Buying a new car seat
Some things to consider:
- Because all brands and models of car seats must meet or exceed the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, a less expensive model will usually work as well as a more expensive model. The difference is that higher-priced models may have added convenience features.
- Is the seat's harness easy to use? Buckle and unbuckle the harness a number of times to try it out.
- Can you easily get a child in and out? Practice with a child, if possible.
- Make sure the seat fits tightly in your vehicle.
- The right car seat is one that is correct for the weight, height, and age of your child, fits in your vehicle while in the correct position, and you can install it properly every time.
Choosing a used car seat
It is best to use a new seat because you know it's up to date and hasn't been compromised in any way. If you have to use a secondhand seat, make sure:
- The seat has not been involved in a crash.
- You can read the manufacturer’s model number
and date. This information is typically printed on a sticker that is on the back or bottom side of the car seat.
- The seat is not past the expiration date.
- The seat has all its parts and a car seat manual.
- The seat has not been recalled.
- The seat does not show signs of wear and tear on the harness, padding, shell or frame.
Find the right car seat for your child's age
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the maximum height and weight limit of the car seat in that position. We recommend keeping your child rear facing as long as possible. Check out our age and weight guide to make sure you’re putting your child in the right seat.