The use of car seats is key to child safety in the event of a crash. A drop in child fatalities in car accidents is very likely a direct correlation to the increased use of car seats. However, for the parent looking for the correct car seat, the choices can be overwhelming. It can be difficult to find the best car seat for your budget, style and safety needs.
Convertible Car Seats
A convertible car seat is intended for use as a rear-facing infant seat and a forward-facing toddler seat. It usually has a weight limit of up to 35 pounds for rear facing, and a height and weight limit for forward facing, at most up to 53 inches and 80 pounds. Convertible car seats have several features that affect safety.
Make sure the car seat has a five-point harness system, meaning that the baby is strapped in at five separate points. Also, check the harness system for how many loops are available for each car seat. The harness should always fit at or slightly under the child’s shoulders, so be sure the car seat is easily adjustable.
Fit of the Car Seat
The safest convertible car seat fits in your vehicle. If your back seat has irregular humps or sloped seats, consider how the car seat will position in the seat before buying. Once the car seat is strapped in, you should be able to move the car seat only 1 inch from side to side.
Safest Car Seat
If the car seat is difficult to install in your own vehicle, there is a good chance you will not install it correctly every time. For this reason, the safest car seat is not chosen on a government rating system; the safest car seat is the one you are most comfortable operating on a continuing basis.
Therefore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has implemented a rating system for a car seat’s ease of use. Evaluating the instructions, the installation features, the labels and securing the child, the NHTSA judges and rates every car seat on a five-point scale. Choose a car seat for ease of installation, and use the NHTSA rating to serve as a guide in the process.
Top 10 Convertible Car Seats
Based on the NHTSA’s rating system, the highest-rated convertible car seat was The First Years True Fit Premier. The next highest overall ratings belong to The First Years True Fit, Recaro Signo and Graco MyRide 65. The remaining top-rated car seats include Britax Advocate CS, Britax Diplomat, Combi Coccoro, Graco Comfort Sport, Evenflo Tribute and Sunshine Kids Radian 65.