The car seat you choose for your vehicle should be as safe as possible for your child. You want to be sure your child is protected by a quality car seat instead of just going for the cheapest model you can find. Finding the right one may be difficult, as there are tons of different choices available. That’s why we have compiled this comprehensive guide on the finest car seats 2016 has to offer.
If you don’t do the research and find the best car seat on the market, you could end up endangering your child. You may not realize until it’s too late that you bought an unsafe car seat. Low quality car seats, when exposed to the rigours of a traffic accident, can become extremely dangerous instead of fulfilling their function to protect your child.
We’ll cover some of the top car seats on the market and help you find the best car seat for your child.
Top 5 Best Car Seats Comparison:
Here are some of our top picks for car seats in 2016. We’ve gathered this list from what industry experts and consumers have listed as their favorite ones.
How to Choose a Car Seat:
Factors to Consider When Buying a Car Seat
When you are looking for the best car seat for 2016 for your child, there are a few things you need to consider.
Your primary concern should be your child’s safety. You want to make sure that the car seat adheres to regulations regarding child car seats for your country. Most car seats available in your area will be made to fit national requirements, but if you buy your car seat online or if it is imported, then you need to check the specifications.
You should specifically look for a five-point safety harness and proper back and neck support. Side support is important too, but not as vital. It is a good idea to read up on safety reports that relate to the car seat you are looking into. You can usually find out information on collision tests and how well the seat performed. It’s also good to read what other people have said about the seat. Reading car seat ratings will help you determine how well the seats are doing out on the roads under normal conditions.
You also want to make sure that you choose the right car seat for your child. Their age and size will determine which kind of seat you should choose- whether it is an infant seat, a child car seat or a booster seat. Don’t try to force your child into a seat they are too big for. Even if the seat is recommended for your child’s age group, your child may develop faster than normal and require a larger seat.
You should check for padding on the seat as well. Some car seats come with very little in the way of padding, and it can make long car rides uncomfortable for your child.
Last of all, you should be looking for a car seat that is convenient for you to use. The seat may have a variety of functions that allow you to take your child out of it quickly or to strap your child in easily. The seat may come with straps that are easily adjustable as well.
Some of the car seats will even clip onto strollers, making it easy to take your child from the car to go shopping with. This is especially convenient for those times when your child falls asleep in the car and you don’t want to wake them up when you get out of the car.
But all these are optional features. Not all car seats have them, and you don’t really need them. If you have the money for these extra features that make the car seat more convenient for you, and you have already established that the seats are both safe and comfortable, then by all means, get the seat you want with the features that will make it easy to use.
If the price of the car seat is a factor for you, you should know that you can purchase a very safe and comfortable car seat at a reasonable price. We’ve listed a few of the better seats here for you, some of which are quite inexpensive. Going with the cheaper choice does not mean you are getting a low-quality seat all the time. It could just mean that you are missing out on some optional features that in no way affect your child’s safety.
While the cost of the seat can be a deciding factor, don’t let it get in the way of ensuring that you choose a car seat that will keep your child safe.
What Are The Types of Car Seats?
You can’t put an infant and a toddler in the same kind of car seat, and that’s not just because of their difference in size. The shape and style of the car seat actually needs to be different based on their developmental needs.
For infants, the car seat should be shaped like a cradle. The baby will be able to lie down on its back like it would in a crib or cradle. Because the infant’s neck and back are not strong enough to provide full support yet, the car seat will need to provide that support for them.
Infant car seats always face the rear, so their head would be looking toward the back of the vehicle. You should always position their car seat in this direction. This provides them with the maximum possible protection.
The most reliable car seats use a five-point harness system. This means that two straps go over the shoulders, two straps come in from the side and one strap comes up from underneath the child. This prevents the infant from moving around, even during a serious collusion.
The seat will need to be buckled in using a lap belt, in most cases. This keeps the seat itself from moving around during normal driving or during collisions.
It can cost a lot of money to buy both a toddler and an infant seat. That’s two different car seats for the same child. Convertible seats bridge the gap, providing a car seat that can be used for both infants and toddlers. These can be made to face the back of the car and permit the infant to lay down. Then as the child grows older, the seat can be adjusted and repositioned to face toward the front and accommodate the toddler.
For some smaller infants, the convertible seat will be a bit too big. If parents are going to use a convertible seat for a very small child, then it is advisable to buy headrests, cushioning and other support to fill in the car seat and provide the child with comfort and security while he is in the car seat.
For toddlers, the seat will need to be angled upwards so they can sit up. This not only makes the car ride more comfortable for them, but it also provides them with the support they need to keep their back and neck from injury as they travel. In the event of a collision, the shape of the car seat will provide the support and protection they need.
