head support for growing infants, however the material has been known to irritate the skin, in some cases.
Note: All seats listed above have been crash tested, have a Five-Point Harness, and have top safety ratings.
For more information about safety ratings, check the variety of these child safety seats.
Choose Wisely for Your Child’s Safety
Picking out the right car seat can be difficult and expensive, but it’s important to choose a seat that will keep your child as safe as possible in the event of a car accident.