How to Pick a Car Seat for Your Child

Car seats are designed to keep your most precious cargo—no, not your twin-scroll turbocharger overnighted from Japan—safe in the event … Continued

Car seats are designed to keep your most precious cargo—no, not your twin-scroll turbocharger overnighted from Japan—safe in the event of the worst-case scenario, an accident with your child in the rear of the car. Though that seems overtly straightforward, choosing the right car seat for your child is anything but.

There are weight limits, height restrictions, and positions where your child should never ever be. To reduce the complexity of the task, and to reduce the risk of you selecting the wrong seat for your child, Car Bible’s certified parents are here to help you pick the right car seat for your child.

What Is a Child’s Car Seat?

A child’s car seat is a device designed specifically for sitting inside a cargo that properly restrains a child in the event of an accident. Child seats are different than adult seats, as they provide increased protection and security for the child. This reduces the potential for serious injury to occur.

How Does a Child’s Car Seat Work?

Child seat design has become fairly standard, with the child sitting in a rear- or front-facing car seat in the rear of the car for added safety. The child is strapped into the highly bolstered car seat with a 5-point harness strapped around their shoulders, thighs, and crotch. The car seat attaches to the car either through the car’s seat belt restraint or LATCH system which connects directly to the car’s chassis.

How to Pick a Car Seat for Your Child

What’s the Difference Between a Child’s Car Seat and a Race Seat?

Not much, in fact! Most child car seats can trace their design back to racecar seats. From the head restraint to the bolsters, 5-point harnesses, and even their construction. Put a racing seat next to a child’s car seat, and you’ll see what we mean.

How to Pick the Right Type of Car Seats for Your Child

Each car seat has a specific height and weight requirements. Below, we detail which car seat is best for your child. Know the difference.

Front-Facing

Front-facing child car seats are designed for infants too small toddlers up to 40 pounds and 57 inches tall.

Rear-Facing

Rear-facing child car seats are designed for toddlers heavier than 40 pounds and 57 inches tall up until the point they no longer fit.

Booster Seat

A booster seat is a child car seat designed for children who grow out of their front-facing car seats.

Convertible

A convertible child car seat is designed to grow with the child and will convert from rear-facing to front-facing to a booster seat.

Best Car Seat For 3 Year Old
Car Seat For 3 Year Old

Car Bible’s Glossary for Car Seats

Welcome to Bible School!

LATCH/Isofix

LATCH/Isofix refers to static points welded into the chassis or the seat backing where latches can connect for increased structural rigidity for the car seat.

5-Point Harness

A 5-point harness is a type of seat belt that features five points of attachment: two over the shoulder, two around the thighs, and one between the crotch.

Weight Limits

Every car seat has a weight limit. Check the car seat’s description to ensure it’s the right one for your child’s size.

Expiration Date

Likewise, car seats expire. Most are between 7-10 years, though they expire immediately in the event of an accident.

Head Restraints

Head restraints or head bolsters, keep the child’s head from moving too greatly from side to side in the event of an accident, thus reducing the possibility of concussion or brain damage.

Your Questions, Our Answers on Car Seats

Your burning questions answered.

Q. Can I Use a Car Seat on an Aeroplane?

A. That depends on your car seat. Some car seats aren’t designed for plane use, so you’ll have to see if your specific car seat says it’s ok to use.

Q. What Is the Safest Seat In a Car for a Child?

A. The safest spot to put a car seat in a car is in the rear cabin right in the middle. That way, you have the most metal between the child and the crash structure.

Q. Can You Put Two Car Seats Next To Each Other?

A. You can, though some car seats are larger than others and it may become difficult to strap them to the car next to one another.

Video on Car Seats

Car Bibles’ editors understand that not everyone is a text-based learner. For those kinesthetic people out there, we have your back with a video showing you exactly what a car seat is and how they work. We pulled it from one of our favorite, and most trusted, sources and it’s a great additional resource.

Car Bible’s Favored Car Seat Related Products

You can buy car seat products at almost every auto parts and baby store. As well as online stores like Amazon. You have a sea of options to select from. We picked two selections we think you’d benefit from, the best infant car seats and convertible car seats. These are some of the best, reasonably priced, and safe car seats around.

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Jonathon Klein

Jonathon KleinJonathon has jumped Aston Martins for Automobile Magazine, clocked 200 mph in a McLaren 720S for Playboy, and sampled his best life behind the wheel of a Ferrari Dino Evo for Road & Track. He’s hopelessly addicted to the strongest coffee he can brew. Please send him more. Contact the author here.