All car seats must comply with government regulations. However, different types of car seats are appropriate for children of different ages and sizes. In order to be as safe as possible, always follow height and age requirements for each type of car seat.
While most standard rear-facing infant car seats only hold babies up to 22 lb., there are certain rear-facing car seats called Safe Seats that can hold babies over 1 year old up to 30 lb. Some babies weigh less than 20 lb. by the time they reach their first birthday, so choosing a Safe Seat to keep a baby rear-facing as long as possible after he turns one can be the best option for parents.
An infant convertible car seat holds babies from 5 lb. to about 30 lb. rear-facing, and up to 40 lb. front-facing, and is able to hold a baby that is over one year old. However, a convertible car seat does not remove and transport as easily as an infant seat does, so it is a better option if a parent plans to keep the car seat in the car at all times and move the baby in and out of the seat.
Front-facing car seats are made strictly for front-facing babies over one year old who weigh at least 20 lb. Attempting to put a front-facing seat in a rear-facing position so the child can remain rear-facing longer is dangerous because these kind of seats are designed for front-facing only. Some parents may choose to buy a standard infant seat for when their child is an infant, and then buy a front-facing seat when the child has reached the age and weight requirement.
A front-facing convertible is similar to a front-facing only seat, but it can include a booster seat, enabling it to hold a child up to 80 lb. Front-facing convertibles are not to be confused with infant convertibles; these cannot be turned into a rear-facing position either. This type of car seat is meant for babies aged 1 and over who weigh at least 20 lb.
A booster seat is the last type of restraint that a child will be in before switching to a regular lap belt or lap/shoulder belt. While a booster seat does not hold a baby, it still holds a child older than one year old and is required for children up to the age of 8. Booster seats are designed for children that are not yet tall enough to be restrained by a regular seat belt.
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