Top 10 Car Seats
Car seats are designed based on age and height. Here are the main types of car seats available and who they best protect.
Rear-Facing Car Seat (For newborn to two years old)
These car safety seats are buckled into the back seat of your car and face backwards. They’re meant for newborn to two-year-old children. While some professionals say rear-facing car seats can be upgraded to front-facing seats when a child turns one, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping your child in a rear-facing seat until they are two.1
Front-Facing Car Seats (Two years old and up)
Once your child turns two, it’ll be time to change them over to a front-facing car seat (unless they’re small for their age and under forty pounds). By this stage, your child will be very alert, talking, and wanting to view the world around them. You’ll also be able to better check on your child.
All-in-One Car Seats
These models can do it all—transitioning from a rear-facing car seat for infants to a front-facing seat for toddlers to booster seats for young kids. They’re also more expensive as a result.
Convertible Car Seats
Convertible car seats are multi-functioning, but they don’t normally include functions for children of every age like all-in-ones do. One may work as a front and rear-facing car seat, and another may transform from a front-facing car seat to a booster seat.
Booster Car Seats
Booster seats are designed to raise your child up to safe seat belt height. You can purchase booster seats that are backless, convertible, or have high backs for more support. You can choose what’s right for your child, but you’ll most likely need to pick something because booster seats are mandatory in 48 states and all US territories except South Dakota and Florida.
These obviously come standard with your car and aren’t something you need to purchase. However, once your child is at least 4 feet 9 inches and between eight and ten years old (some kids are smaller or larger for their age, so this can vary slightly), they should be ready to graduate to a seat belt.
When you get to this stage, ask yourself some important questions before letting your child advance to a seat belt:
- Does my child’s back rest against the back of the seat?
- Do my kid’s knees bend at the seat edge?
- Does the seat belt rest comfortably across their lap?
- Does the shoulder strap rest on their chest?
- Can my child stay seated while buckled for an entire car ride?
If your answers are “yes” to all of these questions, then your child is probably ready for a seat belt.