Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Car Seat Shopping
I've been gearing up to buy some new car seats for my twins since they are starting to outgrow their infant seats. Car seats are so expensive and I've had some good and not-so-good experiences with them... like the car seat that posed a cheek-pinching risk to my first two children before I finally got rid of it... and the one that you could adjust the straps from the front, with the baby strapped in-- how wonderful that was (thankfully most car seats now have this feature)! In short, car seat shopping seems like such a gamble.
There are lots of ways to go about researching car seats... I like to use a multi-pronged approach. I check consumer reports, reviews from Amazon and other online stores, and also consult the site carseatdata.org. The great thing about consumer reports is being able to view a bunch of similar car seats and their crash ratings as well as ease of use and other features. The downside is that they don't test every car seat and they don't focus a whole lot on the real, day-to-day experiences of using a car seat. Enter Amazon. Real people give review their experiences with car seats. The downside here is that some reviews are more helpful than others. Now for carseatdata.org. This is a very nice web site. If you need to find a car seat with certain measurements in order to fit say, three in the back seat, this is the place to go. You can find a pretty detailed list of car seats and their measurements.
BTW, when I was first looking for a car seat for my one-year-old twins, I was planning on getting a couple of combination car seats (forward facing harness to booster variety) but then decided to go with a couple of convertible car seats (rear and forward facing up to 40 lbs) because there is more and more research showing that it is best to keep children rear facing for longer than a year... until they reach 30 lbs. For more reading on the topic, visit: