Buying a baby car seat online can be a convenient and cost-effective way to get a safe and comfortable seat for your little one. However, there are some things you need to consider before you click “add to cart”. Here are some tips on how to buy a baby car seat online.
Know the different types of car seats
There are three main types of car seats for babies and toddlers: infant car seats, convertible car seats, and booster seats. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and you need to choose the one that suits your child’s age, weight, height, and developmental stage.
Infant car seats are rear-facing seats that are designed for newborns and babies up to 2 years old or until they reach the maximum weight or height limit of the seat. They usually come with a base that stays in the car and a carrier that snaps in and out of the base. Infant car seats are easy to install and transport, but they can be outgrown quickly and may not fit well in some vehicles.
Convertible car seats are seats that can be used both rear-facing and forward-facing. They are suitable for babies from birth to 4 years old or until they reach the maximum weight or height limit of the seat. Convertible car seats are more durable and versatile than infant car seats, but they are heavier and harder to move between vehicles.
Booster seats are seats that raise your child up so that they can use the regular seat belt safely. They are suitable for children from 4 to 8 years old or until they reach 4’9″ in height. Booster seats can be high-back or backless, depending on your child’s size and preference. Booster seats are lightweight and easy to use, but they require your child to sit still and buckle up properly.
Check the safety standards and ratings
All car seats sold in the US must meet the federal safety standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, some car seats may perform better than others in crash tests or have additional features that enhance safety. You can check the safety ratings and reviews of different car seats on websites like Consumer Reports, NHTSA, or IIHS. You can also look for labels that indicate that the car seat has been certified by organizations like JPMA or ASTM.
Compare prices and features
Once you have narrowed down your options based on the type and safety of the car seat, you can compare prices and features of different models online. You can use websites like Amazon, buybuy BABY, or Online4baby to browse through various brands and models of car seats. You can also read customer reviews and feedback to get an idea of how well the car seat works in real life. Some features you may want to look for in a car seat include:
Easy installation: Look for a car seat that has clear instructions and labels, color-coded indicators, level indicators, push-button latches, or built-in lock-offs. You can also check if the car seat is compatible with your vehicle’s LATCH system or seat belt.
Adjustable fit: Look for a car seat that has multiple harness slots, recline positions, headrests, or inserts to accommodate your child’s growth and comfort. You can also check if the car seat has a no-rethread harness or an easy-adjust handle.
Cleanability: Look for a car seat that has a removable and washable cover, preferably one that is machine-washable and dryer-safe. You can also check if the car seat has a spill-resistant fabric or a stain-resistant coating.
Portability: Look for a car seat that is lightweight, compact, or foldable if you plan to travel with it frequently. You can also check if the car seat has a carrying handle, a storage bag, or wheels.
Extras: Look for a car seat that has additional features that make your ride more enjoyable, such as cup holders, snack trays, sun shades, mirrors, toys, or music.