Tips for finding the right car seat

Car Seats – Finding the Right Car Seat

When it comes to picking out a car seat, it can almost be as overwhelming as picking out a car. What kind of harness is best? Is it better to have a stay-in-car base? What kind of material is best for the baby? Is it better to get one that will last your child longer?

First, take some time in the store to check out the sample car seats. Be sure to see how easy it is to tighten and loosen the harness straps. You will be more likely to correctly use a car seat that is easy to install and use. Next, check the minimum and maximum weight and height for the seat. You don’t want to buy one and then find out it does not meet the requirements for your child.

We recommend that you look for these things when buying a car seat:

  • Five-point harness – The harness straps will keep the baby from being thrown out of the car seat in a crash. A five-point harness will allow the harness to fit the baby more snugly.
  • More than one set of harness slots – A car seat that only has one set of harness slots does not fit all babies well. More sets of harness slots will make it easier for your baby to fit in your car seat.
  • Straps that are close to the baby’s shoulders – The harness straps should go through the slots that are at or below the baby’s shoulders (less than 10 inches from the bottom of the seat to the lowest set of harness slots). Straps that are above the shoulders can allow the baby to move too much in a crash.
  • A buckle that is close to the baby’s crotch – The buckle should be no more than five and a half inches from the back of the car seat and should be on a piece of webbing (on a strap). A buckle on a piece of webbing makes it easier to fit the harness snugly around the baby.
  • Straps that are easy to use – It is easy to tighten and loosen the harness straps when a car seat has a front harness adjuster. It is not as easy to tighten and loosen harness straps from the back of the car seat.
  • A chest clip that is not too big – The chest clip should be appropriately sized for the infant. It should not be wider than the baby’s chest and should be placed at the baby’s armpit level.

Car seat services at UAMS