How Do I Know Which Type Of  Convertible Car Seat To Buy For My Child?

How Do I Know Which Type Of  Convertible Car Seat To Buy For My Child?

 Choosing a convertible car seat is not an easy task. There are several different styles and brands to choose from, not to mention the fact that each child is unique in size and development. Your little one may be able to ride safely in a rear-facing infant seat for months before graduating into a forward-facing toddler seat. However, some children will need more support than an infant car seat can provide before they’re ready for their next step up. You’ll need to consider your child’s age, height, and weight; your budget; where you plan on placing the car seat; and any special needs or safety concerns when deciding which type of convertible car seat best suits your family’s needs.

How Do I Know Which Type Of  Convertible Car Seat To Buy For My Child

Why we should use a convertible car seat?

The positioning of a child’s head and body is very important, so it can protect the child from an accident.

A study found that one-third of car accidents are caused by car seat problems. It means that there are frequent problems in the right position of the children when riding in cars. One possible explanation for this is that parents do not follow instruction manuals or find them too complicated to understand. A convertible car seat may be able to help you solve these kinds of troubles. A convertible car seat has either a 5 point harness or 3 point harness, which is used until your baby outgrows it. Then, after they outgrow it, it becomes a belt-positioning booster seat where you would use the lap belt only with no shoulder belt.

This article will discuss the difference between a convertible car seat and other types of car seats, such as infant bucket seats and harnessed booster seats. These two kinds of seats are most similar to this one. I believe that you can make an educated decision on which type works best for you and your child if you have a clear understanding of their pros and cons.

It is very important to properly position your child in any car seat; the main purpose of a car seat is to protect your child from an accident. So, please make sure that their head and body are correctly placed.

Young children should stay rear-facing as long as possible. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), infants should be kept in rear-facing seats for as long as possible up to the height or weight limits of their convertible car seat or until they reach the limits of their convertible car seat’s harness straps. I strongly agree with this statement because rear-facing seats are much safer than forward-facing ones, especially during collisions. When an infant is rear-facing, there are support surfaces between his/her head and neck. These support surfaces are not present when a child is facing forward, so the head and neck have to take the brunt of an impact at these locations. When they do, there is more chance for injury than if the child was rear-facing.

If your baby continues to face forward past his/her first birthday or twenty pounds, you should consider buying another kind of car seat called harnessed booster seats. A wonderful thing about harnessed booster seats is that they position your child’s body correctly to absorb energy during an accident; this decreases the risk of injuries significantly compared with just using lap belts on their own.

However, even if you use both a belt-positioning booster seat and harnessed booster seats simultaneously, you have to use the lap belt only with no shoulder belt. I believe that any car seat is better than none, but you should always remember to keep your baby rear-facing as long as possible.

What are some disadvantages to using a convertible car seat?

Convertible car seats are great because they grow with your child. You can use a convertible car seat from birth until your child weighs 40 lbs. A nice feature about convertible car seats is that you don’t have to buy a new one as your baby grows into a larger size, as with infant and toddler car seats. However, using a convertible car seat has some disadvantages as well. Some of those disadvantages include cost, weight/size, extended rear-facing time for tall children, and no “seat within a seat” design (for children who must ride in the center position of the back seat).

Cost: The average price range of a convertible car seat is approximately $150-300 dollars – more expensive than an infant car seat. Weight/Size: Convertible car seats are quite large, bulky, and heavy (not easy to carry or move) – especially for parents with back pain or disabilities who may not be able to lift them (or store them in their vehicle). Children who outgrow infant seats before age 2 may need the space of a convertible car seat until they reach about 40lbs. Extended Rear-Facing Time: The average rear-facing time per child is approximately 1 year. If your child is tall, he may have a longer rear-facing time – because it could take him a while to outgrow the height limits of his convertible car seat. Some models have extended rear-facing capabilities – but even those can only go so tall, so you’ll need to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible.

Seat Within a Seat: This is one problem I’ve seen many times – and it’s when the center seat of the back row of a vehicle does not have its headrest. For some vehicles, it’s also when there are two sets of LATCH anchors in the third row (that are both being used). Children who must ride in the center position can’t use this type of car seat because children that young cannot lean forward enough to allow their feet to touch the floor. When that happens, they’re stuck sitting up with nothing behind them or slouching with their heads pushed forward.

