5 Things Every Parent Should Know About Car Seats

One of the most important items you’ll buy for your baby.

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If you haven’t noticed, car seats have changed a lot since we were little. From built-in side-impact protection to 10-seconds-or-less installation, the technology has come a long way—to say the least.

If you’re about to have a baby, you can take comfort in knowing that every car seat on the market now has to go through some pretty rigorous safety testing. But there are still a few things you should read up on before you pick the “perfect” one.

Fact #1. A car seat is the one baby item you’re legally required to buy — no ifs, ands, or buts. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t have a car; most hospitals take it so seriously that they won’t let you take your child home without one… even if you’re walking!

Fact #2. You’ll probably end up buying three separate car seats to cover the three separate stages of growth your kid will go through, so that means an infant seat, a toddler seat, and a booster seat.

Fact #3. If that last fact caused you to hyperventilate a little, consider this: You can save money by buying 2-in-1 infant-to-toddler or toddler-to-booster convertible seat options. Just know that if you go the convertible route, you’ll likely compromise a bit on portability and space, since those options can get a bit bulky.

Fact #4. Car seats are one of the few baby gear products that the experts unanimously recommend buying new. So if you were hoping for a hand-me-down, you may want to scrap that idea. Take it from us, car seat technology is always changing; so you’ll want the most up-to-date models available for safety reasons.

Fact #5. According to the National Highway Transportation Administration, the most common problem involving car seats is improper installation. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions and hang on to them for future use.

Read up some more with our Car Seat Gear Guide or start browsing car seats now.