Choosing the Right Car Seat for Your Child
I have 5 children. I have owned several car seats over the course of 17 years. Even though I research as much as possible, I often found that my buying decisions came down to affordability. Fortunately, our car seats have always proven to provide a safe traveling environment for our kids. But, it can be difficult making sure you are choosing the right car seat for your child.
Child Passenger Safety Week
Considering this is Child Passenger Safety Week, the public awareness is most likely at its high point when it comes to car seats. But, do you know how to properly choose a car seat for your child? Car crashes are the #1 killer of children in the U.S. between the ages of 1 to 12 years of age. Whether no restraints or improperly used restraints, the best way to protect your children is to choose the right car seat and use it properly. Here are a few tips from SaferCar.gov about choosing the right car seat:
- Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, as well as a seat that fits well in your vehicle
- Refer to your car manufacturer’s manual on how to properly install a car seat using either seat belts or the LATCH system; and check height and weight limits
- Keep your child in the car seat as long as possible as long as they fit within the seat’s height and weight requirements
- Keep your child in the back seat until at least 12 years of age
There are other factors to consider based on age and weight, but these are general ideas on how to get started.
My older two used to get so upset with me when they were the only 10 year olds riding in a booster seat. They were under the weight and height requirements so I saw no reason to remove the boosters. Plus, I often reminded them that without the car seat they would bot be able to see out the car window. Well, needless to say, they survived the embarrassment and are now well past the age of needing a booster. But, we do still have three in car seats and I am adamant about their safety. The middle two girls each sit in the 3rd row on their boosters while our toddler is in the middle of the second row of our Tahoe. She just turned three but is 52 pounds and 40″ long. We have not been able to keep her rear-facing in a while. Therefore, I like to make sure she is properly restrained in a 5-point harness system in the back seat.
Britax Frontier 85
Britax brand car seats have been a long time favorite of mine. I recently received the Britax Frontier® 85 and both Monkey and myself love it. I like the True Side Impact Protection® that protects her head, body, neck, and spine during a crash. Plus, the Harness Ultra Guard System (HUGS™) minimizes any forward head movement in the event of impact. Not to mention, she can continue using the seat up to 85 pounds as a harnessed car seat or 120 pounds as a booster. Hopefully she has a few years before she reaches those weights.
And since the cover is completely washable, that makes it easier to keep the car seat looking great and durable. Putting the cover back on is easy and adjusting the harness should height is simple to do when needed. As the mom, I am quite impressed with both the quality and the features.
For my toddler, the thick foam that adds comfort to her little bottom is most likely a plus. Not only is it made to be comfortable, but it also helps to keep her properly positioned. The two features she notices and uses most are the armrests and integrated cup holders. She loves having her own cup holder to put her drinks or snacks in as we go down the road. That makes her feel like a big girl!
Finally, since my husband has to install the seat, he is a fan of the Versa-Tether® webbing. This aids in anchoring the top of the seat to, again, minimize any forward movement in the event of an accident.
All in all, we all liked the many safety features and excellent quality of the Frontier 85. Britax offers a full line of car seats to fit your style and needs. In fact, the Fit My Child generator of the Britax site can walk you through your car seat choices based on a handful of questions about your child.
Find more information and news by liking Britax on Facebook, as well as following along on Twitter. Also, this Saturday, September 22nd, is National Seat Check Saturday. You can find car seat inspection station near you on the NHTSA website. Stay safe!