How do I know which type of convertible car seat to buy for my child?

Now that you have a child, you’re probably thinking about getting them their car seat. If you’ve never looked into it before or haven’t done so recently, there are many different types of convertible car seats available on the market today. The good news is that they are all safe to use, but the bad news is that some are better for particular situations than others. So how do you know which one to get? Read below to learn more!

The 3 Basic Types Of Convertible Car Seats

There are three basic types of convertible car seats: rear-facing only, front-facing only, and combination (or “all in one”). Each one has benefits and drawbacks depending on your specific situation, so be sure to choose the one that will work best for you and your child’s age/weight, as well as your vehicle type.

  1. Rear-Facing Only Car Seats

A rear-facing only car seat is designed to be used in a rear-facing position only. Many of them can also be reversed so that they’ll face backward and forward (as opposed to just facing backward). This reverse capability makes it possible for many parents to use these convertible car seats until their kids are about 1 year old – which is much longer than most other varieties! However, keep in mind that this is contingent upon the weight/height requirements of the particular model you have chosen. If your child exceeds either threshold before reaching 1 year old, he or she will need to use a different type of car seat.

  1. Front-Facing Only Car Seats

A front-facing only car seat is designed to be used in the forward-facing position only. While these are great options for many children, you must keep your child’s age/weight in mind when choosing this type of convertible car seat because most models have weight minimums and/or height maximums – just like rear-facing only seats. Again, if your child exceeds either threshold before reaching 1 year old, he or she will need to use a different type of car seat. Know that some front-facing only seats can be converted into rear-facing ones by removing the harness system and using the bare backrest.

  1. Combination (All-In-One) Car Seats

A combination or all-in-one car seat is designed to be used in both the rear and forward-facing positions. These are great for parents who want to buy one product that will last their child from birth through age 4, 5, or 6 – depending on the model you choose. That being said, similar to front-facing only models, know that some of these can be converted into a rear-facing only convertible car seat by removing the harness system and using the bare backrest. If your child is within the weight/height requirements of a particular model before reaching 1 year old, he or she will need to use a different type of car seat.

Additional Considerations

When choosing a convertible car seat, there are other factors to consider besides just weight and height. For example, you should also take into account the width of the car seat as well as whether or not it has a harness system. Keep in mind that many babies will lay flat during their first year because they don’t have much excess body fat or muscle mass until around 9 months old. Because of this, look for convertible models that offer extra head support and side-impact protection (like an impact-absorbing base) which can help make life a little more comfortable for your baby. No matter what type you choose, make sure to read all manufacturer instructions carefully before installing one in your vehicle! If you’re still unsure about which convertible car seat is best for you and your family, consider speaking with a certified child passenger safety technician at a car seat check-up event near you.

A rear-facing only or front-facing only car seat is designed to be used in the rear-facing position only. While these are great options for many children, you must keep your child’s age/weight in mind when choosing this type of convertible car seat because most models have weight minimums and/or height maximums – just like rear-facing only seats. Again, if your child exceeds either threshold before reaching 1 year old, he or she will need to use a different type of car seat. Know that some front-facing only seats can be converted into rear-facing ones by removing the harness system and using the bare backrest.

A combination or all-in-one car seat is designed to be used in both the rear and forward-facing positions. These are great for parents who want to buy one product that will last their child from birth through age 4, 5, or 6 – depending on the model you choose. That being said, similar to front-facing only models, know that some of these can be converted into a rear-facing only convertible car seat by removing the harness system and using the bare backrest. If your child is within the weight/height requirements of a particular model before reaching 1 year old, he or she will need to use a different type of car seat.

How do I know if my child is too big for their current convertible car seat?

This question has been asked by many parents.

To find the answer to this question we need to know what standard is set for forward-facing and rear-facing children, and what age they must be in their seat before switching seats. The rules vary from state to state but generally speaking most states follow the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines of one inch longer than the seatbelt beyond their shoulder and one inch longer than the waistbelt at their hips so that when you pull on both sides of the straps equally there is no slack. This means the children should remain rear-facing until 2 years old or 20 lbs so that they don’t outgrow their current seat before reaching two years of age or weight limit. It also means that a forward-facing child should remain in their 5 point harness or high back booster until 4 feet 9 inches tall. Most five, six, and seven-year-olds are within one inch of this height limit.

