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The top 3 car seats you will need from birth to nine years

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Chicco Nextfit



By Damaris Travieso
Baby Carrier/Car Seat Expert


A car seat is the only baby item that new parents are legally required to buy. In the UK, for instance, the law stipulates that “children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first.”

The only time they are exempted from this rule is when using public transportation. The rule is almost the same in countries across Europe and in the United States.

However, it is not until you go out shopping for a car seat that you learn that it is a jungle out there. With hundreds of brands all eyeing money, how do you know which seat to buy?

Fret not, because I scraped through the market and trialled the most popular car seats of 2016 to come up with a the best set for your baby from birth to the time they can comfortably use the car seatbelt system only.

While generating this list I had to take into account the value for money and you can rest assured that the ones we selected are the most affordable and most secure.

Available choices

There are three classes of car seats- infant, toddler and booster –with the seats in these categories depending on the age of your child.

• Infant car seats- These seats are designed for babies aged 0-6 months old. They come with a detachable base allowing for easy movement of the kid into and out of the car without having to move the baby from the seat. This function becomes important when the baby is asleep and you need to move them without waking them up. The law demands that infant car seats be rear-facing, meaning that the baby will be facing away from you as you drive.

EXPERT RECOMMENDATION- You can never go wrong with the Chicco keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat, which comes with its own base. It has a five-point harness that can be adjusted with one hand. Voted the No. 1 car seat in America, it can comfortably be used by babies weighing up to 30lbs (13Kgs) and/or 30 inches tall.


buy chicco key fit

• Toddler car seats-You will need this seat from six months until to around four years or 40 pounds (18Kgs), whichever comes first. Toddler seats should be installed as rear facing until the baby is two years old after which they can be switched to face forward.

EXPERT RECOMMENDATION- The Graco SmartSeat for toddlers is a bit pricey but for the quality and safety it provides, it’s a purchase you will not regret. The Graco SmartSeat is made of a steel-reinforced frame and comes with a base that provides strength and durability. Indicators on the seat and a stay-in-car base help ensure proper installation.



• Booster seats- Booster car seats are used for babies who have outgrown the toddler seats but are not yet big enough to use the existing car seat belt system. They are recommended for children from four years to about nine years ( 40-80lbs [18-40Kg]).

EXPERT RECOMMENDATION- The Graco Affix Youth High Back Booster Car Seat provides a secure connection to the vehicle seat using a latch system that can be adjusted from the front using one hand. This seat is used in the high back booster seat mode from 30 – 100 pounds and from 38 – 57 inches tall. Later, when then child is ready, it converts to backless mode for children 40 – 100 pounds and from 40 – 57 inches tall. It’s like having two booster seats in one!



In our tests, we were looking out for the following features:

Good Safety-All car seats must meet minimum safety standards, which are set by considering features like head cushioning and side impact protection.

Ease of installation- Not all cars come with LATCH-installation functions and on the look out for seats that can be easily installed in cars that are not LATCH-equipped.

Five-point-harness-This harness secures the child at the shoulders, hips and between the legs.

Ajustable sun canopies-Infant car-seats need to have a canopy that keeps the child shielde d from the sun’s glare from all directions.

Removable/washable fabric and pads-A good car seat needs to have washable pads as part of its upholstery. This is because from time to time the car seat will get dirty and will need to be cleaned. The removable pads make it easy to take care of the seats cleanliness without having to eject it from the car.

For more on what to look out for when buying a baby car seat click here

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