Toddler seats come in two varieties- full car seats and booster seats. The full car seat provides neck, back and head protection. It usually has the five-point harness to provide maximum stability and to ensure the child cannot get out of the seat by themselves.
Many toddler car seats transform into booster seats, meaning only the base is left. Many times, a booster seat will fall into the same classification as a toddler seat.
The booster seat is simply a base for the child to sit on. It offers no real support, beyond occasional mild side support. The booster seat is held in place by a seat belt. You should only use a booster seat for children who are between eight and twelve years old and who weigh between 15kg to 36kg. Because children develop at different speeds, there is no set age for when your child can go graduate to a booster seat or stop using a car seat at all. It will depend on how much your child weighs and how large your child is. Once your child is too big or heavy for a car seat, one will no longer be required.
What to Purchase With a Car Seat?
The car seat you purchase may not come with everything you want. It could be necessary to purchase additional attachments or accessories for the car seat in order for it to provide a more pleasant experience for your child. Here are a few suggestions.
Your child, particularly an infant, needs head and neck support. Not all car seats have the proper support or comfort that your child needs. That doesn’t have to be a deal breaker though. You can still purchase that seat without a head rest and just buy the head rest separately. That could be a good way to save money or to ensure that you get the best head rest for your child.
Infants will be more likely to tolerate long car rides in their car seats if they have something to do. You can’t be in the back of the car to entertain them, but you can purchase toys that hang from their car seat to keep them happy. Most infant car seats have handles on them that you can position directly over the child. That’s a perfect place to hang something for your baby to play with. Best of all, attaching the toy to the seat ensures that the child doesn’t toss the toy away and start fussing while you are driving.
What is The Best Car Seat?
We’ve looked at car seat feedbacks for 2016, and we’ve picked out what we think are the best choices in each category of car seat. There may be cheaper choices out there that are almost as good, so if you can’t afford these, then you should know that there are some more affordable substitutes too.
Infant Car Seat
Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat
Some of the best infant car seats are also made for toddlers. But most of them awkwardly transition and end up serving one size better than another. That’s not so with the Grow and Go. It actually comes with multiple attachments to keep the car seat growing with your child. The base infant seat is both comfortable and safe, without being excessively roomy or maladjusted for the little ones. Then, once your child starts to grow, you can just add on the necessary parts and stay with the same car seat. This is the only high-quality car seat on the market that is truly made to accommodate different age groups.
Toddler Car Seat
Graco 4ever All-in-One Car Seat
Now convertible seats usually aren’t a great fit for all kids, but this one goes out of its way to provide the extra cushioning and support your child needs. While it isn’t the very best infant car seat, according to many car seat remarks, it is the best car seat for toddlers, offering unrivaled protection on all sides. It has an adjustable harness and headrest, the latter of which can move into ten different positions. This allows for incredible versatility and ensures that this is quite possible the only car seat you will ever need.
Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat
Let’s not forget booster seats. While at this stage, a car seat isn’t as vital, you still need to be paying attention to the safety of your child and providing them with the support they need. The side and head protection for the Evenflo Big Kid AMO seat is fairly decent, but for most people, it’s the price that will be the deciding factor. This is one of the cheapest quality booster seats on the market. Part of what makes it one of the highest quality car seats in 2016 has to offer is that it can easily transition from a full booster seat to a backless one, and the headrest has six different positions to accommodate your child no matter how tall he is.
Convertible Car Seats
Britax Roundabout G4.1 Convertible Car Seat
If you are looking for something that is incredibly safe for your child, you can’t go wrong with the Britax Roundabout. It is one of the most excellent car seats for 2016. It surpasses federal safety regulation by quite a bit, offering unprecedented protection.
This convertible seat can go from infant car seat to toddler car seat in a few simple adjustments. The five-point harness is a big plus as well. Not all car seats come with this functionality, and it is a definite sign that safety is a top priority for the manufacturer.
This is also a very compact car seat in comparison to other convertible car seats. Its smaller size makes it perfect for smaller vehicles and allows it to be taken in and out of the car more easily.
Disney APT Convertible Car Seat
It may be relatively inexpensive when compared to many of its competitors, but the Disney APT Convertible Seat isn’t lacking in safety features. It comes with great side protection, and the five-point safety harness makes it easy to keep your baby in place.
The drink holders are great for older children, who will probably also appreciate the delightful Disney characters that have been worked into the seats’ decorations.
The seat also uses LATCH technology, which allows it to be installed very quickly. That makes it ideal for taking in and out of the vehicle without much hassle at all.