To measure your child for the correct fit you need to first use a tape measurer to measure from the center of their chest (the bottom of the bight between two ribs) to the top of their thighs (midpoint). Then look at the seat labels and find where it says “end” or “maximum” and note how tall they would be if they were that tall before measuring them again since some seats like Britax go by end of shell height which can include components like cup holders and armrests and is NOT an accurate measurement of how tall the seat is itself. Then you can decide if your child needs a new seat or not by making sure they are taller than the “end” height of the seat.

If this is confusing go to any baby store and look at their car seats on display, pull one out that looks like it could be compatible with your car (checking for lower anchors, top tethers, locking-tilt back, etc.) then look at the labels for end height and see if there’s enough room before you put them in the seat so that you would still be within height limits. If not pull one off of display until you find one that does leave enough room between the top of their head and where you’d want to place them in the seat to meet the height limit.

Other factors that affect when your child can go forward facing are their maturity level, body type (not all children fit in their five-point harness until 3 years old because they have big heads and long legs), and vertebrae development. Children need at least three upper vertebrae to support the head before switching over to a harnessed convertible car seat instead of a high back booster or 5 pt harnessed car seat. If you can buckle their current seat but it does not leave enough room for them to be within height limits then pull another one out of display until you find one that leaves enough room. This is very important especially if you plan on keeping your child rear-facing longer than two years old.

Another important factor is torso development, this is what makes a convertible car seat so great because it has a harness to hold the upper body in place instead of just the lap belt alone. This means that your child’s entire spine from head to tailbone will be supported by the 5 pt harness from their shoulders down to where the seatbelt fits across their hips. This is only possible until they outgrow even rear-facing height limits though. Before then you need to keep them in a high-backed booster or 5 points harnessed car seat while staying rear-facing until two years old or weight limit.

The last thing to pay attention to when determining if your child needs a new convertible car seat is their head growth and long-term safety. Many children go through a growth spurt between 3 and 4 years old so it is often at this time that you need to look for something with more headroom, some convertible car seats have headroom requirements of 1 inch above the top of their head but most are not quite that picky. Another thing to consider is how much safer they’ll be in a 5 pt harness until they reach maximum height limits of the seat since they may outgrow the ability to support them properly sooner than 18 lbs or 40 inches rear-facing or 57 inches forward-facing (whichever comes first).

If this is still confusing call any baby store or car seat technician in your area and have them help you figure out if your child needs a new seat yet. It’ll probably save you some trouble, time, and money down the road!

Convertible car seat safety tips

Step 1 Always install the car seat according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Step 2 Switch from a rear-facing to a forward-facing seat before your child outgrows his or her rear-facing weight and/or height limit. If you have a preemie, wait until he or she is at least 12 months of age and has doubled his or her birth weight. Once you switch to a forward-facing seat, be sure that it faces forward on your vehicle’s seat so that it can protect your baby in case of a crash impact. A baby who weighs less than 20 pounds cannot be properly protected if placed on an adult lap belt during a crash. The child can be seriously injured or killed in a crash if not properly secured in an age-appropriate car seat.

Step 3 Do not place extra padding or bulky clothing under or behind your baby’s head for added comfort. Soft objects like these, placed under the harness straps, won’t provide any protection to your baby during a crash and may interfere with the proper installation of the car seat. If you’re concerned about comfort, use rolled receiving blankets on each side of your baby’s shoulders and neck. You can also drape soft towels over the sides of the car seat without placing them underneath your baby. However, do not put anything around the waist area – this could cause serious injury in a crash.

Step 4 Adjust all harness and belt locations and height to fit your baby correctly.

Step 5 Be sure that the chest clip is at armpit level and that the harness straps are snug over your child’s shoulders and crossed in the middle of his or her chest; then buckle the bottom clip. If you use a shoulder strap positioner with your car seat, do not tighten it tightly over the child’s shoulders because it reduces the protection provided by the harness system. You can remove any unneeded padding from under or behind your baby’s head for comfort, but leave no gaps between the baby’s body and harnesses. Your baby should be able to comfortably sit with legs bent and feet touching the dashboard when properly secured in a convertible car seat with five-point harnesses.

