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car seat

The Best Convertible Car Seats for 2021

While many parents choose to use an infant car seat for the first few months of their babies’ lives, convertible car seats are designed to be used for newborns through toddlers — and for some models, into the preschool and “big kid” years as well.

Convertible car seats are designed to be used rear-facing and then converted for forward-facing (and sometimes booster) use. This means that, in theory, you could buy a single seat to last through all of your child’s car seat years.

We selected our list of the best convertible car seats through a combination of product testing, real-parent input, and combing through ratings, reviews, and best-seller lists.

Here are our faves!

Nuna EXEC

if you have an unlimited budget to spend on a car seat, the Nuna EXEC is a splurge-worthy seat with all the bells and whistles. This seat can be used with babies beginning at 5 pounds, and all the way up through rear-facing to 50 pounds. It’s also 18.5 inches across in width, so you can fit three seats across in most vehicles.

Cosco Scenera Next

At well under $100, the Cosco Scenera Next is an affordable and versatile option for families that travel a lot — or if you just need a lightweight, easy-to-clean car seat.

While you can use this seat as a regular rear-facing car seat for children 5 to 40 pounds (you can use it forward facing for kids 22 to 40 pounds and 29 to 42 inches tall) it’s also aircraft certified and lightweight, making it our best choice for travel.

Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1

his seat is definitely pricey, but when you consider you can get 10 years of use out of it, it starts to sound like a pretty good bargain. You can easily spend more than $300 buying an infant carrier, a convertible car seat, and then an extended car seat to continue rear-facing for larger children. And don’t forget you may want a high-back or backless booster, but this seat does the work of all four.

As the name implies, it’s a 4-in-1 seat that can accommodate children from as little as 4 pounds, all the way up to 120 pounds. It’s designed for extended rear facing, for children up to 50 pounds. To keep them comfortable, it has a 4-position extension panel (basically, a fancy name for a foot rest) that provides an additional 5 inches of legroom for the rear-facing position.

Chicco Nextfit Zip

The Chicco Nextfit Zip is very highly rated, easy to install, and features innovative zip-off machine-washable padding that makes cleaning your baby’s car seat so much easier than dealing with straps. If you’ve ever faced a full-on vomiting incident in a car seat, you’ll know how life-changing zip-off car seat padding is.

And while the focus might be on the outside and its easy-to-clean convenience, don’t let that zip-off padding fool you — this car seat has a full-steel frame, so it’s built to last.

It also has a cinching tightener with simple-to-understand straps (they’re numbered to tell you which to pull) and a belt-tightening system that makes it easy to position, tighten, and lock the belt into place.

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Tips to Make Sure Your Vehicle is Safe for Baby

As a parent, there are few things more important to us than our families safety. We put latches on windows, remove choking hazards and install burglar alarms in our home to protect against intruders. We research the food our baby eats, the chemicals in their products and the materials they wear.

All in all, we do whatever we can to ensure they are happy, healthy and safe. And the same is true when it comes to the family car, when the roads can be so dangerous it makes sense that your vehicle and driving should be as safe as possible.

Here are a few ways to ensure everything is up to scratch

Car Seat and Position

Being a parent is expensive, and unless you have a very well paid job or are incredibly wealthy, there are likely to be times when you need to cut back and make savings. However there’s one place you should never do this, and that’s with your children’s car seats. These are absolutely vital in a crash and could be the difference between life and death. A second-hand car seat could have been damaged and not perform to its full potential- you might not be able to tell this just from looking at it.

According to  https://saferide4kids.com/blog/where-to-put-your-car-seat/,ideally car seats will be placed in the middle seat at the back, and then booster seats will need booster seats until they are four foot nine inches tall. This could be between ages eight and twelve. This allows the seat belt to fit on them correctly and protect them efficiently in a crash.

