How to Choose a Car Seat
From your child's first car ride to the many adventures they'll enjoy as they grow, a reliable car seat is the most important piece of gear you need to keep them safe on the go. Learn all about the different types of car seats to choose the best one for your child.
Infant Car Seat
An infant car seat is used from birth until your child reaches the height or weight limit specified by the manufacturer. It should always face the rear of the car. Many infant car seats include a removable newborn insert to provide additional support and padding to your child until they reach a certain weight. Most also include a separate base that stays installed in your car so you can easily snap the car seat into it. If your child will frequently ride in more than one vehicle, you may want to purchase an additional car seat base or two. You can also snap infant car seats into many strollers or stroller frames. A compatible car seat and stroller are often sold together in a set called a travel system. If you choose a car seat model that is not compatible with your stroller, check if an adapter is available to fit the items together.
Convertible Car Seat
A convertible or 3-in-1 car seat can be used from birth or after your child outgrows an infant car seat. It should be used as a rear-facing seat until your child reaches the rear-facing height or weight limit specified by the manufacturer, and then it can be used as a front-facing seat. Some convertible car seats—called 5-in-1 or all-in-one car seats—also convert to a booster seat for even more versatility as your child grows. If your child will frequently ride in more than one vehicle, you may want to purchase multiple car seats.
Booster Car Seat
Once your child reaches the height or weight limit of their forward-facing car seat, it's time to graduate to a booster seat. Rather than the five-point harness that secures a child in an infant car seat or a convertible car seat, a booster seat uses your vehicle's seat belt as the restraint. It's designed to boost your child's height so the seat belt fits properly. A high-back booster seat provides head and neck support for smaller children, while a backless booster seat allows larger children to use the headrest of the vehicle itself. Some booster seats convert from high-back to backless to grow with your child.