It’s not easy being a baby. Not that I have any conscious recollections of this experience, but I imagine it’s pretty hard because of the sheer amount of tears that have been shed by my own little mini-me’s around the house. This was back when Daisy and Delilah were still really young. They’re in kindergarten now, but I remember it well.
A baby’s life begins in the crib. But for most babies, it will not be long before they start venturing out of the house. Under the parents’ care, ofcourse. Most couples that I know, me and my hubby included, own a car that we actually drive somewhere from time to time. If you want to take your baby with you (and you do) then you will have to get a good, safety seat with head and neck support for your little son or daughter.
There are a lot of them out there and it can be hard to choose the best one. So how will you find the top seats for up to one year old infants? A good idea is to look around online, corny as it may sound.
Should A Baby Seat Face Front Or Rear?
There are many different kinds of features to look at when buying a seat. The decision that most parents find difficult to make, is whether to go for a front facing or a rear facing seat. Since most paediatricians recommend a rear facing car seat for babies up to 12 months (and weighing between 20 – 30 pounds), it’s probably a good idea to heed this advice. The most comfortable position for an infant seat is rear facing. These types of seats tend to be the most comfortable for your newborn because they can usually also recline.
The more comfortable a children’s seat is, the better it will be at preventing reflux in your baby. That’s a nasty problem, because it causes a big mess and it’s making your child miss out on valuable nutrients. A good, stable seat is so much better for your infant than a shoddy, wobbly one.
The reason for wanting a rear facing seat as opposed to a front facing seat, is that rear facers are said to be safer. Let’s say you get in a car accident and the car comes to a complete stop quickly. Everybody and everything inside the car will have swift forwards momentum. In a rear facing seat, your infant will be safer, because it’s the seat that will take the blow, and not the baby.
Or so the theory goes. I’m not sure whether or not this has ever been proven in an actual children / car safety study.
How To Install A Baby Seat
As many as 5 out of 6 seats are not properly installed. Seats for infants come with manuals. The manufacturers realize your baby’s life rests within their seat. They will make sure the instructions that come with it are clear. Too many people don’t bother to read the manual and simply go by their gut feeling.
Most seats can simply be used with your car’s existing safety belt system. But you’ve got to make sure to attach those belts correctly. The belts must be locked in appropriately, precisely as the instructions say. Some seats come with an extra attachment piece that you can use in conjunction with your safety belt.
Many seats come in two pieces. A base and the actual carrier, or seat. You attach the base to the car’s safety belts and leave it there. The carrier can be put in and be taken straight out. This saves you the trouble of having to install and uninstall your child’s seat twice for every trip.
Why Do Seats For Babies Expire?
Believe it or not, but seats have expiry dates just like milk. The reason for this is actually simple. The materials wear out with the passing of the years. Time alone can wreak havoc on a seat. But if you actually use it, chances are your baby will be rocking it quite a bit. Especially if he’s approaching the age of one.
On top of that… these cars seats have only been tested for a certain amount of time and the manufacturer simply can’t guarantee safety beyond a few number of years. Be sure to check your seat’s expiration date when you buy it.
Needless to say, this is especially important for classic, vintage and used infant seats. So if you’re wondering… how long are seats good for? It’s only a few years. So the most convenient (and cheapest) place to buy a safe seat is probably online, from a retailer outlet. These seats are not something you’ll want to buy used as they have a limited lifespan.
When Can A Baby Seat Face Forward?
There can be a number of reasons for why you would want to change the seat. Once your child reaches the age of 12 months, you can simply switch that seat around and make it front facing. There is now less risk of your newborn being seriously hurt, even if you should happen to get involved in a car accident. But if you still want to be on the safe side, you can leave it rear facing.
When Do You Change Newborn Seats?
A reason for wanthing to change the actual seat (as opposed to just the position) is because you notice it wearing down. As soon as the build quality of the seat starts to look a little shaky, then you may want to consider buying a new one. Or it could be that your child has outgrown the seat and his or her legs are hanging way outside of it now. In that case, you need to upgrade to a bigger seat to guarantee your child comfort.
What Is The Top Rated Convertible Children’s Seat Brand?
There are dozens of brands out there, all of which are making all sorts of seats. Some are convertibles for tall babies, others are zebra striped seats for babies who love animals. Some infant seats come with a base, and others come without a base. Some have a night light, others have lots of integrated toys.
The best value children’s seats are the ones that don’t cost too little and not too much. The cheapest ones will fall apart before they reach the end of their lifespan. The most expensive ones will outlast their own official lifespan, leaving you worrying whether or not the seat is safe. It’s probably a good idea to go with the golden mean.
By all means… spend a few bucks extra, but don’t take out a second mortgage either. You’ll have to replace a child’s seat once every few years, so you might as well take this into account.
Recommend brands for seats for babies are:
- Britax USA
- Safety 1st
- Tiny Love
- Summer Infant
- Carseat Canopy
- Mommy’s Helper
- Griffin Baby
- Balboa Baby
- The First Years
- Baby Trend
What Extras Can You Look For In An Infant Seat?
The higher end ones will not only be able to safely store your mini-me, but they will also be able to store snacks and toys and whatnot. Some of these seats have drink holders or a snack trays. Some even have pouches and side pockets for putting in all sorts of stuff.
Some seats have a recliner function. You may think you’ll never need one, but when you’ve got it… it can come in handy. Let’s say you get stuck in a traffic jam and your journey home is taking a bit longer than expected. Your young baby might miss out on sleep! Unless, ofcourse, you’ve shelled out extra for a recliner infant’s seat! Just recline that baby and listen to all the ZZZ’s he or she will be catching until you get to the safety of your own home!
Or you can read the best baby cribs page!