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did you know?
One of the most important purchases you can make for your new baby is the car seat. With so many different styles of car seats on the market, it's hard to tell which one to go with.
Prices range from $25 to hundreds of dollars for a car seat. The most important thing to remember is that ALL car seats save lives when installed and used correctly every time! There are many factors to consider when purchasing a car seat, and the biggest price tag doesn't necessarily mean the car seat would work best for you.
Before you purchase a car seat, we recommend you visit the following sites:
American Academy of Pediatric
Ask the experts! The AAP provides a detailed description of the type of seats available, weight limits, age requirements, and a whole lot more information!
Consumer Search is an independent consumer evaluation site. They aren't paid to do reviews of products, enabling them to give factually based reviews on a wide range of goods! You can also contact them for a specific product if they haven't yet reviewed the product you're interested in.
The US Consumer Product and Safety Commision (CPSC)
In a nutshell - the CPSC is an independent federal regulatory agency that protects consumers by issuing safety warnings on thousands of products. There are several different sites that contain this information, one of the most user-friendly we found was
We all know about consumer reports, and what they do. In addition to giving product reviews, Consumer Reports includes evaluations on ease of use.
What do others think?
I highly recommend visiting www.epinions.com to see what other parents think about the items they purchased. I use epinions often before buying almost any product or toy for the guys. Just because I think a particular toy would be fun (or a particular product useful) doesn't make it so. Epinions offers reviews submitted by people who actually purchased, installed, and used products. Amazon.com is another site that offers reviews from people that purchased stuff.
Will the seat fit your needs?
We highly recommend going to the store and having a display model placed in your rig before purchase to make sure it fits. Some seats sit at an angle that may not be compatible with the angle of seats, seat height, or leg room. You can also checkout an online car seat database (http://www.carseatdata.org/selectseat.asp) to determine if the seat you're considering buying will work in your vehicle.
Car seat installation
Car seats improperly installed or not used correctly will not protect your child. The latest statitistics show that approximately 80% of child safety seats are improperly installed or used. There are free car seat clinics held through out the states, where you can go to have your car seat inspected and ensure that the car seat is properly installed. To find a inspector near you, visit http://www.seatcheck.org.
The following are guidelines we used when we purchased our seats:
Infant car seats
Infant car seats are rear facing seats that are specifically designed for real little guys and gals. The maximum weight capacity is 20 lbs. For us, they worked until the boys were four months old. For many babies, infant car seats can be used until close to their first birthday.
There are many discussions about whether or not spending the money for an infant seat, when you need to purchase another seat at 20 lbs., is worth it. I don't know about singletons, but if you're having twins my advice is BUY THE INFANT CAR SEATS!
Things to consider when purchasing the infant car seats:
Convertible car seats
Convertible car seats are used as rear-facing seats until baby reaches both 20 lbs. and one year old. Because of the vast differences in the convertible car seats, and how much space they take up, it is almost a necessity to try the car seat in your vehicle before purchasing. Once the baby reaches his or her first birthday, the car seat can be turned around and quickly converted into a front-facing car seat. The high end of weight limits for convertible car seats vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but all seem to start at 30 lbs. and then go upwards. Because our guys grew so fast those first four months, one of our criteria was that the seat had to handle up to 45 lbs. I'm glad we did. Although their growth rate has substantially slowed down, they are 30 lbs each at 16 months!