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Infant Car Seat – What to Look For

Infant Car Seat - What to Look ForWhen looking for a new car seat for your baby, you will want to look for certain features. You’ll use an infant car seat for at least the first year of your baby’s life. It’s important to choose the right seat.

How does the infant car seat harness tighten?

You will want to be able to easily adjust the harness on the car seat. It should fit snugly, so that you can fit a finger between your infant and the harness, but no more. You’ll want to be able to adjust the harness as baby grows, and as seasons change and clothes become either lighter or bulkier. You may want to try using a baby sized stuffed animal buckled in to see if you have trouble adjusting the harness with a baby in the car seat.

Are the buckles on the infant car seat too difficult to remove?

You don’t want to struggle to unbuckle your baby. You also don’t want the buckle to be too easy to remove. Your baby will eventually be curious enough to try taking off the seat belt. Try buckling and unbuckling the infant seat before you buy it. Some of the upper clips on the five point harness are difficult and frustrating to remove.

Is the size of the infant car seat compatible with my car?

Some car seats are bigger than others and will take up more room in your vehicle. Also, some smaller cars may make safely fitting a car seat difficult. Also pay attention to how the back seat of your car is shaped. If your back seat slants back too much, you will need to use a piece of a pool noodle or a rolled up towel to install your infant seat at the correct angle. There should be a line clearly marked on the infant seat that tells you the correct angle. Note that using a towel is not recommended by this mother as the towel tends to compress over time, while a pool noodle can be cut to size and will not compress.

Is the car seat easy to carry?

You’ll be carrying your baby in the car seat often, so you’ll want to be sure you can easily carry the seat with up to 20 pounds of weight. Check to see if the handle of the seat fits your hand comfortably. If the handle feels at all awkward, you may want to look at other infant seats.

How does it fasten into the car?

Most car seats are designed with a LATCH system that will work in cars newer than 2001. The latch system can be confusing to install the first time, so it is best to have someone show you how to install your car seat into your car. Call your local fire department for help finding assistance to inspect your car seat installation.

If you have an older car, will you be able to safely fasten the car seat without the latch system?

A car seat installed with the seat belt can be as safe as one installed with the LATCH system. According to Car-Safety.org the LATCH system is not safer than a seat that is properly installed using only the seat belt. The LATCH system is intended to make it easier to correctly install your infant car seat.

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