Don’t Overlook Tires

When you set out on a long journey, chances are you check the fluid levels and lights on your vehicle. But tires are commonly overlooked, and this shouldn’t be the case. Tires can mean life or death, they’re the only part which has contact with the road. You need to ensure there is 1.6mm of tread, this is a legal requirement. Balding tires will increase your stopping distance and could lead to blowouts and other damage. If this happens, in some cases along with the tire replacement you might need the entire wheel changing.

You can find the correct models for your car on sites like https://www.partsengine.ca. Being careful with the way you drive will help you to maintain your tires and prevent damage, harsh steering and braking will wear tires far more quickly. Make sure they are properly inflated too. Over or under inflated tires will affect performance, find the correct pressure in your car’s manual and check them regularly.

Aftermarket Safety Features

The more modern your car is, the more safety features it’s likely to have. However, not all of us can afford to run out and buy a fancy new car, as much as we would like to! But you can still make your current car as safe as possible by adding aftermarket safety features. This could be curtain airbags, and anti roll bar, lane change assist and much more. The type of features you will use most will depend on where you drive most often (freeways, urban  driving etc.) so do some research on a site like https://www.petra.com/blog/2016/04/18/top-5-aftermarket-car-safety-devices/ and work out what would be best for you.

The 3 Carseat Installation Must-Do Before Baby Arrives

baby in car with dreams in window

If you’re anything like many of today’s expectant mothers, the last few months of pregnancy are spent “nesting” — or the overwhelming desire to get your home ready before your new bundle of joy arrives home. As such, you’ve probably tackled everything from setting up the crib to safeguarding each and every electrical outlet — and your hospital bag has been packed for weeks.

But the last thing on your list — and arguably the most important — should be making sure your car is ready on a moment’s notice to head to the hospital. After all, before arriving home for the first time, it will be the first place outside the hospital where your baby will be transported and rest comfortably.

Trust me — you’ll want to make sure everything is in order, so you can buckle your precious cargo into the car seat, without having to worry about engine performance and tire tread. Here are three steps to make sure your new baby is safe, comfortable and happy on that first — and each subsequent — ride in your car.

1. Have Your Car Serviced

The first way to ensure your baby remains safe is to get your vehicle serviced and ensure it’s in perfect running order. Your best options include taking your car to a trusted mechanic or your dealership to get a full tune-up.

While ensuring the motor and battery are in tip-top condition, one other area to pay particular attention to is your tires. If the tread is low or the tires have signs of dry rot, you should replace them with a trusted brand like Falken, available on reputable websites like TireBuyer.com.

Now, if you find yourself apprehensive about buying tires online, you can rest assured knowing they will be shipped directly to your mechanic or dealership for proper installation.

2. Purchase and Install a Car Seat

The car seat is the most important piece of safety equipment you can buy for your child. For a newborn, you’ll need an appropriately-sized infant car seat. One surefire, trusted option includes checking out the website for Consumer Reports for up-to-date recommendations on top brands and models.

Of course, it doesn’t matter how great your car seat is if it isn’t installed properly. Case in point: A 2011 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that almost half of all car seats are installed or used incorrectly.

For tips and instructions on proper car seat installation and usage, consult websites like TheCarSeatLady.com. If you’re still unsure, schedule an in-person appointment with a trusted expert.

3. Stock Up on Accessories

There are a number of car accessories that will make car rides more enjoyable for you and your little one. Some of these top accessories include:

  • Mirrors. Your baby will be seatbelted into a rear-facing car seat for at least two years, which means you won’t be able to see their cute, little face unless you buy a small mirror from a company like Cozy Greens and 4U2C to attach to the backseat headrest. Plus, as your bundle of joy gets older, the mirror will also act as a source of entertainment; after all, babies love seeing their own reflections.
  • Sunshades. You’ll also want to protect your infant from the heat and harmful sun exposure with a window shade for their side of the car. Sunshades, like those sold by Munchkin and EZ-Bugz, come in two basic forms: static shades that stick to the window or retractable shades that can be pulled down while in use.
  • Seat Protectors. Your car will take a lot of abuse from both the car seat and your child over the years. However, purchasing a secure seat protector from a retailer like Brica, Munckin and Summer Infant will help save your backseat from any car seat pressure points — and from the many, many spills in your infant’s future.

