Choosing a good car seat for your child's protection is a prime consideration for any new parent. To give your child the best chance of escaping injury in the event of a collision, you'll need to a car seat suited to your child's age and weight.
To choose a proper car seat, you'll need to understand that there are three main types of car seats for children. These are: infant car seats, infant / toddler (convertible) car seats, and booster seats.
Infant Car Seats
If you have a newborn baby, or your child is under a year old, he needs to ride in a rear-facing car seat. You'll need to decide on buy a rear-facing infant car seat, or you can buy an infant / toddler car seat (also called a convertible car seat). The difference between the two is that the infant car seat is designed for babies around 20 pounds and under, while the convertible car seat be used facing the rear until your child is a year old and at least 20 pounds, before turning it to face forward. If you purchase an infant car seat, rest assured that the new models have a five-point harness to keep your baby strapped in securely. The disadvantage, of course, is that you'll need to buy a convertible car seat later when your child grows older.
Infant / toddler (convertible)
Car Seats These car seats are larger than infant-only car seats and more expensive. However, they can be used for your child from the newborn stage (when he is less than a year old and under 20 pounds) right up to the toddler stage (when he is at least a year old and at least 20 pounds). It depends on your choice. Some parents choose to use convertible car seats as their primary car seat from day one. Others only switch to an infant/toddler convertible seat when their baby outgrows the infant car seat.
Booster Car Seats
Booster car seats are meant for children age 3 and older who weigh at least 40 pounds. What's the function of these seats? What they do is to boost your child into a position that makes it safe to use the car's existing seat belt system. Booster seats will cost of (they're pretty expensive) but they'll give your grown toddler a sense of 'adulthood' since most of the models are ergonomic, plush and cool.
Gary Hendricks is the editor of www.baby-product-guide.com, a hobby website offering articles on parenting, baby care and baby products.