The Different Types of Car Seats
While Biggers Mazda has new Mazda family minivans and sedans that are built to help you transport your loved ones, younger members of the family need to be in the appropriate car seat. Working at a dealership, I knew I needed one when I had a daughter, but when I went to the store, I was instantly overwhelmed with all the different types of seats, so I put together a guide to help other parents.
Infant-Only Car Seats
A tiny newborn is going to slide around in one of those giant car seats for toddlers, which is why they have these. These car seats are designed usually only for babies up to 20 pounds and will usually face the rear of the seat. While you obviously aren’t going to be able to get long-term use out of this, be sure to look for a multi-purpose one that works with a stroller or can be easily put in a grocery shopping cart.
Forward Facing Car Seats and Convertible Car Seats
All car seats are different, but usually children above 20 pounds will need to graduate to a forward-facing car seat. You may be able to find “convertible” car seats that can shift from rear-facing to forward-facing as your child grows.
At some point your child will enter in an in-between stage where they are too big to sit in their old car seat, but aren’t big enough for the regular seatbelt to be useful. This stage requires a booster seat that elevates the child and allows them to use the built-in seatbelt.
Selecting a Car Seat
Obviously there are too many car seats out there for me to say which is best. Read reviews online and don’t make the mistake of buying the most expensive car seat thinking it’s the best. Look at the Consumer Reports guide and talk to any friends with kids and ask them what they liked or didn’t like about their car seats.
Finally, a relative or friend will probably give you an old car seat. Don’t be disrespectful, but be sure to investigate and have the car seat inspected before putting your child in it. Safety technology changes rapidly and the car seat you sat in as a kid is not going to give your child the same protection as one currently on the market.