One mom of three offers you her list of the five must-have car seats that will take you from newborn to 8 years old.
Guru Mommy Linda Meadow: I am on my third child, and wondering how I could not have an appropriate car seat for my 3-year-old. I discovered that the laws have changed since my 9-year-old was born, and now I have to start all over again!
The new law (according to AAP.com) is that booster seats (seats that use the buckle from your car rather than a "harness" attached to a car seat) are for older children (at least 4 years of age), while many children may grow out of their infant or forward-facing car seats well before 4 years of age. Therefore, there is now an "in between" seat necessary for children younger than 4 years of age who are too big for their car seats.
Sound confusing? The best advice I can give is to have some foresight and buy a car seat for your child that has a longer base and a higher weight restriction as they grow out of their infant seats, thus negating the need for an "interim" car seat before a booster (such as the Britax Marathon or Boulevard (holds up to 65 lbs.), as opposed to the Britax Roundabout (which holds up to 40 lbs).
So without further ado: here are my five must-have car seats that will take you from newborn to 8 years old:
Car Seat Must-Haves
Graco SnugRide 32 Infant Car Seat
I like this car seat because the handle is easy to slip on your arm, making it easy to carry around. Plus it is compatible with most strollers as a "click in," so your baby can go straight from the car to the stroller without being moved or woken up.
Sunshine Kids RadianXT Convertible Car Seat
The only car seat that can be used both rear- and front-facing, thus it can be used for an infant up to a toddler. This is not the ideal seat for an infant, as it is not compatible with strollers. The RadianXT is best used when your infant has outgrown the infant seat but is not ready to be forward-facing.
Britax Frontier Combo Harness-2-Booster Seat
This seat is the perfect seat for a child that has outgrown the infant seat and is ready to face forward. It still has a 5-point harness system and is not as big as a convertible car seat, so you can squeeze more into your back seat.
Maxi-Cosi Rodi XR Booster Car Seat
While these are the easiest to use, as they don't have to be installed (they just use a shoulder seat belt), they should not be used until your child is at least 4 years old and weighs at least 30 pounds. They MUST be used with both a shoulder and a lap belt.
Clek Oobr Booster Seat
These boosters click into your car's "LATCH" system, and are both comfortable and easy to use. They can be used for children up to age 8, or children up to 57" in height.
|Linda Meadow, is an author and 'guru' of City Baby L.A. (2003) and City Baby L.A (2005), and has been featured as a style and parenting contributor in InStyle, US Weekly and People Magazine. Linda has also appeared regularly as a correspondent on E!, Style Network, Access Hollywood and KTLA. After 10 years spent co-authoring two editions of the highly successful and popular guidebooks, Meadow created gurumommy.com, a website destination for all mom's who want to be "in the know." Prior to writing, Linda was an attorney at Sony Pictures. Linda and her husband, Cary, have three daughters.|