5 Things to Consider BEFORE buying a Car Seat

car seat

If you are expecting a baby and need to purchase a car seat or thinking of moving up to a version for a bigger baby as your child grows, you’ll find these five things NannyPro asked us to share with you helpful before you make that final purchase

1. Budget: Because car seats can range from well under a hundred dollars to several hundred, many people automatically assume more expensive must mean a better seat. But this is not actually true. One seat that is frequently recommended by Child Passenger Safety Technicians as easy to use and install runs right around $40. All seats must pass the same basic set of testing standards and ultimately the best seat is the one that is installed and used properly, so take an honest look at your budget and then find a seat within that budget that fits your child’s needs (see below) and your vehicle well, have a CPST teach you how to install it and always use it properly. Visit www.car-seat.org to find a CPST near you.

2.Age/Size of Child: Even the best car seat is useless if it is the wrong seat for the age and size of your child. Many seats are labeled in ways that are misleading to parents. For example, many booster seats say on the package 30lbs-100lbs. We all have seen one year olds who are pushing 30 lbs. That does not in any way mean that a one year old is ready for a booster seat—many children are not ready for boosters until age seven or eight because size alone is not the determining factor. So do some research and figure out what seat (infant, convertible, forward facing, harnessed booster or unharnessed booster) is best for your child based on both their age AND their size. As of 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children under age two stay in a weight appropriate rear-facing car seat or to the maximum weight and height limitations for their car seat for maximum safety and head/neck protection. For some children, this may mean rear-facing until age three or four. A good place to start is the NHTSA website. In addition, since many harnessed car seats (often called a harnessed booster) now offer weight limits up to 80-85 lbs, it is wise to consider extended harnessing for your child for ultimate protection. There is a reason that even race car drivers use this kind of harness—it helps keep the passenger in the safest position and protects them better. Don’t be in a rush to move “up” to the next style of seat. Each step “up” is actually a step “down” for safety.

3. Needs: What is the need of this seat? Do you need one that comes in and out easily (and therefore is super easy to install correctly) since your baby needs to be transported in other vehicles often because of who is the primary caregiver or because you travel a lot as a family? Or will this seat be installed and rarely ever moved? This can affect your decision making process as you review possible seats and is a major consideration for families that need to move seats because of particular needs. Whether it’s moved often or not, you still need to be able to install it correctly every time.

4. How long do you need this seat to last? For some families on a tight budget, the need for a seat to last as long as possible is a major consideration. These days, car seat manufacturers are starting to take this into consideration and a few are making seats designed to go from infancy all the way to the booster stage and have a 10 year expiration on them. Wait… expiration? Yes, car seats have expiration dates set by the manufacturer of the seat based on when it began to fail in testing, as seats are made primarily of plastic, which breaks down over time. It’s important to know those dates as you consider various seats for your needs. For other families, budget is not as much of a concern as convenience is, so they might not mind having an infant bucket seat with a base and then purchasing a new seat when baby outgrows the bucket. It matters more to them to have the ability to lift a bucket in and out of the vehicle with the baby still in it.

5. Will you actually use it properly? A seat, no matter the cost or reputation, if not used properly, is simply not a good seat for your needs. So make sure you select a seat that is easy for you to use properly from installation to daily use. If your seat is beautiful, but takes you 30 minutes to take in and out even though you need an easily moved seat, you are less likely to install it properly due to frustration with the process. Or if it is difficult to adjust when needed, the straps might be positioned improperly and not provide the protection that is needed. If you can, it is a great idea to go to a store that will actually let you try out the various seats in your car to ensure that that particular seat is easy for you to use with the vehicle you own. This ensures you are more likely to use it properly.

Good luck!