by Laura Powell
The task of buying a new family vehicle is tricky enough, but there could be yet another decision upon you: the child car seat(s). Will your current model fit well into the back seat of the car you plan to buy? If you’re going to test-drive a vehicle at a dealership, it’s a good idea to take your car seat along, whether it’s your current car seat or a new one. You want to be sure it’s not too much of a hassle to strap the seat in and take it out. Whether it’s an infant seat or a seat that adapts to suit a growing child, you also want to be happy with the overall fit and arrangement of the car seat inside your vehicle.
As babies grow out of their infant car seats, the convertible model comes next. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infant car seats be rear-facing until age 2, so you want your car seat to be durable and of high quality.
Just like cars are updated every year, so are car seats. Atlanta Parent researched some of the latest ones and can recommend these models:
The new Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Air Convertible Car Seat is a great seat that can grow with your child. It’s suitable for infants from 5 pounds all the way up to toddlers at 70 pounds. With the Tiny Fit insert, it could be the only car seat you own. Infants fit well into the durable insert, which should be removed once a baby reaches 18 pounds or his head extends over the seat. It has a good protective headrest, and it’s pretty easy to adjust the seat – a nice change of pace from wrestling with some infant seats. The attractive fabric and modern design will also please parents.
Available at buybuy Baby and on Amazon. $249.99
The Evenflo Symphony 65 All-in-One Car Seat has a smaller footprint and fits infants as small as 5 pounds, and will transition with a child until he reaches 65 pounds. It’s also easy for one person to install. The shoulder straps have an easy-to-adjust system so you won’t have to re-thread it as your child grows or when you need to use it for a different child. Its wider headrest has good side-impact protection and also makes it easy to put a squirming child in place. When the child gets large enough, the straps can be removed and the Evenflo Symphony becomes a high-back booster seat for kids up to 100 pounds. Available at buybuy Baby and Amazon. $229.99
The BubbleBum Inflatable Booster Car Seat is a good option if you are traveling or need to fit three in the back seat – which is not always easy. Simple to install, this seat is intended for kids 4-11, or 33 to 80 pounds. Still, 4- and 5-year-olds who are small could be too small for this booster. The child of the parents who tested this seat for us loved the BubbleBum name and felt “like a big kid” while riding in it. She also liked feeling that she could be more flexible than a standard car seat allows. Even though some parents may have concerns about its stability or safety, this inflatable seat has met all the federal motor vehicle safety standards. Available at Amazon.com. $39.99
Children are not protected in even the safest vehicle if they’re not properly secured.
Choosing a good child safety seat or child booster seat and properly installing it in your vehicle are key. Safe Kids Georgia, in coordination with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, has tips and information that can help you find the right seat. The organization also lists inspection sites (some at fire stations) that will check whether your seat installation is secure. Find information at Safe Kids USA, safekids.org.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
Find detailed recommendations at aap.org.
– Amanda Allen