Choosing the Right Car Seat for Your Baby:
The first step in keeping your baby safe on the road is choosing a car seat that works for your baby's age and weight, and that fits your vehicle. Since your baby will need to be in a car seat from birth to about age 8, you should be prepared to buy more than one car seat.
Infant-Only Car Seats:
For newborns, a rear-facing, infant-only car seat is a good choice. These car seats also double as convenient baby carriers outside of the vehicle.
Convertible Car Seats:
As your baby grows, a convertible car seat will allow rear-facing to 30-35 lbs, and can then be used forward-facing to 40-65 lbs, depending on the car seat.
Combination Car Seats:
A combination car seat can be a good choice for babies who are old enough and weigh enough to be forward-facing, but cannot be used for infants under one year of age or for babies who weigh less than 20 lbs.
Once your toddler is at least four years old and weighs at least 40 lbs, a booster seat will help the vehicle seat belt fit better.
Common Car Seat Questions and Mistakes:
Federal statistics indicate that 80 percent of car seats are used incorrectly. My experiences as a child passenger safety technician, and the experiences of other CPSTs, suggest that misuse may actually be closer to 90 percent or more. Knowing the most common car seat problems will help you keep your baby safer when you're out and about.