18 April 2009

Tips on Buying Your First Infant Car Seat

Congratulations, you’re having a baby! I know from experience that having a baby can be an exciting and hectic time. There are many decisions to be made and you want to make sure that you make the right choices. From choosing your doctor to picking the colors for your baby’s room, you can quickly become overwhelmed with the decisions that you need to make. Well, even though I cannot help you pick out the best color for you baby’s room, I can help you cross one item off your massive to-do list: I can help you pick out your new car seat.

As you will no doubt notice, there are many different styles and varieties of car seats; however, they will all do the same thing: protect your new baby. Since this is your first time purchasing a car seat, I would suggest you visit a car seat buying guide, to help you make an informed decision. This guide will take you through the variety of styles and features that are available and help you to narrow-down your choice. It will also explain some of the features you may want have in your car seat. For example, you may want the added protection of purchasing a seat with a 5-point safety harness, which not only secures the shoulder, but the legs as well. Another feature you should look for is a seat with a removable cover. Believe me, you will need to wash the cover often, and if it can be removed without having to take out the entire seat, all the better.

Once you have looked through the buying guide and have decided on the features you want in the seat, it is time to decide which style you wish to purchase. If you are purchasing a rear seat, you will eventually need to up-grade to a forward-facing seat. With forward-facing seats running anywhere from $85 and up, you may be able to save yourself a little money by purchasing a convertible car seat. These seats can be used as a rear-facing seat and then, when your child is 20 pounds and one year old, can be converted to a forward-facing seat. Naturally, these seats tend to be more expensive than the basic rear seat, but you do get the added benefit of not having to purchase yet another seat, a year down the line.

Another style you may wish to consider, happens to be the type my wife and I used when our first child was born. If you have a very active lifestyle and plan on doing a great deal of traveling and to help alleviate the hassle of buckling and unbuckling your baby each time you get in or out of your car. you might want to consider getting an infant car seat carrier. With this style of seat, you install the base in your car and the seat itself locks into the base. When you need to take your baby out of the car, you simply unlock the seat from the base and carry your pride and joy with you. There will be no need to unharness them each time, because the seat travels with you. With this style of seat, there is also the option of purchasing a stroller which accommodates the seat. If you are purchasing a rear car seat, be sure and see if the model you are interested in supports this feature. You can get the seat and stroller separately or together. Purchased separately, they make a very affordable baby shower gift.

I hope that this has been of some help for you. My goal is to try and break down the various styles and models to a more manageable number. We now have three types of car seats to choose from: the rear-facing, the convertible, and the car seat carrier. Now for the million dollar question: how do I correctly install it? Well, if you are comfortable doing it yourself, I would follow the manufacturer’s instructions. However, if you are in any way unsure, you may want to contact your hospital or local fire department. Usually, they will be more than happy to show you how to install the seat; some may even do it for you.

If you have any questions, concerns, or if you would like clarification on something, please feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to help you.

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