A convertible child seat is one that can be used either facing the back of the seat or facing the front of the vehicle. This type of seat allows children to grow with it instead of out of it quickly. Having the ability to change directions is important because infants are safest from harm in an accident when their car seat is positioned facing the seat; in the case of an impact, there is cushioning for the baby’s fragile head and bones. As your child becomes a toddler, however, most parents opt for the car seat to face frontwards to allow more room for the child’s arms and legs and also for more interaction together during car rides.
Part 1 of 1: Purchase the convertible car seat
Step 1: Find reviews of convertible car seats. Find a reputable website for product reviews that includes a section on convertible child seats, such as ConsumerReports.com.
Step 2: Browse all reviews. Browse both the summary product reviews written by the website’s staff as well as consumer reviews, taking note of any car seat brands and models that stand out with good comments.
Step 3: Check the safety features of any convertible car seats that interest you. While some car seat models have more aesthetic appeal than others, this is one product where safety features matter more than anything.
Step 4: Consider your child’s age and size. Keeping your child’s weight in mind, check the weight limits of any convertible child seats you are considering purchasing.
While you clearly want the weight limit to be higher than your child’s weight, you also want some wiggle room. Your child will grow, and you ideally want to continue using the seat through toddlerhood.
- Note: There are seats you can use well beyond toddler age with weight limits of 80 lbs, but a safe amount of room to last a couple of years is between 15 and 20 lbs.
Step 5: Consider the size of your car. While safety is your primary concern, convenience is important as well, so be sure to consider your car’s size.
You want to be able to get the seat in and out of your car without a lot of hassle. So, if you have a very narrow back seat, look for a less bulky convertible car seat.
- Tip: You may even wish to measure your back seat and compare it to the dimensions of your potential child seat purchase.
Step 6: Assess your budget. You don’t want to skimp on quality or safety features when buying a convertible child seat, but you also don’t want to buy a seat you can’t afford.
Take a look at your bank statement, then subtract the amount of your bills and estimated other expenses for the month. The amount that remains is the top amount you can pay for a convertible car seat, although you may not need to spend that much.
Step 7: Purchase the model that best fits your needs and budget. Armed with an idea of what type of convertible child seat you want, go shopping. You can purchase car seats at department stores in person, or you can order one online.
Once you have a quality convertible child seat in your possession, ensure you use it every time you and your child are in a vehicle. Having a safety tool and using it are two different things, and you should never take the risk of not strapping your child in properly even once. Making sure your vehicle and its seats are safe is an important part of your child’s well-being, and one of YourMechanic’s mobile professionals will happily help make sure your vehicle is safe and sound.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Choose a Child Seat That Converts and was authored by Elan McAfee.