This Guide will teach you how to pick the best car seat for your child every time until they are ready for a regular vehicle seat and belt.

Since there are few different kinds of car seats available, and many different names for them, we understand why it can often be confusing and frustrating. We this guide will help pick the right car seats for your situation.However all car seats are safe as long as they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Your child fits meets the weight and height restrictions
  • The car seat is approved by CMVSS
  • The Car Seat is not expired
  • Has not been in an accident, or been recalled
  • Does not have pieces missing, or has been abused
  • The car seat is compatible with your vehicle
  • Car Seat Installation is done correctly
  • It is used correctly on every ride

Lets begin by understanding car seats

There are 2 main things when it comes to car seats, the stage of car seat and the type of car seat. The stages are determine by the child weight, height, age and development. There are 3 stages of car seats and since a car seat can accommodate more then 1 stage, there are different types of car seats. But the first thing that needs to be done is determining what stage of car seat you require.  we have broken this guide into 2 parts:

Part 1. Lets Determine what stage you need.

The stage is determined by:

  • Child’s Weight
  • Childs Height
  • Childs Age
  • Childs Development

Used From:

From the first ride they ever take.

Used Until

  • Minimum of 1 years of age
  • Minimum 22 lbs (10 kg)
  • Should be able to walk unassisted
  • All 3 above conditions are met.

Stage 1. Rear facing

The legal term for Rear Facing stage is Infant

Used From:

From the first ride they ever take.

Used Until

  • Minimum of 1 years of age
  • Minimum 22 lbs (10 kg)
  • Should be able to walk unassisted
  • All 3 above conditions are met.

This is the first stage, the child will be facing the back of the vehicle and the car seat will have harness straps to restrain the child into the seat.


Notes

Most parents are very eager to get out of the rear facing stage and want to turn their loved one forward facing as soon as possible. However, we recommend keeping your child rear-facing as long as possible until 2 years of age or until they outgrow their seat. Rear-facing offers the best protection and is 5 times safer for your child.

The infant carrier is not the only rear facing car seat, If your child outgrows the infant carrier but does not meet the requirements for froward facing, there many other seats that will allow them to be rear facing.

Types of forward facing car seats

Click on table to see types of forward facing car seats:

Names used by Manufacturers Legal Name
Convertible Car Seats Infant Only
Convertibe Car Seat, Child Booster Infant/Child
All in 1, 3 in 1, 3 Stage Seats Infant/Child/Booster

Used From:

After Rear Facing Stage 1

Used Until

  • Minimum 40lb (18kg)
  • Grows past the weight and/or height allowance of the forward facing seat

Stage 2. Forward Facing

The legal term for this stage is Child

Used From:

After Rear Facing Stage 1

Used Until

  • Minimum 40lb (18kg)
  • Grows past the weight and/or height allowance of the forward facing seat

This is second stage for toddlers the child will be facing the front of the vehicle and car seat will have harness straps to restrain the child into the seat. This is sometimes known as Front facing or Forward Facing


Notes

In some cases, the child may outgrow just their forward facing car seat before being ready to be in the next stage car seat (booster). In this situation you should get a forward facing seat that has higher weight and height allowances. There are forward facing seats that allow up to 65 lbs and up to 58 inches in height.

Types of forward facing car seats

Click on table to see types of forward facing car seats

Names used by Manufacturers Legal Name
Convertible Car Seats Infant Only
Convertibe Car Seat, Child Booster Infant/Child
All in 1, 3 in 1, 3 Stage Seats Infant/Child/Booster

 

 

 

Stage 3. Booster

The legal term for this stage is also Belt Positioning System

This is the last stage of car seat before a regular seat belt. The child will be facing the front of the vehicle but this seat will not have harness straps. Instead the child will use the vehicles seat belt to keep themselves restrained in the vehicle. 


NOTES:

When using a booster seat without a back, it is very important that the child’s head is fully supported by the vehicle’s seat back or head restraint. When sitting in a booster, it shouldn’t raise the child so that the middle of the ears is above the vehicle’s seat back or head restraint, this could cause injuries in a crash. High-back boosters offer better protection in side impacts when compared with backless booster seats.

Booster seats should always be buckled up even when they are not in use. They otherwise can easily fly toward the front of the vehicle and could potentially hit other passengers in the car if there is a sudden stop or collision.

TYPES OF FORWARD BOOSTER CAR SEATS: 

CLICK ON TABLES TO SEE TYPES OF BOOSTER CAR SEATS

Names used by Manufacturers Legal Name
Convertible Car Seats Infant Only
Convertibe Car Seat, Child Booster Infant/Child
All in 1, 3 in 1, 3 Stage Seats Infant/Child/Booster