When it comes to being a parent, one of the most important areas you have to think about is the safety of your child. This is never more important than when your child is riding in a moving vehicle.
Cars are dangerous even for adults, and their safety features are designed to work well only for large, adult bodies. Special care must always be taken to make sure your little ones are safe.
There are several steps in the process of keeping your child safe in the car. Babies begin in a rear-facing car seat and eventually move to a forward-facing seat. That sounds simple, but the task of procuring a car seat is daunting both financially and mentally.
After reading through all of the reviews, checking to make sure there aren’t any product recalls, and making sure everything will work well with your car, you’re exhausted and likely more confused than you were before.
Convertible Car Seats
It’s understandable, then, that some parents would seek to save a step by buying what are called ‘convertible’ car seats. These products are designed to be used either in a forward or rear-facing position.
Meaning you can keep your child in one seat through both stages of the seat transitioning process.
Convertible car seats are great, but there are a lot of products on the market. In this article, we will review many of the factors you should examine when looking to buy your first convertible car seat.
Why the Change in Direction?
For those who haven’t read up on this subject in the past, let’s do a little refresher on how the car seat system generally works and why. For newborns riding in the car, you should place them in a car seat that faces the back of the vehicle.
This helps keep the child safe for several reasons.
- The seat itself uses a harness designed for the baby’s body, unlike a typical seat belt.
- They are designed to distribute the forces of a potential accident across the seat instead of the babies body and provides extra support for the head, neck, and spine.
When your child reaches the age of two, they are ready for a forward-facing car seat. This system again uses a special harness designed for your child’s body, but now that your child is a bit bigger they’re less vulnerable than a newborn or young baby.
It’s not pleasant to talk about car accidents, because nobody wants to think about one happening to their family. But as a parent, it is important to consider these possibilities and that you take appropriate steps to keep everyone safe.
Benefits of Convertible Car Seats
So, we know that you’ll need to procure a car seat for your child. Should you look for a convertible model?
Ultimately, this question boils down to your personal preference. Many convertible seats offer the same protection to your child in their rear-facing and front-facing orientations.
As long as you select a seat that provides proper protection, which we’ll cover more deeply in a second, then there is no reason to opt for two distinct seats as opposed to a convertible model.
Choosing the Right Seat
There are three main factors you should consider when finding the right seat for your child: safety, ease of use, and comfort.
For safety, you’ll want to find a seat that has a five-point harness and a sound system for securely anchoring it in the car.
Pay attention to the protection against side impacts, as that is often where the better seats differentiate themselves. Consumer Report provides excellent reviews of all products, including safety features.
2. Ease of Use
In the realm of ease of use, you can rely on the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration for help. The NHTSA rates every car seat on a scale of one to five stars based on how easy the seat is for the parent to operate.
This is important because convenience and ease of use is a major bonus for parents! Especially when your little one is wiggling around while you’re trying to get them safely strapped in. Look for a seat that’s easy for you to understand, and that is compatible with your car.
Finally, you’ll want to find a seat that is comfortable for your little one. Do a visual inspection on your own to see what comfort features the seat has, like padding and soft material in key places.
If you have the chance, try to let your baby try out the seat to make sure they fit nicely and will have room to grow into it. Picking a car seat your baby likes can make for much more pleasant car rides!
Research the Reviews
When you’ve settled on a car seat that meets your criteria, take some time to research online the product you’re checking out. Make sure to look for any recalls on the specific product you’ve chosen, and beyond that, look for reviews from other parents of how the seat works.
Consider little things like how easy it is to clean, or how well the seat adapts as your child gets bigger. Check out the Maxi-Cosi Magellan car seat if you’re looking for an adaptable car seat! Why purchase separate car seats for each milestone when you can purchase one. Talk about convenience!
It’s easy to jump the gun and pick the first seat that sounds good or use the same model your friend purchased.
It’s important to do a bit of your own research into this decision until you’ve found a seat you know you’ll be happy with.
Save Some Time with Convertible Seats
Thinking about car safety can feel a bit overwhelming. There are so many products on the market that all claim to be the best, and there’s an overload of information parents need to know.
When it comes to car seats, purchasing a single convertible car seat that you can use until your child is ready for a booster seat will help make your life a bit simpler.
I would consider researching convertible car seats for your first car seat to ultimately help save you time (double the research when you buy two different seats) and money!