Step 6 Check to make sure that the harness straps and buckles are snugs before each ride. The only way you’ll know if your baby is secure in his or her car seat is by checking after you’ve installed it correctly, with a tight fit between harness belt and body or chest clip close to armpit level. If one of the straps has loosened from its original position, re-tighten it as soon as possible. Any time you remove your child from the seat, be sure the harness belt remains tightly fastened until he or she is securely back into it. Don’t forget that loose straps will not protect your baby in a crash! Certain seats have lower buckle locations – always check them for proper fit. Adjustable seats need to be installed with the harness straps at or below the baby’s shoulders.

Step 7 Be sure that the car seat is in a position where it cannot move more than one inch from side to side or front to back at its tightest adjustment level when you push down on the handle with six pounds of force. This is very important! If your child’s car seat has shoulder belt guides, always use them when using an infant carrier to secure the shoulder belt across your child’s chest and not his/her neck. Avoid placing any bulky objects behind or under your child when using this type of restraint system, too. These objects make it difficult for even properly secured children to survive severe frontal crashes because they contribute to internal in-line forces during impact.

 When should I replace my current convertible car seat with a new one?

Parents have to check the expiration date on a convertible car seat’s label before they decide when to buy a new one. In general, most brands recommend that you replace the car seat every 6 years.

The reason is that there are structural changes in the materials used for all kinds of products over time. Even though it hasn’t been that long since your child was born, your old convertible car seat might not be as safe as it once was and you should look into getting a new one. You can get a similar model or brand (not necessarily one by the same company) and know that it will protect your baby well enough under normal conditions. The age issue mostly applies to children who still ride rear-facing; it’s less likely to be an issue with children who ride in forward-facing seats.

There are other things to consider besides age when deciding whether or not you need a new car seat, though. A lot of convertible car seats have expiring stickers that show the date that they can be used for rear-facing and forward-facing. You want to use your current seat until it passed the expiration sticker so you know it is safe for your child. If your car seat doesn’t expire like this, then check the manufacture’s website for information instead of just assuming 6 years is enough time to go by. Most manufacturers will tell you how long their seats are designed to last before needing replacement, but if they don’t you can look up similar models online and see what was said about their expiry.

What if my old car seat is still in good condition and we haven’t had any problems with it?

If your old car seat is working great, then don’t let the age limit scare you into buying a new one before you need to. If there are no issues or anything about it that makes you think twice, keep using it until your child grows out of the convertible car seat height/weight limits for forward-facing travel.

The best advice is to be vigilant about things like recalls on products that are even close to being expired. No brand wants to see their customers get hurt because the product they made wasn’t safe anymore, so they will tell you if there is even a slight issue with something older than it should be.

Fortunately, this doesn’t happen very often because most parents will replace their seats before they reach that point anyway. It’s better to err on the side of caution and get a new car seat if you are not sure what condition yours is in (make sure any difficulties can be attributed to age though). After all, growing children eventually outgrow the product whether or not it’s still technically safe to use at that point.

Conclusion: take good care of your convertible car seat whenever possible; make sure you check the expiration date on the label first too. If there isn’t one, then check other sources like manufacturers’ websites for information about how long convertible car seats really should last before replacement should occur. Again, you don’t want to get creative with the expiration date of your seat–there’s too much at stake to make up your own rules about when you should replace it. If something goes wrong, you need to know that using an expired seat wasn’t why.

Only buy a new car seat when you need one though; otherwise, go back to taking good care of whatever product you are currently using without feeling bad that it’s not even close to being new anymore. Car seats are often on sale, so be sure to stock up if prices are right instead of replacing them before they’re needed. Sometimes manufacturers will even extend the length of time their products last beyond what is specified in most cases. Ultimately, it all depends on the model too; make sure you check any information you can find online about the expiration date of convertible car seats before making a purchase.

Conclusion

Convertible Car Seat is a great option for parents who need to get their children from infancy through the booster stage. These car seats can be used in five different ways, making it easy to find one that fits your child’s needs at any stage of development. If you have been struggling with this decision or are still unsure which type would work best for your family, we recommend contacting a professional like us. We will help guide you and answer all of your questions so that you can make an informed purchase!