Types of Car Seats By Age: Ultimate Guide to Finding the Right Car Seat
Welcome to the ultimate guide on how to find the right types of car seats by age. Ensuring the safety of your children in a vehicle is of utmost importance, and parents get car seats for this.
Despite taking precautionary measures, thousands of young children suffer greatly from automobile accidents. The main reason behind this is the parent’s inability to choose the right car seat for their children.
Even if the right car seat is chosen, there’s a chance that the child outgrows the seat in the future, as kids tend to grow quite fast. In fact, there are different types of car seats that you need to choose from depending on your child’s age.
Today, I’ll share the factors that you need to consider before getting the right car seat and more.
Types of Car Seats By Age
Differences in Car Seat
Car seats come with different types of restraints. The difference in types exists because each of them is more suitable for different ages, sizes, orientations, and development necessities of children.
So, before you get a car seat for your young one, make sure to go through the user manual of that car seat. In fact, we recommend consulting a certified child passenger safety technician so you can get the most appropriate car seat for your child.
Now that you know the importance of getting the right kind of seat for your child, let’s get into the types.
Rear Facing Car Seat
Rear-facing car seats are the best choice for toddlers and infants. According to child passenger safety seat guidelines, parents are highly encouraged to sit their children from birth to at least two years of age in a rear-facing car seat.
In fact, most rear-facing car seats can take up to 40 pounds of weight. So, you won’t face any difficulty fitting your toddler into any of these.
But why rear-facing car seats?
This is because experts claim that rear-facing car seats are much more secure, which is why they’re the safest for toddlers. So, the question may arise why shouldn’t every child be seated on rearward car seats?
The answer is while they’re relatively safer, they have comparatively lower weight limits. Thus they aren’t suitable for older and heavier children.
You get to choose between three types of rearward car seats. They are –
1. Rear-Facing Only
Rear-facing only car seats are very small and they also offer the lowest weight limit. These can take up to 35 pounds at maximum. They’re usually super small and some of them even come with a handle for easy carrying.
2. Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seat
Rear-Facing convertible car seats are very convenient and future-proof. These come with a design that allows the users to convert the seat to a front-facing one.
So, once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, you can convert it to a front-facing car seat. That means you’ll have a longer usage span out of this.
As these are made for long use, they also offer a higher weight and height limit. You’ll get anywhere from 40 to 50 pounds of weight limit out of these.
Also, a convertible car seat is likely to offer a 5-point strap system. These are more advanced than a traditional seat belts. They’re more secure and more comfortable.
3. All in One Seat
All-in-one seats offer a rear-facing position, forward-facing position, and also triple as a booster seat. So, if you want a seat that can do it all, then you better consider getting an all-in-one seat.
The problem with this type is they’re comparatively larger than regular car seats. So, you can’t install these in smaller cars.
Before getting one of these, we’d recommend checking manuals provided by the car seat manufacturers to see if your vehicle will support these or not.
Forward Facing Car Seats
Forward-facing car seats are perfect for pre-schoolers right after the child has outgrown rear-facing seats. These can usually accommodate children up to 60 pounds of weight.
Your child can use an appropriate forward-facing seat up to the age of 8. There are two types of forward-facing car seats. These are-
1. Convertible Car Seat
You can convert these to a rear-facing position too, but they have relatively lower weight and height limits.
2. Combination Seats
Combination seats can either be used as a front-facing seat or a booster seat. All you have to do is remove the harness, and you have yourself a booster seat with a higher weight limit.
3. Integrated Seats
Some manufacturers integrate seats onto the vehicle seats. These are usually forward-facing seats. However, they shouldn’t be used until your child is old enough to use them.
Belt-Positioning Booster Seat
From the age of 8, or when your child outgrows a forward-facing car seat, they can use booster seats. Until the age of 8, your child can’t use a seat belt properly.
This is why booster seats come with a belt because, at this point a seat belt fits correctly on your child. There are two kinds of booster seats. So, there are the high-back seat and backless vests.
The backless vests are very different from the usual infant car seat. These aren’t anchored to the vehicle seat, meaning they don’t have a base. On the other hand, the high-back seats come with a base.
While booster seats can only be used until the child turns 12, this is an important type as it’s the first one to come with a proper shoulder belt. As shoulder seat belts protect the chest region of the child, it’s safe.
Also, it habituates the child to use a vehicle’s seat belt. Plus, these offer a lap belt that can further enhance safety.
Vehicle Car Seat
As your child grows over 13 years of age, it’s finally okay to move from an infant seat to a vehicle seat. By the age of 13, most children reach about 4 feet and 9 inches in height, becoming old enough to use the shoulder straps of a car seat correctly.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Age and Weight Limits for Each Type of Car Seat?
The limits are as follows –
Rear Facing Seat:
Age: 0-2 years
Weight: up to 40 pounds
Forward Facing seat:
Age: 4-8 years
Weight: up to 60 pounds
Age: 8-12 years
Weight: up to 100 pounds
Vehicle Seat Belt:
Age: 13 years and above
Weight: As per the car seat’s manufacturer
Why is using car seats for children important?
A baby car seat is important as it keeps the child safe and comfortable. Different types of car seats offer different features, but all of them are designed to offer adequate head and neck support, harness straps, lap, and shoulder belts, etc.
Infant seats come in handy as they can save the life of your child in car crashes. Even in daily commutes, they can provide ergonomic seat cushions for ensuring the maximum comfort and development of your child.
While it might seem a lot that you have to change the types of car seats by age, it’s actually an absolute necessity for the safety of your child. Then again, you can always get an all-in-one seat for years of usage.
Yet, we would recommend getting different seats for different ages as they can ensure the best possible safety and comfort.
Also, before getting a car seat, make sure to contact a child passenger safety technician so you can get the best possible seat for your child.
Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Brian Beasley